One rupee

Yesterday we met a couple from England, Dominick and Annie. We already bumped into them in the train to Daman. India's a country with population reaching over one billion. Because of that, such an encounter borders on the miraculous. And there has to be a reason for that. We spent a long time sharing our observations concerning cultural differences, which are enormous here in India. Take nodding, for instance. At the beginning of our journey we assumed they shake heads in agreement. Oh, we were so far from the truth... Now I know, that they shake heads in several different ways, and grasping all the nuances seems to be almost impossible. Sometimes that head shake means “yes”, sometimes “no”. Sometimes it means “later” or “I don't know” and something totally different. I think that they also make a move to the right with their heads when they feel pleasantly surprised, or maybe ashamed??

Today we departed for a town where leather called barmir is originally produced. Bags, sachets, backacks are of such good quality, that you'd most readiliy buy a whole container, but it's impossible. We live here and now, it's time to stop comparing, checking, counting rupees per złoty.

People here, contrary to some people's opinions, live in harmony. While using the public transport it can be easily seen how this symbiosis works. Many people differs from one another. They have completely different clothes and head coverings. Some look like businessmen, others look like taken directly from the desert. The yong and the old. Some wear turbans, others wear hats. I guess the differences reach deeper and they concern religions, beliefs and dwelling places.

Still, they chat away, laugh, move over for one another. Since I came to India I haven't seen any points of disagreement. When I think someone is arguing, everything ends up with laughter. In smaller towns people literally freeze when we pass by. Men stop sewing and hammering. Women less boldly but still stop to take a look. Children tell a complete different story. Children here are more mature. At the age of 2-3 years they have motor coordination that can get you startled. Sometimes you can see children so small they shouldn't be able to walk, and they run around. Sometimes they walk over to you with open mouth and they get you embarassed, but in fact they are the ones embarassed and unprepared for such a sight.

There are children who don't have anything at all, and you can see through it. They are sad, dirty, thay act in the only way known to them. They beg.

And today, when we were standing at the train station, a group of left alone 3-4 year-olds, on the spur of the moment, saw a chance for one rupee from us. They walked around us furiously until they got you angry. I leant against a window ledge and I looked at that small boy for a long time, and he looked at me. And he had less and less to say, actually he stopped saying anything. He bent his head and sadly lifted up his eyes, holding one rupee in his hand. I knew that whatever I had given to him wouldn't have changed his fate. Ruthless refusing seemed cruel too. There are people, who are in a way lost and without hope in this world. With black, deep eyes full of tears. And we stared at each other for some time and all knowledge of the world and certainty I had, left me once and for all in that moment. In fact, for Indian children it doesn't pay to cry, so they don't cry.

Toilets in trains? Remember – laces high.

Lastly – girls with long hair. It is not easy here, because dust and sweat just make the everyday ritual of combing impossible. Or at least it loses on quality and quantity. I suggest cutting, buying a conditioner, or stopping to care at all. I chose the option number three, and I support the option number two from time to time. I did it today and I feel like a goddess. Travel is a travel, there is no point feeling sorry for yourself, but it's worth it from time to time, just to keep your balance;)

The Blue Bird