The cheapest place to buy garlands on Thippusandra Road

Gang Beg: Nov. 4th
Ah...life is sweet. We have our washing machine up and running, and a clothesline. The washing machine can do about 2 lbs. of laundry every 90 minutes. This is followed by about a 15 minute cleaning process of the washer. The result is that we can do about a gallon of wash, or two large towels every two hours, assuming the power is on. This is the best machine in India and cost us whopping 18,000 rupees (about $600). It is unique, in that it has its own hot-water geyser. Most washers only wash with cold water. When we send our shirts for cleaning at the local cleaners "Blue Max", it takes an average of 5 days for them to wash, dry, and iron my shirts. Looking at our anemic washer, I understand why.
Somebody told me last night, that for an outsider, India was an eternal enigma, but for the native Indian, it was merely an illusion. We have discovered a new neighborhood, "Thippusandra", which is only about 10 minutes walk from our house. It is a long, several kilometer, street, and is very, very, native. Sue feels tremendously white as she walks with me along this dirt road. It seems that every town has two main roads, the rich road, and the poor road. Palo Alto has University, and California; Indiranagar (our town) has Chinmaya Mission Hospital Road, and Thippusandra. Because Thippusandra is a poor road, we don’t see any beggars. On the other hand, because Sue is white, our reception in the stores is somewhat chilly. Sue wanted breakfast, so we came across the only "darshin" that seemed clean and full of people. The male receptionist muttered some Kannada at us and pointed up the stairs. So obedient foreigners that we were, we passed by all the pleased diners on the ground floor, and walked up the stairs to a completely empty first floor; very clean, very nice, but absolutely no waiters. Getting the point, we walked back downstairs, past the receptionist, and out on to the street. No words were exchanged. So we had breakfast on the rich man’s road, passing by a leprous couple (we both donated some rupee coins). Then it’s back home, passing by the same leprous couple "sahib, sahib, sahib, sahib...", then a club-footed old beggar in a dirty turban, his foot wrapped in the same cloth. He had artfully located himself at the center of an intersection so he that he could wheel around on his good foot and beg at the passerbys from all directions "payaaaase, payaaase, payaaase". Finally, it was on to our street, only to be encircled by a gang of about 30 women "sahib, sahib, sahib, sahib...". Even the little girls went into the ritual stance - left hand on the hip, the right one outstretched. Gang beg. You have to be careful out there.
Last night, at uncle’s place, we asked how much it costs to keep a child in school, so that they can learn to read and write. India’s literacy rate is shockingly low; education is a privilege, not a right; child labor is common. It costs 50 rupees for the first month for books and uniforms, and then 20 rupees a month thereafter. Add another 10 rupees if you want to add food. This means that with my $20,000 a year tithing budget, I can send about 1600 children to school a year. It is indeed a poor country.