Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Crossing Over to the Other Side

We are still in Hyderabad.

I was crossing the dangerously and terrifyingly chaotic Ameerpet intersection today.

Some businesses say "The customer is always right.". In Hyderabad, the slogan goes (or should): The pedestrian is always wrong. So what if the traffic signal is at red? So what if I'm on the zebra crossing lines? Bikes, autos, cars, buses honk indignantly as I cross the road, because I obstruct them moving an inch or two further.

Someone touched my elbow. I expected somebody I knew, but this was a young girl I'd never seen before. We stepped across the road together. A car came perilously close, and as far as we could tell, the driver cared as much for our safety as for that of a couple of bugs.

Involuntarily we grabbed each other's hand and squeezed tight. After that we held hands as we crossed the road, and smiled before going our separate ways.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Old Friends

We are in India.

While Summy has fun with her old friends, her grandparents, I had the chance to meet three of my own old friends. One of them, I had the luck to live close to for several recent years. I hadn't seen another of them in a long time. Another one, she remembered that the last time we had seen each other was twelve years ago. I was newly wed and was getting on a train to Mumbai and to my in-laws house, to go onward to the USA to study, and she was waving at me. Now they all have two kids each, most of whom I had read eagerly about but had never seen before.

They knew things about me and hadn't forgotten. When I faked knowledge of something, my old friend laughed and said, "I know she knows as much of it as I do (which was precious little)". There is no fooling old friends, and there is relief in not having to.