The morning started off rough – looking like I should crawl back into bed hours after I’d crawled out. But I had errands to run. So while the crowded bazaar usually does nothing for my mood, I was off. And instead of a worse day, I saw a few things that completely made my day…
In one store, a mother and father walked in with their daughter. She obviously has some mental difficulties. This culture often hides its special-needs children in shame and silence – they’re lucky if they’re only kept quietly in the house. They’re rarely allowed out. So I was amazed her parents had brought her shopping too. They dealt with her so sweetly and gently. I wanted to give them a hug and thank them for trying to be counter-cultural. For loving their daughter enough to ignore the awkward stares the rest of the store was giving them.
Walking down my street, I was passing a grandmother and her 2-year old grandson.
He raised his finger, pointed and said, “Bhoont!” – which means “ghost” in Hindi.
I smiled at him, “Bhoont nhi hai,” I replied. “I’m not a ghost”.
“Call her didi,” said grandma. Didi means older sister and is the honorary term we use here for all women a bit older than us.
While it is a bit disconcerting to be confused with a terrifying, disembodied spirit – this little boy’s reaction was much more stoic than another little guy I completely terrified into screeches and tears as we passed each other on the street. His laughing mother was trying to encourage him to come shake my hand – but he was too busy collapsing into a heap of panic.
Maybe I need to tan a bit more…
After the market I stopped by the tailor’s to drop off some cloth I’d found for winter clothes.
Already in the shop was a young girl with at least ten finished outfits. She’d managed to find something terribly wrong with each. This one’s sleeve was too long, that one’s design wasn’t quite what she’d ordered. Before marriage, girls are expected to outfit themselves with 15-20 new pieces of clothing that they’ll wear during the first year of marriage. It’s a big deal – you want to present a fashionable, but modest wardrobe to your in-laws.
But this girl was beyond stressed. She would appear from the dressing room pulling at some piece of the outfit that wasn’t just right. Even her caring mother was looking exasperated. Drama, drama, drama.
I know technically drama is supposed to be the female’s forte – but I’m not big on drama.
So I was impressed with the tailor. He calmly listened to her whining, marked on the suits what needed to be changed, and made subtle jokes about her overreaction that kept the rest of the staff, the girl’s mom and I’m guessing himself from taking her hysterics too seriously.
Well handled, sir. Well handled.