Loved from the begining

Day 36 to 41

I spent 5 days with this friendly four storey family living in a Bangalore city apartment with the parents on the bottom flat and each adult child with their family on their own floor above them. The epitome of the Indian philosophy of keeping the family close together. With little more effort than a friendly smile, it seems I was loved from the beginning. For no other reason perhaps than that I was a novelty white dolly for the women to play with. The old mother and her daughter were adamant to cut my hair, die it black, smother it in coconut oil, send me out to buy clothes that weren't covered in cycle chain oil or ripped to shreds, force feed me chapattis until my stomach swelled to the size of a healthy pampered Indian male, sit me out in the sun until me skin turned black then marry me off to a nurturing Indian woman.  After one day of fending off their aggressive feeding habits, "One more chapati?", "Little rice?", I set off to find the infantry hotel to meet my father who had arrived late the previous night from the airport to serve as my new companion and camera man. After 18 months apart we reunited with timeless ease in this foreign environment. I was a little concerned to hear he had payed $170 US for a five minute taxi fair but led him out into the wilds of Bangalore for a 5km walk and 101 on Indian street warfare until we reached my Bangalore adopted family. As to me they welcomed him unconditionally to their home where they served and befriended us for the next 4 days. We were taken to Mama Sharda's Roman Catholic church service where it appeared Jesus was perhaps just an addition to the vast family of Hindu gods with his own plaster figurine to be touched and kissed in routine devotion. Sharda's husband was Hindu but the family shine had a space reserved for a photo of Jesus who was adorned in flowers each morning along with Rama and her 6 arms. When I asked Sharder what was most important in her life she responded with "To cook, sleep and pray. To live for my purpose"."So If I don't eat your meal does that mean your purpose is lost". "Yes". This explained the utter expression of emptiness when my father and I accepted budgie sized portions or her kitchen efforts in comparison to her husband who had had 43 years of marriage to allow his belly to stretch. We were taken to a christian Indian wedding. Joining the que with 1000 family members to shake the bride and grooms hands, eat the free meal of chicken biriani and file out the door on the other side, my father and I felt like blatant wedding crashers in this drive through stile wedding. We had another day to visit the country village home of Sharda's husband where he gave us a tour of his small comercial garden producing coconuts, and some breed of oranges that we honestly the size of basket balls.

We played with the children, drank beer responsibly with the men, accepted their boundless help in getting my fathers tricycle ordered and prepared then set off early towards Mysore.

I was one and now we are two. My cycle Ned and his new girl friend Kelly. Father and son. A vetran 3 wheeled explored and his fresh camera man. A couple of neurophen and a can of coke got my father through day 1 to the town of Doddamalur whear spontaniouse hospitality provided us with a room above a volunteer hospital and a tiffen dinner.


Student 1047118 said...

So cool. Love it Shasa! The importance of family is something we were reminded of over and over again in PNG. What a wonderful time it will be with your dad. ( Mind you when I went on the Otago Rail Trail with Rach, she named our bikes 'Pain' and 'Agony' so you sound rather more at ease from the naming of your two bikes!
Go well both of you and continue to learn and enjoy the journey .You will be in my thoughts,
Jane Banfield

rose said...

Neat Shasa. Awesome that your dad has joined you!