My Spiritual Journey, India: Day 5

This morning I thought I was dreaming when I glanced over at my alarm clock. It was 4:00 A.M. when I was awakened by the faint ringing of cell phone. Its always an unsettling feeling out when the phone rings that early. Not to mention, I’m sharing a room with five others–which is normal behavior in Indian culture. It was my husband, Rick on the phone. His father has pancreatic cancer, so I immediately assume he may be calling with some sort of update on the progression of his disease or worse news. With no light on, I’m frantically feeling around my night stand, moving my hand back and forth searching for my phone. I find it finally next to my water bottle that I knock over and it drops onto the tile floor with a loud thump. Thankfully, I didn’t wake anyone. Quietly, I text Rick back and at the same time am trying to cover the bright light that’s illuminating from my cell phone. He responds back and thank the good Lord, his father isn’t worse. Rick was just feeling lonely. I remind him to check the world clock next time he calls so as not wake everyone in the room. I’m laying wide awake now. I can’t fall back a sleep. We have quite a few people sharing the bathroom this morning, so I might as well get up brush my teeth and wash up before my walk. It’s early morning and still dark outside when Manny, Surekha and I are off for our three-mile walk. It’s really baffles me how India has such extremes living conditions–you’re either very wealthy or poverty stricken. As we start our morning walk, we’re in a gated community with two guards standing at the entrance. There are so beautiful homes and roaming stray dogs. There is one that has puppies and my heart aches for her. I can’t stop wondering the likelihood of those puppies surviving. We cross the road and we’re in an entirely different neighborhood, one of horrific poverty. There is a bull standing on the corner eating garbage. I can’t help but wonder how he got this huge disgusting sore on his backend. Walking along I get people who just stare at me like I have three heads. I think maybe they haven’t seen a Caucasian woman because there a a handful who come close to me and just stare. I bow my head and greet them with ‘namaste.’ They smile at me with a look of surprise that I even acknowledged them at all. Manny speaks Hindi so he asked a man assembling cow pies if we could take his picture. The man is so thrilled, he poses with a smile from ear to ear! The townspeople are all active doing their chores and work. There’s a man milking a cow, a woman sweeping the sidewalk and cows and dogs roaming freely. I’m noticing everything in India seems to be one extreme to another–polar opposites or is it in perfect balance.

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