Monday, July 25, 2011

25 July 2011

I guess it’s been a long while since I’ve written in here.  Fortunately, a power outage has driven me from my computer.  A lot of hard work has happened the last couple of weeks.  With meager numbers of dedicated volunteers I have finished the Bosch follow-up at Munichinappa Government School in Adugodi.  It seems that last summer’s medical camp was not as thorough as I would have hoped.  A near majority of the students require some dental care.

Cavities and tooth pain are present in nearly every case.  There are many other cases of ear infections as well.  Hopefully, if everything goes as planned, I should be able to get some doctors and specialists to the most pressing cases by next week during Anand and Sinu’s absence.

After the follow-up I have spent much of my time manipulating data collected at Munichinappa.  It seems Bosch wants to see some numbers before going forward with these schools.

In the mean time I have been having quite a new experience here at my new hosts’ place.  I am quite happy with the location, however, living with conservative Hindu bachelors has been more challenging than any of my previous home stays.  I guess I have been accustomed to having a family atmosphere.  I also took for granted having meals prepared and laundry done while away at work.  These chores done alone in the US are considerably easier for an American.  Monsoon season alone makes drying laundry a multiple-day task.  Also, it’s really difficult to make anything but Indian food in India.

Last Sunday, Naidu and Raghavendra invited me to a gurupuja through RSS.  It was really good with a fine speaker and nice ritual.  Since then, however, I have sensed some animosity toward me and Western ideas and approaches.  Only now am I realizing how one-sided my open-mindedness is in this house.  I realize that yoga, Ayurveda, and whatever crazy food diets these brothers follow (notes ahead) have benefit and all, but dentists and allopathic medicine is not just some crock of shit.  To quote Darpan, “No amount of yoga is going to make your pancreas work again.” Even yesterday, when I came down with food poisoning, I was given little sympathy and what seemed like patronizing advice.  I am not an idiot because I don’t know your green oranges or how to roll a perfect chapathi.  There really are some things that Americans really do better.  I agree with Vivekananda that the best of both worlds should be celebrated.

Rules of their weird diet:

1)  Drink 8 liters of water a day and each liter should be drunk in one sitting, without stopping. However, this water should not be taken just before, during, or for 1 ½ hours after a meal.

2)  Leftovers are bad. Don’t keep a fridge because you shouldn’t eat anything cold or leftover from a previous meal.

3)  Eat lots of raw vegetables—nothing non-veg, of course, because they are digested quickly.  If you feel too full and want to digest things quickly, sit in diamond asana. It will make things happen faster.

4)  Once an onion is cut, it produces toxins after 20 minutes. Don’t eat onions after this time—so don’t take raw onion from outside.

5)  Non-veg makes you irritable, angry, and prone to violence.  Avoid even if you don’t have caste obligations.

And, while I’m at it, I’ll mention some of the other crazy things they’ve told me:

-- When the BJP was in power, India fought a war with China and won.

-- Of all languages, only the speaking of Sanskrit causes all of the nerves of the body to work (or something to that effect, whatever that means)

-- All Indian languages come from Sanskrit. Nothing existed before.
So, despite my anthropological desires to extend cultural relativism to everyone, I ask that some understanding be given to me and my culture—it’s only fair.

Anyway, on another note. Liz, Shivani, Jennie, and I went on a Bangalore bus tour yesterday.  It was a good way to see some of the more distant temples, but much I had already seen and known.  We first went to the ISKCON temple which was super huge and rich.  After leaving the actual temple, there was so much food and merchandise.  I can definitely see why a following caught on in the US.

Next, we went to the capitol but didn’t get to go in or anything.  It’s so cool but construction now makes pictures difficult.  We went to Tippu Sultan Mahal where the native price for entry was Rs 5 and the foreigner price Rs 100! It honestly was not that amazing but I did get some photos.  We went to a Shiva temple in Srinagar and the Dodda Ganapathi and Big Bull.  We had lunch across from RV Public School and then went to Lal Bagh.  We stopped at some sari store which I’m sure was associated with the tour people.  I ended up buying a kurta.  Last, we finished at a museum and art gallery.

Teepu Sultan Mahal

Lal Bagh

Karnataka High Court

Karnataka State Capitol

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