Today I learned how having a boyfriend is viewed in India. Suffice to say, fiancees are preferable to boyfriends by all popular accounts. Since that recent discovery had me downcast, I decided I needed to reflect on some humorous incidents.
Last weekend, the aforementioned boyfriend and I traveled to Gulmarg in Kashmir for a ski weekend. Kashmiri people believe their land is occupied by the 6 lakh (600,000) Indian troops that serve as "protection" against the Pakistanis. This background is necessary to understand why there is such heavy security on every street corner and in the airport. First we passed guards at the door. After showing our snow-soggy flight confirmation, we proceeded to scan our checked baggage. Then on to the check-in counter. After signing out of the occupied territory at the next counter, we grabbed a bite to eat. We then proceeded through security in order to identify our checked luggage out of a line-up before it got loaded on the plane. Before the luggage identification step, we went through the traditional security line with metal detector and private screening pat-down for the ladies. Men don't benefit from the private screen. They get patted down in public. THEN we had another line of female Indian Army officers inspecting the contents of all carry-on luggage that had already been scanned. This is where it gets interesting. I start pulling out my phone then my second phone, then I open my camera case, then I pull out my Bible and it's opened & inspected, then a small bag of unidentifiable thin objects about the length of a pen in paper packaging. Of course, you might recognize them by sight. Or perhaps this will help . . . there were a few with green lettering, a few with yellow lettering, and one or two with purple lettering on the package, all of different thicknesses. Still don't get it? Neither did the female officers. I tried explaining with words such as "period" and "like a sanitary napkin." Still blank stares. Finally, in an act of desperation, I began indicating with my finger how one inserts a tampon during one's period. And finally I cleared the security check.
This past week, a pigeon flew into my bedroom while I was at work. The pigeon perched on top of my cupboard, as pigeons have wont to do in my bedroom when they fly in. In an effort to decontaminate my room, CJ reached in his pocket, found a 1 rupee coin, and threw it at the pigeon. The coin ricocheted into my lamp, shattering the glass lamp. We originally had two of these lamps in my bedroom and two in the living room. CJ broke one in the living room during our house warming party (sorry, just had to throw that in there to explain CJ's desperation during the ensuing escapade). He decided to replace the broken one in the living room with the other one from my bedroom. But he couldn't disconnect the one from my bedroom. Finally he managed to pry it off, pulling down the entire lighting apparatus. He then put it in the living room. But he couldn't mount it on the living room ceiling. He then spent hours trying to find replacement lamps for the two in my bedroom. After three hours and much exasperation, I got a call at the office to explain why the living room lamp was dangling from the ceiling, one bedroom lamp looked like a broken bottle hanging from the ceiling, and the other was on my floor with only wires sticking out of the fixture. The landlord can deal with that.