Often I mean to blog about an experience but don’t quite get round to it. When I do find the time, the moment has gone. Here’s a quick cap of 10 memorable moments I haven’t covered, before I forget.
1. I rescued a goat from a spider-pit.
There really is nothing I can add to offer more clarity. I rescued a goat from a spider pit. But there is an anecdote I must offer from an anonymous member of the rescue team, let’s call him Dave.
DAVE: ‘There are too many spiders. Maybe we’ll have to let him die.’
I am not one for letting a goat die because of arachnophobia.
2. I contracted Dengue Fever (and lived to tell the tale).
While staying in a flooded village in rural Gujarat I got very ill and lost a lot of weight. The doctor told me I had mild Dengue Fever. I refudiated* this diagnosis when I was offered a course of painkillers and vitamin C tablets to combat the deadly disease and recovered in a few days. I blame the water buffalo that shared my living quarters.
3. I got a very nasty bout of diarrhea in a slum in Ahmedabad at 4am.
Last August I stayed in a slum in Ahmedabad and was offered bad chicken. I woke up at 4am and had to find a toilet in the middle of a dark, powerless slum in monsoon season. Those are two hours I won’t forget.
4. I ride on the tops of buses
The classic Indian adventure. This has succeeded just once (I’ve attempted to do it at least ten times). Failed attempts usually involve a combination of the following factors:
a. Bus not slowing down enough
b. Failing to accurately compensate for the speed of the bus with the speed of my leap
c. Failing to accurately gauge the length of the required leap
d. Rear ladder not properly attached to bus
e. Lacking testicular fortitude
5. I slept one night in the basement of a Sikh Gurudwara and got hit during an arbitrary dispensation of justice featuring Kirpan (ceremonial spears).
I don’t want to stir up racial/religious tensions but I would like to quote my anonymous co-worker, lets call him Rupert.
RUPERT: ‘Sikhs have a problem with alcohol and a tendency towards aggressive resolution of differences’.
6. I won a trophy at a National Awards ceremony in Delhi
This is the first time I’ve won anything. It was for a business plan which I worked on for 144 consecutive hours (it was submitted three days over the deadline). I gave a speech and things (in English). Best of all, we will receive funding and consulting from business, marketing and branding experts over the next three years to help establish an enterprise to employ people with disabilities.
7. I got caught in a parade to celebrate Mahavir Bhagwan’s birthday in Jodhpur
I was actually with my parents in Jodhpur when we got caught in a small (large) friendly (terrifying) festival. The festival (stampede) featured lots of floats (tractors) in the narrow streets of old Jodhpur. We were walking against the flow of traffic, which allowed us to watch out for things that might kill us. The large terrifying tractor stampede also included large rolling spiked balls ala Indiana Jones.
8. I treated leprosy patients in a jungle in Maharasthra
Actually, this was at a hospital in a small community called Anandwan – I played nurse for about thirty minutes. Anandwan had an incredible history, founded in 1948 as a haven for those suffering from leprosy to find acceptance and treatment, it has grown today to a thriving colony of international stature. See here.
9. I fed an orphaned giant sloth in an animal sanctuary in a jungle in Maharasthra
This I actually did. Giant Sloths are very fast, very big, and very scary (David Attenborough takes bribes to tell you otherwise). They eat by sucking food in through their huge, thick lips. It sucked chapatti bread from my hands six inches away. A lapse of concentration and it would suck my brain from my skull.
10. I slept with a giant cockroach
This has happened more times than I care to remember. I once woke up in the early morning at a bus station in Nagpur with an itch. I stretched and realized I had a giant cockroach on my chest (underneath my khurta). I had a small seizure accompanied by soundtrack in a surprisingly populated, if cavernous, bus shelter.
On the same topic, I once woke up at 5am on a sleeper train (at my stop) to find two small children sharing my bed. Clearly, their parents had commandeered my reservation and opted not to tell me.
*use of refudiated courtesy of Sarah Palin