Slowing down the pace…..


Sitting in traffic on our holiday weekend to Mysore, I feel the need to whine a bit about how long things take. As someone who is used to multi-tasking and getting places quickly, it is weird to a lot large chunks of time to getting something done.

I wanted to use the gym at our development. On the way through the courtyard, I encounter Carson who has gotten bruised up in the local soccer game. Comfort him, send him upstairs. Then I run into Mr. Yadav, our head security guard. He had given me the electric bill an hour before. The electric bill had 10 different numbers on it and I had no idea which of these numbers was owed. Yadav says he will speak with the manager, Promod.

Now, to actually access the gym, I have to go to the front security desk. At this desk, I say I want to go to the gym and the security guard on duty shuffles between about 10 different little notebooks. The notebooks have covers that include crayons and Ben-10 (You just can’t make this stuff up!). When they find the gym notebook, I must sign in and then someone will walk over with me to open the gym. This process takes at least 10 minutes.

Today as I head to the security office, Yadav is standing next to it waiting for Promod the manager to get off the phone. He tells me to wait and we will talk to Promod together. We wait a long time for Promod to get off the phone, and Promod explains the bill, and tells Yadav that I should pay him and that he should then write me a receipt.

So then I follow Yadav to the security gate hoping to sign in for the gym. Instead he takes out the receipt book to settle the electric bill. It is clear we will not be finding the Gym crayon notebook until we finish the electric bill project. So, back to my house to get the cash (all bills are paid in cash here, even bills for thousands of dollars—kind of hard when my ATM only lets me withdraw the equivalent of $200 a day). So I pay Yadav and then he gets confused about the receipt, calls Promod back. We complete the receipt.

Then we fill out the gym book and he opens the gym for me. I turn on the lights (it’s dark by now), and get on the treadmill. As happens about 50% of the time, when I try to go above 9 km/hr, the treadmill trips the circuit and all the power goes out. Pitch black in the gym.

Back to the security desk, but Mr. Yadav has taken his break and no one else knows how to fix the problem. “He is coming,” they say. After 10 minutes I give up on the idea that he is coming and start running up and down the five steps at the entrance of the complex. I know they think I’m weird and at this point I don’t care. I am going to get a work out in even if I cause a crowd. I think start jogging back and forth along the corridor between the buildings. Just as I start, Mr. Yadav arrives, cheerful as ever. He truly is very helpful and always willing to go out of his way. For all I know he was done for the night but he came up to help me.

He ambles his way to the gym, sees the blackout and says he needs to go and find a chair to reach the circuit breaker. Now I see where the breaker is and I quickly move the weight bench to use as a chair. I help Mr. Yadav up on the bench and he flips the switch.

Finally, 45 minutes later, I can start my workout!

Some street scenes:

this family is gathering firewood for the day. they live in a shanty on the street here. A little girl about 9 or so was hustling back and forth to carry the wookd back to their house. The girl clearly wasn’t attending school.It still shocks me every time I see a kiddo like that.



Little one bicycling in the field behind our house.


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