Sunday, August 14, 2011

14 August 2011

Despite how quickly my departure date is coming up, I’ve not actually done that much the last week.

I left the house on Wednesday for the last of our weekly meetings.  It was very different from those with the full group in June.  Liz, Swathi, and I gave our last updates and purged many of our papers and information from our bags.

Afterward, we went to Montree Mall for dinner with Ruku, Prem, and Harish.  I made the mistake of ordering enchiladas.  They lacked cheddar cheese and included noodles and tomato sauce.  I thought it might be more palatable with tortilla chips so I ordered a side of them.  They gave me stale corn papads and billed me Rs 100!

I bought a book and some Carnatic music before heading home. My bus from Majestic sat for 15 minutes before leaving and then took the fly over Silk Board.  I had to walk back to the stop and then catch one of those sketchy private buses back to Bellandur.

Thursday, I intended to leave the house to get reimbursement with Harish.  Prakash at the office, however, said there was no cash and to come back later.  I played on the computer and ate masala dosa and palak bajji for lunch.

Friday, I went into town to meet up with Liz for her last day. We had lunch with Anand and Sinu for the last time at Cool Corner beneath the fly over at Vanivillas Rd.  I had akki roti which was delicious. After lunch, Liz got a short two-wheeler lesson.

Later, after goodbyes at Ajitashri we went to Venkateshji’s to pick up some things and for me to drop off a few.  We had coffee and discussed the retreat that all the full-time volunteers went on last week.

I headed back to Bellandur on the same bus as Liz. Again, the bus waited for 10 minutes at Banashankari for the driver to finish smoking.

Yesterday, I finally got my reimbursement.  The new YFS office is in Konankunte at a huge unfinished concrete building. When I first arrived there a dog came from inside and barked at me and chased me back outside.  I assume that’s how they prevent all the volunteers from seeking reimbursement. Haha!  I asked for just Rs 2000. Easily, I spent over $150 on transport alone, but what am I gonna do with that in rupees in three days.

It was also Raki Bande or however it’s spelled. A local volunteer at the office ties one on for me.  Harish came late and we had juice at Banashankari before saying goodbye.

At home, Nitin and I went and got groceries after he got his tooth filled. We got high and watched Top Gear.  I think that was the confirmation I needed that he and Rokaya should marry.

I woke up late again today except for letting in the maid. I’ll have parotha and sabji for breakfast now.

Monday, August 8, 2011

8 August 2011

I’ll do my best to give a proper update of what’s happened in the last week.  Sunday, 31 July was another day off.  It was Jennie’s last day so I met up with her to visit a couple of temples with her host mother.  Everyone else (I guess at that point it was just Liz and Swathi) went to a surgery camp in Coxtown.  Venkateshji didn’t think they’d need me to I opted not to go.  Jennie had been staying in Gandhi Bazaar with someone that had hosted her friend Sarah last summer.  She was an interesting personality.  Vijayalaksmhi was her name, I think.  Anyway, she took us to a couple of temples where her family had donated the murthy.  We were given the VIP treatment at each of them.  She also took the opportunity to schmooze with all of the priests.  I was told that she had an anniversary celebration to invite them all to.  She gave me the number of a guy she knows who’s involved at a top Ayurveda college.  I haven’t decided whether I’ll make contact.  It might be interesting especially if I come back for an MBBS.  My internet search today didn’t look so promising.

After the temples the driver dropped me at a petrol bunk in Padmanabha Nagar.  I finally got to take a picture of those drug murals on the side of the road.  Parimallaji was cleaning some greens when I returned home.  We had an interesting sambar with roasted jackfruit seeds for lunch and then dinner.  I read almost all of The Idiot’s Guide to Hinduism that afternoon and evening.  Parimalla’s brother came over and showed me how to tie a dhoti.  He said not to buy one because he has a bunch that were gifted to him.  The dhoti was actually very comfortable—I realized in Kerala this weekend that it’s about the only comfortable thing you can wear there.

On Monday, 1 August, I took a bunch of buses around south Bangalore trying to find Jakkasandra.  I had to pick up permission slips from Bosch.  I then headed to Munichinappa and I got the go ahead for emergency followups.

