On our way home one of the cars had a flat tire. While we waited on the street side, we became quite the spectacle. People began to gather to look at the lighter skinned folk. And I was once again reminded that we don't blend in; we are the "circus at the circus." That saying came from last year's trip when we visited a traveling circus here in Damoh and the locals were watching us "the circus" at the circus. It is really fun to watch the locals watching you. And we just know they are laughing at these crazy white people taking pictures of the strangest things to us but the most everyday things to them. I mean, how often do you get to see a water buffalo galloping down the street after her baby, who is being held by a man on the back of a motorcycle. Or a goat with a knit scarf being lead into a restaurant. Guess who's coming to be dinner? Dogs and birds picking off the last pieces of several cow and buffalo carcasses. A black faced monkey sitting on the stone bridge abutment. A panther darting across the road. Boys on bicycles strutting for pictures. A cock fight in between two vividly painted TaTa buses. A gorgeous pinkish hued sunset behind a jutting jungle mountain. The list of today's possible photo ops is endless...but 'tis everyday life in India.
We've been discussing this trip how India seems quite the land of contradictions...erotically sculptured temples, but no public displays of affection allowed on the streets. Fat goats in sweaters walking beside naked hungry children. Digging hand dug trenches to lay fiber optic cables. The worship of cows because they give you food and clothing amongst other things; but you don't kill them because they are holy! India is the world's largest free democratic secular society that is in essence run by the Hindu religious elite (which is a small percentage of the population). Billboards of "life-giving water" next to the world's dirtiest (so dirty nothing lives in it) river. And I could go on and on about the apparent contradictions; but I pause and wonder what is said of us and our "normal" way of everyday life?
Tomorrow starts the women's conference. Judy, Tricia and Connie will all be speaking on Day 1. Ashley, Lezlie, Lisa & Suzette will all be speaking on Days 2&3. The men folk will be cooking chicken fajitas, beans, Spanish rice, tortillas and salsa for about 300 tomorrow. I hear that most of the chickens are already "dressed." Shouldn't that be "undressed" if they are without feathers at that point? But the remaining few will be "prepared" by us...can't say I've ever killed my food. A city boy I am! This should be fun and we'll take lots of pictures and report our successes or failures tomorrow! A wonderful goodnight to my family and friends! --Mark