December 16th: Abby’s Birthday

Today at school I was called by the principal to show a new volunteer around the campus. My promotion is solid. When people are absent they tell me and I tell the teachers. In a gang of Europeans it isn’t surprising that the American has to rise to leadership. A lot of my day is spent comically playing devil’s advocate for the Devil himself Uncle Sam.

After class and working out with my Bel-Bel workout buddy. I went to Frazer Town to attend Abby’s, Anika’s eleven-year-old sister, birthday party. The family had Anglo-Indian dishes and played after dinner games. I had a great time with all of them. We played a game similar to taboo and the whole family made constant jokes and laughter. They are so wonderful. Indian’s start eating dinner around ten thirty. Then after games and cake, we even eat cake with our hands in India, it was already midnight. One thing that seems to be a family tradition was for all the adults to share the first slice of cake. It was very interesting to see. Then the younger kids put cake on the birthday girl’s face. This is a super popular prank in India around birthdays.  The party went on until midnight even though the kids have school the next day and the adults have work. Indians just seem to relish the calm hours of the night and compensate with naps in the early evening.

After midnight cake I went with Ken on his motor scooter to his house. Riding through the streets of Bangalore at night on a bike was thrilling. Even though we went slow, I was a major party-pooper about speed, I still got to see the packs of street dogs, the desolate spaces, and the odd inhabitants of the night.  Bangalore is starting to get chilly in the nighttime and my only warmth is a jacket I got from King Rikyou before leaving his palace. Ken and I arrived at his gated apartment complex and I slept on a floor mattress. Ken is the coolest guy. His parents moved to Singapore just one month ago, but he decided to stay in Bangalore to be with his girlfriend Anika and to finish his studies. He was surprised by how orderly society and traffic was in Singapore. I chuckled because I was equally amused + terrified when I first experienced Indian traffic. We spent over an hour talking before falling asleep. He is a fascinating guy with a great sense of humor.  Next year he is planning to immigrate to Canada, so I think that if the move is successful then I will be seeing him again in the chapters after India.

As I went to bed I remembered my experience with the auto driver coming to Frazer Town. The driver was Sunil my favorite local driver. He didn’t know the way to Frazer Town and he asked up a storm of people along the way. While I was being ported around the smoky dusty roads I zoned out and thought about cultural adaptation. I will post my muses on that in the next post.

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