Venkateshji had brought my things to Ajitashri—I hung out there for the rest of the day and started on my final report. Liz and I took an auto home together.

I actually moved that day.  I’m staying in Bellandur out on the southeast side of Outer Ring Rd.  It’s across from a B’lore Central Mall.  I’m staying with a bachelor in his late twenties named Nitin.  He’s north Indian and a Hindi speaker.  He grew up living all over India since his father was in the air force.  He’s actually the exact opposite of the RSS brothers. He’s a really interesting guy and I’m enjoying my stay here.

I don’t actually know what happened Tuesday. It’s likely that I’ve confused and blended the days.

Wednesday, I actually took the emergency referrals from Munichinappa to Dr. Aradhana’s clinic in Banashankari.  The kids were crazy on the bus.  One of the boys kept moving the seat back and forth trying to mess with the kid behind him.  Three of the kids asked me for my trash so that they could throw it out the window.  They thought it was insane that I held the tea cup from the school to the clinic. They also sang along really loud to this old Kannada song—I can never remember how it goes but I always recognize it when it comes on the radio.

It took us forever to figure out where the clinic was.  The address said across from KK hospital but it was actually a block further south.  Dr. Aradhana was really good about examining the kids.  We made plans to start Doctors at School at Rajajeshwari this week.

Thursday, 4 August, we decided to have a meeting between the three interns even though everyone was gone on a retreat. We met at Ajitashri to exchange data and make plans for Bosch, etc…  We had lunch at Subway. They are starting to recognize us but still are terrible at making sandwiches.

Pragya's Last Day (Pragya, Swathi, and Rukmini)

Pragya, Liz, and Jennie

Yes...a mural of drug paraphernalia 

Hanuman near Silk Board

My room in Bellandur


Friday, August 5, 2011

5 August 2011

We had ENT and skin referral completed at several of the Bosch schools, including my follow-ups at Munichinappa. The ENT specialist was quite good.  The dermatologists seemed to be more mediocre.

That morning, I also distributed medicines at Adugodi Police Quarters.  Most of them were given vitamin supplements, cough syrups, and antibiotics.  We were short a few bottles but none of the medical shops around had any of what we needed.

Bosch took us to lunch after the screenings. Harish, Prem, and a new local volunteer came with Usha, Liz, and me.  The girl actually sat in Prem’s lap during the car ride—definitely some sparks flying between those two.

From there I met Swathi at Majestic.  We went back to her cousin’s place.  The monsoon began while we were on the bus.  The driver stopped and had us get out into a huge-ass river in the road.  Ruku met us at the gate with umbrellas but we were completely wet anyway.  It would seem to be a continuous theme throughout the weekend.  I had dinner there before catching the overnight bus to Kerala.

Saturday morning we arrived in Puttur.  The ride was insane.  The road was shitty as hell.  Every kilometer the driver would slam on the brake before driving through some massice hole in the road.  It made sleeping nearly impossible.  We stopped on the road because of a landslide and so were delayed in our arrival.

It rained all day. No. It monsooned all day.  We drove to our hotel and visited a few temples in the area.  All were very traditional and required that men take off their shirts.  They also gave a premixed turmeric paste for applying tikka.

I had chicken shawarma and beer for dinner.  There was no electricity for most of the evening.  We lit candles and placed them all over the room.

It’s hot as hell in Kerala and basically the jungle.  It thought there was a monkey under the bed.  It was actually a cat making weird noises.

The mosquitos were fucking relentless.  Eventually Harish turned on the AC, which made sleeping possible. The girls, however, got cold and moved into Uncle’s room in the early morning.

Sunday, we went to Ft. Bekal and the beach.  The water was dark, muddy, and very restless.  It didn’t really feel like a beach since no one was there and it was cloudy and raining. The abandoned playground gave the place a post-apocalyptic feel.

After cleaning up we got back into the car and drove to Harish Uncle’s house. We stopped on the border and had pakoras and dosa for lunch.

We got there around six or seven and hung around the farm.  The barnyard had three cows and a jungle.  Within an hour, all the men wearing dhotis showed up for the end of Durga Puja.


Trying to bathe and dry clothes




Keralan Temple

Hotel in Kasargod


Ft. Bekal

Beach in Kasargod