Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Early Years 2010: Get Ripped Off / Eat a Squid / Save a Puppy!

Originally Posted on July 29th, 2010.

If you've read my posts before, you've learned about the minor disadvantages whites have when in India.  Today was another one of those days.  Sanjeev calls me early today and asks me to meet him in downtown Bangalore with his passport.  By downtown Bangalore, I mean the cosmopolitan Bangalore, where the amount of sensory stimulation is enough to make you want to crawl in a hole.  I agreed to the task, though I knew I would have to hail an auto rickshaw.  Whenever I walk I get approached by auto drivers attempting give me a ride.  They see a white woman and they see dollar signs.  Sanju told me to expect to pay around 90 rupees, though I knew it would be much more.  Hailing an auto isn't as easy as I thought it would be, they are everywhere until you need one.  After several failed attempts I finally got a guy to stop on the opposite side of the road.  It takes me several minutes just to safely cross the street and I approached the middle aged man and asked him if he could take me to brigade road.  He says yes and as I hop in the backseat he turns around and I know he wants to "negotiate" the price.  I know he speaks English, yet he pretends to not be so fluent.  He says 200 rupees for the trip there.  I say fine whatever, I just want to get there.  There is no use in my attempt to fight over the price with him for two reasons: one, I do not like fighting over money, and two, he doesn't comprehend my accent and most of what I say will not get through.  He embarks on the roughly 7 mile trip and as we drive it begins to rain.  Autos are covered sort of like soft top Jeeps and rain is blowing in on either side of me, soaking the seat.  I sit dead in the middle and ignore the dampness.  Traffic at noon is beginning to pick up and the noise is deafening inside of an auto. Autos have literally no shocks and every speed bump, crack, and pot hole send shock waves up my back.  I could find riding a camel more comfortable.  We get downtown within a half hour and he apparently doesn't know where the Brigade towers are.  I begin to worry if he is just going to dump me off at some random street, tell me it's the towers and then leave.  I stand firm that I want him to take me to where I need to go and he asks several other autos for directions.  We haphazardly come across Sanju's Canon building so I yell at him to stop and give him the 200 without a fuss.
I meet Sanju and we have lunch at a place called "Cafe Masala."  It is a lunch buffet and Sanju describes the dishes to me as we pick and choose what we want.  He points to a noodle salad and says that it has mayonnaise with egg in it and asks me if I want it.  I obliged because it looks like American noodles and we continue to filled out plates.  I wold down each serving because I haven't had breakfast and as I eat the savory noodle salad, I put what I think is a mushroom into my mouth only to realize that it is too meaty to be a mushroom once I chew it.  I finish my plate and upon our second round I check out the sigh describing the noodle salad and see that it has Calamari (squid) in it.  I incessantly tease Sanju for being so idiotic as to serve me sea meat. I don't mind because the noodle salad was delicious, though I just feel like I've sinned.
On the way out Sanju grabs me an auto and tells the guy to use the meter and not to over charge.  He tells Sanju that he doesn't view people by color, and he holds true to his word.  It costs less than 90 rupees to get back home, and I give him a 100 and thank him for being honest.  I head down my street to my apartment and as I near my turn I see an SUV on the side of the road.  The man inside it is getting ready to drive off and underneath it is a tiny puppy.  I sprint to the truck and tell him not to leave yet, pointing underneath to the puppy.  I frantically try to get her to come out and luckily I am able to grab her before the man gets impatient.  She is alone without her mother and dirty with car grease.  I take her home, there is no way I can desert a baby to the brutal streets of Bangalore.  She is safely asleep in her makeshift bed, twitching as she dreams in her little world.
Another rainy day in Bangalore, another day gone.

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