Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bangles and Bindis and Boys... oh my!! (sorry, i had to... have i mentioned that India is making me more lame?? oy)

Dad, remember how I promised that I would never ride a motorcycle? Well, I am sorry because I did.  You might be thinking… idiot, why wouldn’t elinor just not say anything and keep that a secret? Well… because your dear idiot daughter didn’t know how to get off of the motorcycle (lack of experience ;)) and ended up hard core burning her leg on the exhaust pipe.  Definitely going to leave a mark… so I kind of had to tell you. That sucks.  But, to my defense, I was visiting a school in the middle of nowhere and the only way I could get home is if I waited an hour for a taxi to come pick me up… and I was having another Indian sickness day and waiting was not an option. 


So, I moved yet again.  I am living in Dharamkot now ( I spoke about it earlier as “little Israel”) but now that I am living there I am seeing that it is just so much more! Everything is still in Hebrew and the Israelis are definitely taking over BUT the entire village is related… seriously… everyone is related. Actually the three villages on that mountainside are all related.  They speak their own language called Gadi or mountain language, which I have been trying to learn… It is funny though because if these three villages speak this language (and maybe a few more around the area) and all of the people are related…Gadi is like a giant family language right?


So, mountainside… 5 of my friends and I took over a guesthouse owned by this guy Shiva, his wife Kanu, and his mother Krishna.  Shiva and Kanu are the most beautifully relaxed couple I have ever met.  They wake up at 6ish and spend the morning just sitting together and talking.  I don’t think that I will end up living in the mountains when I am older but I hope that I can have a couple hours every day to just talk with the person I love.  It is so nice.  The two of them are really gorgeous and simple and smart and interested… long story short I am in love with both of them and if I ever disappear you can find me in their guesthouse. 

It is absolutely silent at night and the goats and cows just wander around us… the bugs are absolutely insane- I saw a worm with a flashlight butt- his bum is a green light… think permanent fire-fly but a worm…there is a giant centipede hiding in my room which kind of freaks me out but I try not to think about it… I’m scared I’m going to wake up with it in my mouth… anyhow, we have a huge patio where we do work and just sit and joke around.  Remember how I was a total negative fool at the beginning of this trip and said that none of the people ‘get me’ well… I have been greatly proven wrong and I am admiringly in love with my group- there is one girl Stacey who I have been living with for the past month and a half and she is just the most wonderfully unpredictable girl in the world- she is absolutely hilarious and is always joking around and then right when you start thinking “what a class clown” BAM her brilliant neuroscience mind smacks you across the face and just stimulates your thinking… Casey is another one that just blows my mind every day- again, a hilarious and brilliant hipster looking boy that invests himself fully in things that interest him and he never lets a question go unanswered… he is determined in life to figure out a way that physics can explain the mind and in 20 years WILL be that quirky professor at Harvard with crazy hair that writes books that just don’t make sense to the average thinker.  Casey’s girlfriend’s best friend is a friend of mine at Barnard (small world) and so, all of you will meet him next semester.


Speaking of physics… I was more formally introduced to the String Theory last week and HOLY SHIT!  SO COOL! I know that it is still just a theory, and I know that I only understand it on a total basic level, but my god, it totally makes sense to me.  I hated my physics class in high school but I have really gotten into the parallels between quantum mechanics and fundamental Buddhist philosophies… again, information that I am just barely scraping the top of but it is pretty fucking cool.  


Oh wait, another story as to why I am petarded… SO. I went to this little Indian village with my program director on a mission to buy bangles and bindis (now that I am living in India and not mini-Tibet I can dress like an Indian and not be made fun of by my Tibetan friends) SO… on my mission I found the most beautiful bangles AND was advised by my director and the woman at the store that I have to get the right size because bangles aren’t supposed to fall below your wrist when you hold your arm facing down… so think about it… the bangle is supposed to be semi-fitted on your wrist… so a bangle that is usually made of glass or plastic is supposed to SOMEHOW fit over your hand and be semi-fitted on your wrist… following? Ok… so I started trying on all of the bracelets and kept on saying that they didn’t fit and was looking for bigger ones… the shopkeeper looked at me and ticked her tongue in a “you’re an idiot they do fit you’re just not doing it right kind of way” and she grabbed my hand and literally massaged these bangles onto my wrist… OW!! But ok! Great! Lovely! They are pretty and voila- I am Indian…  I wore them that day and then that night I started to smell bad… not going to lie, I have been smelling pretty dandy given the smell standard in this Indian summer but I literally started to smell… nauseatingly so… and then I realized it was the bangles!! I called my director and asked her why they smelled like melted shit and she said “ohh… yeah… sometimes the plastic doesn’t really do well in the heat…” (that is so India… a product MADE here that just doesn’t actually WORK here… fabulous) So… I hung up and actually started to get nauseous and decided- enough is enough I am taking them off…


