Monday, January 7, 2008
. Time slipped right on by the last six days. Suddenly I am in class, and in the city, every night, every day, I can't keep track too easily. I try to keep at this blogging thing, but sometimes, I just fall down.
Mostly things have been busy. I had to register with the police as a foreigner. They took a picture of my irises. I thought it was strange. Mostly I think many things are strange and wonderful here. The incredible boom in construction, and high technology industries, the serious focus on the continuation of development in this area is always in the foreground (or the background, if you're looking literally at my pictures). India in general, and Hyderabad in particular then becomes an incredibly complex confluence of extreme development and extreme population. I am in awe of the incredibly easy way people here accept the continual work. Everyone is always working, from the youngest to the oldest. You're on your way to work, or on your way home from work, or taking a break on Sunday from work. At first it seems like this is no different than at home, but then you realize that the work is a continual process that goes on 7 days a week. It certainly highlights the amount of leisure time one actually enjoys in the developed world.
I am quite in love with the apparent easy going nature of the people here though. The traffic is insane and completely lawless. Actually most things seem completely lawless to this westerner. It is not a rule of law society here, it is a rule of mutually excepted etiquette. While the traffic may seem like a made race, hitting a pedestrian can get you beaten by a mob. This is a fairly just place (on the street- there are other things that may not be so just).
For example, a surly auto-rickshaw driver took us in the wrong direction not so long ago, and when I finally made it clear to him that this was not where we wanted to go, he demanded more money. Not being our fault we refused. He then seemed to give in to our wishes and then drove us to the police station. He said some very animated things to the officers. They looked at me. I said, in the style of the area if not the language "Gachibowli-Gachibowli-Gachibowli" (repetition covers a lot here- and that was the name of the suburb where the university is, far from where he took us). With that, the officers really went after him. To his credit, I am fairly certain he never lied. The officers also told us to pay another price, because the price we were going to pay was low. It was so very perfect. By the time the scene was complete, there was a crowd (arguments are also crowd sourced and debated here) and several people wanted to make sure that we understood that we had done nothing wrong, and that the police had fixed it and taken the cabbie's number down to prevent further problems.
Classes have begun, and I am winding my way through a very foreign set of classroom navigational rules. I'll lay it out over the weekend for you. Now I have got to get.