July 8, 2010 ~ 09:41pm
Well it has been a few days since I returned from India. Each trip so far has been totally different. These are just some random observations that I want to record for myself.
This is the first time I ever visited India during the rainy season. There is a reason they call it the "monsoon season". It was just non-stop rain. And during the brief bouts of sunlight, the heat was unbearable. And the mosquitoes, what devils. I counted 76 visible bites on me alone. It was an itchy flight back.
I have never seen the roads in such disarray. Firstly, even without the rains there are potholes the size of
cows cars. Why even call them potholes? During the rains, you really can't even detect the full size of the holes or where they are. I had the bumpiest car rides of my life.
When I went to Mangalore at the end of 2007, I could see the start of the new roads and flyover. The construction has progressed but what a mess. The roads are incomplete all over the area. Where it is complete it has totally eliminated any walking space along the side of the road. There is no room left for anything.
We had to attend an engagement which happened to be considerable distance away. Getting there I endured the curviest roads and the scariest car ride of my life. The map shows apx 70km but it took well over 2 hours. Rounding some corners made your heart skip a beat. (route is approximate).
In my previous trip to India I was fortunate to experience what a "typical Mangalorean wedding" would be like. I thought then that the many of the formalities were really unnecessary. Well much to my surprise the engagement event we attended was identical in almost every way but without any church ceremony. It was actually pretty exciting sitting up on the stage, but I think the guest of honor found it a bit overwhelming. Those lights can be blinding you know.
Anyways, with exception of the drive there and the heat, it was actually pretty fun. I'm disappointed all my siblings couldn't be there. Maybe next time (assuming there is a next time).
This trip was unique that my brothers and I were all forced to speak Konkani much more than we were accustomed to. It was okay for the most part. It was odd for me near the end of the trip, there was some moments where I could almost hear myself thinking or talking Konkani in my head, as opposed to translating from English. Too bad we were there too short to really test me.
One of the new recruits we took with us happened to be American born (like my youngest brother). I was worried how she might adjust. The following story sums it up. If you are a Muslim please skip the next paragraph.
Traditionally pork ("dukra maas") in Mangalorean cuisine leaves a sizable portion of the fat to be cooked along side the meat. If you've never had this before, you might be surprised when you find yourself chewing on a rubbery blob of non-meaty strangeness. Well our newcomer just ate it all up without any complaint (sometimes that's even a little tough for me). When asked, she revealed: "I thought, mmmmm, that must be some different type of mushroom". She ate pretty much everything and didn't get sick, that's pretty impressive.
Sadly I didn't get to see as much family as I had hoped. What was very annoying was the commute between different relatives homes. What would have taken 30 minutes or so previously was taking us almost an hour. Even where the roads weren't too bad, the traffic has just exploded. There were so many new cars on the roads. Traveling a few miles seemed like a journey on its own.
I conclude, at great cost, that India is still there and is still haphazardly growing at seemingly unsustainable rates. Sad to see.
Anyways I think this may be the last trip I will go to India in big group of people. I think I might go solo next time or with perhaps only one other person. I think I want to see more and do more instead of being caught in traffic or rain.
In spite of some of the nuisances in traveling, I think this was one of the more comfortable trips I've taken. But I don't measure a trip in how comfortable I was, rather, was the experience worthwhile? Yeah, I would definitely say: yes.