A Terribly Short Train Ride
After a weekend of beaches, waves and a relaxing few days with friends it was finally time for our time in Pondy to come to an end. After a great dinner at a restaurant watching old music videos and pounding down a large quantity of Chinese food, we set off to the train to take us back to Bangalore. My stomach started feeling a little off but I pushed it aside, thinking it was a minor annoyance. Not ten minutes after pulling away from the station I started becoming violently ill. My only thought during this entire experience was “Phooey, I knew that milkshake looked sketchy.”
Spending the next couple days staring down individual pieces of toast willing myself to eat something made me miss eating actual food. I miss being able to chow down on the food at UTC and ordering whatever I wanted to at a restaurant. But the thing that I started to miss the most was India. Being disconnected from the food here suddenly made me feel disconnected from everything else. I didn’t realize how much food was a part of life here on the GCIL program.
On Tuesday, TUI had the opportunity to interview a corporator at a local ward. After an hour of interviewing him he graciously invited us into his home for breakfast. It was a traditional southern Indian affair with coffee, watermelon, idli and various other dishes. It was absolutely delicious, and somewhat murderous on an already upset stomach. It was amazing to hear the work that this corporator had done and how connected he was to the community. His name and number are printed all over his ward so that people can contact him with their issues that range from fallen trees to a water crisis.
That moment, standing under the Domlur flyover listening to the corporator speak about the struggles of his ward, I felt like I understood a small piece of India. In that brief amount of time I felt that I could see everyday life for a few residents of Bangalore. The clarity of our conversation lasted until we made it back to our organization and I began uncontrollably sweating from the after effects of the food poisoning.
I know that we only have a few weeks left of the program and I look forward to spending the rest of the time continuing to experience India and all it has to offer. Except milkshakes. I think I will be taking a small hiatus from those.