Fasionably late��她r not���
So our house helper is originally from Kolkata and celebrates Durga Puja, one of the several goddess festivals going on now. Anyway, she took yesterday off and told us that we should stop by the festivities. This is all new to me, of course, and it seems especially confusing right now because there are several festivals going on all at once, celebrating different and yet somewhat similar things��匈 think. Someone said they���re basically the same with different names from different regions. Others have said they���re different, with different gods and traditions depending on the state you���re in. This is a typical answer here to pretty much any question���everyone has a different perspective/opinion/etc. So anyway, there���s Durga Puja, Navaratri, Dushera, and others, and it���s all happening all around us now. Oh, and the Dandiya���festive dancing with sticks, which is what we really wanted to see.
Well we went down to the Durga Puja festivities on Monday night, but we were too early and it looked like things might not start for a while, so we decided to come back the next day, but this time later. Well, when we arrived Tuesday (after eating at a snazzy Pizza Hut downtown), it seemed like people were leaving and there was a lady singing, but no dancing. I asked one of the people near us and he said the dancing was actually Gujarati (a nearby state) and the festival was for Bengalis! Oh, and the dancing was only yesterday. Ha! Gotta love the randomness of life here!
I think I���ve mentioned before how much I love the wild variety of animals here. They are definitely one of my favorite things to take pictures of, because they���re so random and unpredictable and EVERYWHERE. Cows literally rule the roads (and everywhere else) here, and they will just lay in the middle of the street and look at the cars passing like, go ahead and just TRY to make me move!
I���ve had many cow experiences in the 2 months I���ve been here, but I think yesterday takes the cake. We went to this crazy little market, fully of people selling fruits and vegetables in tents. As we���re examining some potatoes, I look up and see 3 cows stroll by and each one steals a potato off the cart! The people kind of shoo them away, but they basically are doing whatever they want. So I spent the rest of our time at the market trying to get a good pic of the cows stealing food, and I got a couple decent ones.
Right as we were about to leave, I was distracted by something, and then noticed there was commotion around me. When I looked up, I see this HUGE cow stomping right through the market, horns down, pushing its way through the people. I jumped to the side and missed getting knocked down by this big bovine (and I thought, heiffa what?!!?). It all happened very fast, and after it was over, I realized one lady actually had been knocked over���fortunately she wasn���t hurt. The cow just strolled right on out and on its way. Love it!
On a more serious note���
So goes life here in South Asia. This is all fun and lighter stuff. Fortunately, we are far enough south to have avoided any damage from the earthquake, but reading about the disaster in the paper is quite overwhelming. I still can���t believe that my home here has been hit on 3 sides by disasters (tsunami in the east, floods in the west, and now the earthquake in the north), and that my home in the states has also been hit by 2 huge hurricanes. The thing that amazes me, and I know is just HIS grace is that in all this mess, my homes have missed directed hits. Natural disasters have struck all around us here, and Lafayette missed Katrina to the east and Rita to the west���it���s just insane, and hopefully the end of all this madness.