This is India: Series Part I
A normal day.
On a Monday morning, I wake up to cool 75 degree weather at 7:30 AM. I manually light my gas stove and throw a pot of oatmeal on for breakfast. I top it with some peanut butter and bananas.
Getting dressed. I put on leggings and my favorite grey kurta.
I walk outside. Greeted by (my security guard) Suresh's sweet baby and the occasional cow outside in the street, I walk to the main road to catch an auto. Passing by parents walking their kids to school, motorbikes who I always think are going to hit me, and shop owners preparing for the day, I try and slow my pace so I don't stick out.
I stop for a minute to say hi to my friend, Srinivas, who is a security guard. He smiles and waves. Shakes my hand and puts his hand up to his heart. He tells me, "I'm fine." I try to talk and he responds, "Hindi." We laugh and I say, "Have a good day!"
In the auto, I glance at everything happening around me. So many people walking to work, so many animals on the side of the road eating trash, fruit stands setting up, children wearing backpacks that are the same size as them, smells that make my nose cringe.
I arrive at the office. 9 AM devotions. Prayer time.
Beulah makes chai. She brings it downstairs to our desks. As we sip the sweet, milky tea, we catch up on emails and work.
Laughs erupt every time someone walks in the door. Jokes. Hindi lessons, except I can't trust what they say.
"How was the meeting with that one government official yesterday?"
We go back to typing on our laptops. I get a text, "come upstairs for this meeting." I enter the room of organized chaos. So much to plan. So much to do.
1 PM. Raveena and I grab lunch. We walk to a usual spot and share butter chicken and parathas. She shows me videos of her sweet golden retriever, Bruno. We talk about life's problems.
Back at the office. More typing, more to-do lists. More chai.
Home 6PM. Two little boys chase me down as I walk in the gate. "Auntie, Auntie. Our ball is stuck on your balcony." I ask them their names and they politely respond. I can't understand their names, but they understand mine. I give them their ball and they go back to playing in the alley.
My sweet housekeeper rings the doorbell. I admire her strength. We try to have a conversation, but generally just communicate with laughs.
I cook pasta for dinner. Turn on the hanging lantern and light some candles. Play some music. Video call my mom.
I go to my friend's house. I sit quietly while they play guitars and sing John Mayer songs. They bicker, and debate about things. Play "contact", a word game.
Home 11 PM. I turn on the hot water heater. Wait at least 15 minutes. Shower.
Bedtime. I think, "I'm thankful for this crazy, weird, beautiful life."