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cars, gyms, and no chai

Here are three vignettes from daily life in India . . .

1. Yesterday, I concluded that cars are preparation for pets which are preparation for children. To give you a sense of where I stand on that spectrum, I'm barely able to care for a car. When the car overheated Saturday, it must have been God who encouraged me to check the coolant levels. Someone at church helped me by pouring 2 liters of H2O into the car. Clearly I had been "low" on coolant.
I proceeded to a petrol pump to get coolant. I snapped when three different men attempted to sell me the same car scratch repair service (which they do every time I go to this particular petrol pump). When the third man responded in English, I realized perhaps he was a friend and not a foe. I lost my temper a couple more times as he tried revving the engine to get the water out. Finally he managed to loosen a hose and drain the water and re-fill it with coolant. Praise God for random angels like him.

2. As I mentioned in a previous blog, the air is thick with dust particles and running is a literal exercise in pollution inhalation. Today, I joined a gym for way too much money, packing way too much equipment into one room, playing music way too loudly. But, hey, I can exercise in relatively clean air while enjoying the latest bollywood music and that experience is worth far more than I'm paying.

3. Chai is such a part of culture here. It's a sign of hospitality (a la Three Cups of Tea), providing a way for people to invite visitors into their space. Since I've been caffeine free for 3-1/2 weeks, I haven't partaken of this important part of the culture since returning. I'm still trying to determine whether I'm ok with this. For example, my Office Assistant seems to delight in serving me chai every morning. Maybe I've stolen a bit of his joy? When we visited a partner site last week, chai and coffee were served but I stuck with my water. Is that considered rude? I've done a lot of things in the name of cultural sensitivity that were unnecessary, however, so I'm not rushing to imbibe caffeine simply to make others feel better (and myself feel worse).


april said…
#1 reminds me of when Brooke Elizalde used to say that if she could care for her plant, then she would get a cat. If she could care for the cat, then she would get a dog. If she could care for the dog, then she would have a baby. She skipped from plant to baby, though. I would say that caring for a sick pet is preparation for parenting. Caring for a well pet is too easy.
lola said…
It took me two weeks upon returning home to give up the chai.

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