People are pretty cool here

Updated: Jan 23, 2019

|Author: Henry|

We’ve been in Bangalore for around 11 days now, and I’m running out of superlatives to describe just how surreal this experience has been Thankfully, the students who have blogged before me have done a beautiful job putting into words a lot of the experiences and feelings that I’ve shared with them, and while I could try my hand at reflecting on another topic central to our adventure here in India, I decided I’d rather just share a story of a rather unique experience I had the other day.

Tuesday evening, I went for a run without a destination in mind and instead opted to just explore the neighboring streets of ISI. This is the short(ish) story of why that was not a good idea.

In an effort to cut down on length, I’ll skip the majority of how I wound up where I did, and simply explain that while running and not paying attention to where I was going, I ended up infuriating a group of dogs and failing to notice until I was directly between two groups of them in a corridor with no obvious way out.

So I stood there, in a small gap of space between two mini packs of street dogs, as locals looked on from behind a fence that separated the houses from the road. A small boy seemed keen on helping me but with limited English he could only offer up the advice that, “The dogs bite.”

After deciding my best chance for escape was a slow but loud retreat towards the direction I came, I began inching forward, slowly spinning in a circle, and continuously yelling, “Down!” as the dogs alternated lunging at me.

I was maybe 90 seconds into this when a woman emerged from her home. She barely addressed me but immediately started escorting me around the corner while helping me keep the dogs at bay. Once I was out, I practically dropped to my knees in front of this woman, offered a few thanks in broken Kannada, and then switched back to English to reiterate my thanks another 20 times. She responded with soft smile and returned to her home. The significance of her gesture, along with my level of gratitude, seemed lost on her, but meant everything to me in the moment.

Looking back, there’s no way any of those dogs belonged to her. And thus, she had no obligation or incentive to even step outside. But she saw me - a blatant foreigner stuck in a self-inflicted problem – and jumped in to help without even a second thought. This story will obviously stick out to me, but I could tell countless other stories of the locals here treating me as one of their own. I guess to sum up what I'm trying to say: People are pretty cool here.

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