I found this photo at www.democraticunderground.com
Yesterday I was taking my daily, well almost daily, walk and walked down a lane I have never walked down before. There sat a dozen old men in white cotton hats, white pyjama type outfits, sharing a hookah. I was a bit surprised with all the fear of swine flu, but there they sat, chatting and sucking away as only good friends can do. I didn't have my camera, because my battery had run out, but maybe this evening they will let me photograph them.
India is a mass of contradictions. When we lived here in the 1970s, the streets were filled with bicycles, three wheeler taxis, horse drawn carts, and black and yellow Indian cars. One could always see a jet flying overhead, just to prove that somewhere modernization had taken place.
The populace used to talk about the spirituality of India and Indians. Well, I guess that was important, because they had no roads worth driving on, only one real hotel in Delhi, and very few restaurants.
Dick was beside himself trying to buy goods here, because Indian businessmen were not used to meeting quality controls or delivery dates.
When anyone left India for a trip abroad they were given a long list of things to buy from their friends and relatives: buttons that didn't break, zippers that actually zipped, jeans, t-shirts and food stuffs. We couldn't get corn flakes that weren't full of bugs, peanut butter that could be eaten without stirring, cheese, sausages, pasta among many other things. But India had the most beautiful fabric I have seen anywhere, and tailors would come to your house and make clothes for the whole family and all the servants for $2/day.
People were starving all over the country, and fewer than 7% of the populace made enough money to pay taxes.
I'm amused when someone tells me they can't find the right kind of chocolate chips, or a certain kind of cake mix. I say nothing, knowing that their problems are as important to them as ours were to us. But I smile inside and murmur sympathy.
The country has taken off and not in a stable easy going way. The country is changing at jet pace, and though good things are happening, there is stress everywhere. Change is difficult at the best of times, and change this drastic will cause as much upheaval as happiness.