A Visit to Home Depot: Feb. 10th
It really is fun when your expectations are constantly in question.
I telephoned a consultant in Andhra Pradesh (a neighboring state) to get an ftp account established on his machine. Due to the usual static on the line, I had a hard time understanding what the spelling of the account’s mystic password was. I asked him to spell each letter. I had written sashm12. Thinking he would confirm with something like "snake, apple, snake, etc.", he replied with lightning speed: "Secunderabad, Ahmedabad, Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Madras". I did manage to catch Madras.
Due to a lack of an appropriate carving table, I have been sculpting my Buddha head using one hand to hold the huge block of wood, and the other hand to drive the chisel. This had the unintended side effect of missing the wood entirely and carving my hand. I have been lucky; I have had a chance to reflect on Indian medical care, without actually experiencing it. I also believe that the nerve in my index finger will eventually reconnect. Consequently, while waiting for my digit to reconnect, for the last few days I have had a carpenter building me a carving jig. First up, we go to the hardware store, and try to buy some L brackets to hook up the pieces of wood. Prabakhar, my carpenter, informs me "No L brackets sir — welder, sir". Ok, next stop, the welder, who lives near us, next to the live chicken shop, and opposite the barber. Some drawings, a bit of negotiation, and presto, I will get some L brackets, with countersunk drilled holes from 1/8" steel, all for a mere 90 rupees ($3 dollars). Of course, I end up getting them a day later, and 2 of the brackets have the holes on the wrong side. More negotiation and another day goes by. This time, when the owner hears me say in broken Kannada "nannu shilpi" (I’m a sculptor), the welder brings out a wrought iron welded Ganesha about 3’ by 4’ across. It is marvelous, a true act of devotion; I have a brief moment of sculpture lust, and then realize that these folks appear to be literally dirt poor on the outside. But inside — Wow!