Taking them off…


Not so easy.  I tried and thought my hands were going to fall off, mind you, the sides of my hands were still bruised and red and cut up from getting the bangles on…so I stopped trying and thought I NEED AN INDIAN TO HELP ME… BUT by this time Kanu was sleeping… so I slept that night with tee shirts wrapped around the bangles so that I didn’t die from the smell… gross right? Anyways, I woke up the next morning and Kanu drenched my hands in lotion and ripped them all off of me… OW!! Damn.  But miss brilliant elinor thought, WOW, this is a part of the Indian culture that I just didn’t know about- these women go through so much to wear bangles… adoration galore. But then Kanu told me that I shouldn’t have bought such small bangles because they shouldn’t hurt… and at that moment my cultural vision was shattered.  I’m an idiot.


Another cultural vision was shattered and put back together a few nights ago when I was walking in Mcleod and this drunk guy was stumbling down the street with his pants undone.  He said something to me and my friends and we just walked away and before we knew it these 4 Indian cops with sticks started beating him- They hit him with their sticks and then one of the guys slapped him so hard across the face that the poor guy fell to the floor… you would think that this would make the cops stop? No, why would they? I know that there is a lot of corruption in Indian authority but seriously? If I weren’t so scared of the cops here and the “system” I would have yelled at them… but I have also heard too much about the horrendous abuse that Indian women are subjected to in this area that I didn’t say or do anything.  To be honest, I kind of feel like an ass hole for just letting the shmucks abuse their power and exert their repulsive egos… gross.


Oh a happier note… I went on an epic hike lead by my philosophy teacher and her two teachers (monks in their mid 50s) from IBD… the two of them were strolling up the mountain and I was leaving a trail of sweat and tears behind me… they climbed the mountain with such ease, each holding an umbrella to protect themselves from the sun… and I actually couldn’t keep up with them… So what was the purpose of the hike? We actually went to visit a meditator who lives in retreat in this hut on the mountain.  He spends most of his time inside of the hut doing his practices and food is brought to him (I gave him a snickers bar… so not appropriate, most people give fruit but I thought the fruit must get boring).  Watch the snickers be the fuel that brings him to the direct realization of emptiness… kidding but how funny would that be?


So, my classes are over and I have the next few weeks to do research on my topic of choice.  I am looking into the New Education Policy of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and want to use this idealistic vision to gage where their education system is right now.  I cannot really put my thoughts into words because I don’t really know where my thoughts are right now… It has been quite the journey though, the Tibetan community in exile in Northern India is so small that I literally just walk into the Department of Education and say “hi, can I talk to your director?” and voila.. I have been interviewing really interesting people and am excited to see where all of this goes…


Did I ever talk about how unbelievably beautiful Tibetan men are?  Not only will I confidently say that on average they are the most beautiful group of men I have ever seen, but I will also venture out to say that there is an odd magnetism between Tibetan men and American women.  It is physically hard to walk down the street or get anything done because my eyes cannot focus.  My friends are enjoying themselves but I decided to just enjoy the eye candy… relationships with Tibetans just seem to be too complicated and not worth it… I’m having too much fun for that.


We have our audience with HHDL in a few weeks and then the group goes on a weekend retreat together and c’est tout… semester is over! A few of my friends and I are planning a trip to Ladakh that is to start end of May.  I’m really looking forward to it…


Ah, last thing… so I always say that being in India tests my English language skills because I always find myself reading something in English but not understanding it… so… the sign that I saw that said “If Married Divorce to Speed.” What?  Well, thanks to India I learned that the word “cum” also means “with” or “combined with”… so one will see signs that say “Internet cum coffee” or “water cum refrigerator” or “sandwich cum salad”… the list goes on… makes me laugh every time… yes, I’m 8 years old… on that note…


back to work! Wishing you all well… x




  1. elinor, i miss you and all of your typical anecdotes.. just to let you know that i do read this thing and still check on a daily basis to see what you have written :)

    i am BEYOND excited to share my stories cum you and to see you again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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