Elephant blessing

Traffic Accident: Nov. 10th
Sue and I have been here for a month now. It still doesn’t look or feel like home, but the strangeness is wearing off. Paradoxically, despite the impossibilities in getting things accomplished, we are at a much lower stress level than we ever experienced in the States. Frustration is the order of the day; when nothing goes right after four or five tries, somehow the only mechanism to cope is to shrug, and smile gratefully when something goes right. When something is accomplished, the quality level is often poor. Then the B.S.’ing starts. "No, it’s fine sahib, no problem sahib, who cares about this minor thing sahib". Sue and I now accept this, and are reorienting our approach so that we get what we want. Call the owner, complain, and move on to the next vendor if the situation warrants. Sue’s standard approach to "Sorry, madam, two weeks madam" is "Let me see the owner". This usually gets the desired result.
Our lives are simple; the people we deal with day to day are simple (except for a few sharks that we do Apple business with). Oddly enough, Sue and I are becoming positive people here — because it’s the positive things which give us joy; finding 6 clay monkeys smoking a variety of pipes at 50 cents a piece, buying sitar shaped drawer pulls for my desk, making passable coffee, spending an hour making ice-cubes (filter the water, purify it, boil it, cool it, and time it all so that the fridge has a chance at freezing the water before the power cuts out). A month ago when the power failed, we would have scowled; now we laugh. Power being what it is, we laugh a lot.
It’s funny what we miss. Sue misses Italian food big time. She misses the cats, and going to work every day. I miss my friends, Sunday nights with Steve, Racquetball with Steve and Yuan. Concerts. Ray, my carving teacher, and family dinners. I miss surfing the web! Thanks to all of you who have responded to my journal entries. It’s good to hear from home.
A couple of weeks ago, I rode Jude’s scooter from Bangalore to Indiranagar. Until today, I’ve been hinting to Sue that I want a scooter — to me it just seems like the right way to see India. Jude and I were driving to work today when just in front of us, on the other side of the road, a scooter hit a slow-moving cement mixer. The mixer flipped on to the scooter, and sent the scooter straight into the divider. It was a "school bus scooter", carrying two young girls about 8 or 9, dressed in their school uniforms. Jude and I immediately stopped traffic. We ran and got the scooter off of the girls. I folded and applied my clean hankies as bandages. There was blood everywhere. It formed small red rivulets that ran into the gutter. I could smell burnt flesh, probably from legs in contact with the scooter’s engine. The girls were sobbing hysterically. It was a mess. Cries of "auto, auto" from passerbys stopping the auto-ricks to take the girls to nearby Manipal Hospital. It wasn’t the worst accident I’ve ever seen (that was a decapitation); but I definitely don’t want a scooter anymore. I have no idea where the scooter driver was. He took off, and no one could find him.