Three nights this week we have made plans to go out and visit the annual festival thingy here in Hyderabad. The plan was to be ready by sixish and we’ll go. So I dressed our little girl up, washed the thick layer of dirty pollution off of her, and was ready to go by sixish. Then seven came, then eight, by 8:30, Isabelle was out like a light. So much for that idea. By the end of the second night I was getting real tired of Indian time. But what can you do? When in Rome….
So I have devised some activities to distract myself and Isabelle while we are killing time waiting to leave/eat/sleep/whatever. The first line of defense is a walk around the neighborhood. I will start off by saying that the idea of walking to go nowhere is a complete foreign concept to most Indians and I have a difficult time getting anyone, including my husband to do this with me. The one exception to this is my daughter who will use any form of manipulation known to an 18 month old and go with virtually anyone to get out the front door of the house.
As we walk around, we stop and stare at stray dogs and stray water buffalo. We also stop and watch the neighborhood kids play cricket. I’ve even tried my hand at it…and it seems like all of those years of little league have paid off…I can bat like an old pro.
But what I’ve discovered is that whenever I step out of the door of the house, within five minutes, I have gathered a crowd. This morning there were about 20 little school girls gathered around us, taking kisses from Isabelle and saying in their little Indian English, “Nice baby, Auntie. Nice nice baby.” Isabelle took it for all of about ten seconds before going ballistic.
A few days ago I had a group of about 20 boys from the cricket field gathered around asking me questions in Telegu and English. We were having a nice conversation and I had a nearly insurmountable desire to start yelling, “Square off, square off, Pod up, Pod up.” And even started thinking of ways to bring in the net. (If this doesn’t make sense to you…it’s okay, you are certainly in the majority.) This was before my husband, who was playing cricket in the street with our nephews saw me and came running with a concerned look on his face. I told him no worries, I was used to drawing a crowd!