Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Train Ride

Sitting on the train back to Delhi from Agra (Taj Mahal), there was an empty seat beside me. Men walked past me down the aisles, selling snacks. The dry heat of northern Delhi had dehydrated me and with no water left, I gave in to my thirst and bought some tea. I paid too much, but it tasted great.

The chip guy walked by with his bucket of salted, fatty potato chips on his head. Several others took their turns, sauntering down the aisles, attempting to persuade everyone in broken Indian English which product they should buy to satisfy their hunger.

One of the vendors suddenly plopped himself down in the seat next to me and his metal bucket on the floor between his feet. As he lifted the newspaper from the opening of his bucket, the smell of his concoction quickly filled my sensory system. "Ooof..." escaped my lips as my eyebrows raised and lips puckered.

The Dutch couple across the aisle immediately glanced my way to read my thoughts of what was beside me. It's interesting how, even though they're from a different continent, we can have that common understanding without speaking. Maybe it's because of our common English language bond. Maybe it's because were from developed countries and our scientific world views are similar...maybe it's just because they're white...

Michelle just turned from the seat ahead of me to ask what I was doing. Brandon answered, "It's like when the kids are quiet and you think, "Uh oh, what's wrong?"

The man beside me began his dealing with another vendor. "What is that?" I questioned. I don't even remember what he said, but it looked like some kind of Indian soup. He also informed me that the other man was selling noodles.

"What? Those don't look like noodles to me..." I speculated. As his friend returned, he scooped up a glob to show me and offered me a taste.

A bit timidly, I extended my hand. He dumped a scoop in my palm and I tried it. Not so bad...kind of like spicy grits. I tilted my head back and tossed the rest in. My hand was all sticky. Yuck.

It's all good, I thought...I live in India. I'm a trooper. I tore some newspaper from my package in front of me and wiped my hand.

I tried something new.
I talked to someone new.
I did something new...a few new somethings.
I just entertained myself for 10 minutes and avoided boredom on the train.
I live in India.