Wednesday, March 21, 2012

From the Archives: Marching Bands, Cows, and Dog Herds

Another post I had written and forgot about. This happened while we were still living in the guest house.

Listening to: Suga Suga – Baby Bash

Mood: Matches the beautiful Bangalore sunshine outside

The family and I, in our little holding pattern we have going on here (more on this later), are living in a guest house, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before. As far as India goes, we live in a very residential, quiet neighborhood.  I need to qualify this a little bit. There is absolutely no quiet place in civilization in India. Perhaps if you want to go sit out in a field somewhere in bumbledum, you may find some silence until people come along, which won’t take long. India is just not the place to go for solitude. Try Nepal perhaps. Or Tibet. Anyhow. By quiet, I mean that we don’t live right off a major road, so we don’t get the massive amounts of noise that cars with horns bring. We do, however, have some cars, shouting fruit vendors, construction noise (pretty much omnipresent in any half developed neighborhood), the paper walla  (most of the time this refers to selling something, like a tea walla sells tea, but this refers to buying – they get money for buying bulk used newspaper from the neighborhood and then selling it for slightly higher cost) shouting for paper, the ever present people outside talking, and oh my holy noise pollution Batman with the dogs and the school across the street.  It’s enough to make a person insane.

India is a hotbed of fornicating dogs.  There are stray dogs everywhere. Most of the time during the day, they pick a nice sunshiny spot to nap in or a nice garbage pile to pick through and don’t bother anyone unless you bump into them or harass them. At night, they revert to crazy wolf like pack mentality and go about their nights in a crazy loud battle for supremacy of the neighborhood and pack. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve woken up in the night wishing with all my might that I had a rifle, BB gun or even a stick to throw at some yapping, snarling, whining dog outside. I LOVE dogs, but any dog that is making this amount of noise at 3 am needs to learn some survival skills that include not barking at my window. Or near it, whatever.

We also happen to live right across the street from a small, local school. I will never, ever make the mistake of staying across from a school in India again.  The school is a maze of hallways with classrooms off of them. They have a marching band (which includes a LOT of drums) that has been practicing every day starting at 8 am all day for a exhibition that they will have. As previously mentioned, I’m barely coping with my new found morning person-ness. Having to listen to drums that start at 8 am before I’ve even had a cup of coffee and last all day is killing my soul very slowly. They also have some routine that depends on some bass heavy dance music. And Yeh Hai Bombay Mere Jaan (an old Hindi song).  Now I like that song. Quite a bit actually. What I don’t like is hearing a crappy keyboard version played over 8 hours at a volume that is so loud it’s distorted. Seriously. Won’t someone please think of the children? I cannot imagine being at ground zero across the street and not ending up with hearing loss. 

After all the griping about noise in the neighborhood, we come to a positive point. I’m pretty sure everyone is aware of the stereotype about India that there are cows wandering around at will.  We didn’t see too much of this in Hyderabad. Plenty of buffalos, but very few free ranging cows. Bangalore, however, is absolutely filled with random stray cows. Our neighborhood in particular has at least 10 that roam around. They’re ugly, dirty beasts that love to dig through trash piles, but I still get a smile on my face about how they are able to wander around unbothered anywhere they wish. I’ve seen them wander into people’s yards and right up to fruit carts. Aside from a gentle shooing so they don’t steal fruit, no one even bats an eye. It’s fantastic. With all of the progressive changes that have happened for India, it’s still a very much wild, untamed place.


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