Sunday, September 5, 2010
Getting on with things
As the lake around my feet gets big enough for a child to sail a wooden boat in, I wonder about the state of a nation that can function in this way. That is, most things essentially work – services, utilities, objects and people - but in a kind of chaotic and haphazard manner that feels very unique to this country. If a bus leaked this badly in Australia there'd be outrage, in America there'd be a lawsuit, and in Britain there'd be shared if subdued grumbling at least.
Perhaps this acceptance is the genesis of the Indian head-wobble; which can mean yes, no, maybe, perhaps, and god willing - sometimes all at once. I might get to Bharatpur wet, but I'll get there in the end. People simply get on with things or find some kind of innovative solution – and I wonder if this acceptance is the quality that characterises India the best?
Your patience is tested everywhere, in even the smallest things. The constant electrical blackouts. The dodgy powerpoints. The icecream sundae that comes without half its listed ingredients. The sink unconnected to a pipe, so the water gushes out over the floor. The squat toilets filled with faeces. Villages – lots of them – where women have to carry water for miles to their homes in pots on their heads in the blistering sun.
The barefoot beggar children, with hair like scarecrows, carrying gunny sacks over their shoulders as they collect any scrap of plastic, metal or string off the streets that might be useful for something, somewhere, someday.
Because I suppose if you did do your lolly, who would listen? Everyone is too busy just trying to survive and make a living in their own small corner of the country.