India 2001 Travel Diary, Part 16

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© 2001 Giles Orr

Monday 28 May 2001, 0830

I'm supposed to be boarding the bus about now, but I'm not going to at least the first morning session, maybe more. I have a headache and a fever. I'm feeling better than I was at 0300, but that's still not good. At least my stomach was okay! On Farley's recommendation, I ate a lot of yogurt yesterday to help my stomach survive the doxycycline.

After "Dalit Issues," we had a chai break, and then an "Understanding Indian Classical Music" performance. This turned out to be a guru and six of his students, all playing percussion instruments. Like "C for Clowns," it seemed like too little material stretched to a mind-numbing single piece 75 minutes long. The guru was obviously the best player there, and I felt we were just a practice session for his students ...

After that we walked from National College to China Gate restaurant, about five or six blocks. National's resident naked beggar children followed us, stroking, grabbing, and clinging. They make many of us very uncomfortable. China Gate was wonderful, excellent food.

We had to walk a block and a half back to the bus, and the beggar children were there, waiting. I don't think any of us has given them any money, why would they wait through an hour and a half meal for us? One girl started really clinging to and rubbing Catherine, who broke and ran.

I've worked at GC&SU five and a half years. In that time, I've taken perhaps a grand total of three sick days. That makes being sick very frustrating to me. I wonder if I acquired this latest malaise while weak from dehydration?


Meena took me to a doctor. He says it isn't malaria, it's a viral infection. I'm not sure I trust the pills he gave me "to reduce fever," but living in India, I have complete faith in his diagnosis that it isn't malaria. I'm very relieved - although I still feel like shit.

Many people have taken the opportunity of our time here to "go native." Roxanne has gone all out with the clothing, and just about every woman has bought a sari. Even now, Catherine is wearing a decorative tikka, a green and gold tear-drop shaped item between the eyebrows. Many of the guys have bought kurtas, and I'm wishing I had - although I wouldn't wear it outside the house once I leave here.

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by giles