In the tumult of India so far, there are two things that are bothering me. 1, there are servants. 2, this sentence was spoken to me by a person who I am expected to respect : “Not all Muslims are terrorists, but – all terrorists are Muslims”. This, he assured me, (maybe I looked skeptical?) is true.

I’m beginning to know the cast of characters for this story, clustered in bunches that sprout from the contacts I had Wcommunicated with before leaving the United States. Now there are full-color visuals, there are full-speed voices, there are fully-filling tastes. Now there are people who help me and there are people who offend me, and they are the same people.

Well, great. I’m done with good/bad black/white U.S./Mexico duality. There is a pang of disloyalty to clouding the kindness of these recently-strangers with doubts, but I don’t doubt their kindness. I doubt, first of all, that I’ll have a reasoned understanding of what I’m experiencing given the course of 9 months or given an eternity, so I’ll go ahead and showcase my confusion. Kindness doesn’t confuse me – I’ve been showered with kindness all my life and everywhere I’ve been. What confuses me is the substances it mixes with; I imagine prejudice, hierarchy, and violence to be oils and instead they are watercolors. In a different culture or on a different continent, only the palette of the puddles changes, and some color combinations are shocking.

“All terrorists are Muslims”.

I live with a family who is rarely stationed according to that definition : two sons, two wives, and three (grand)children happen to be visiting die Stadt where the lady progenitor still lives, and their biannual-ish visits happen to coincide for the first time in years. City : Hyderabad. Progenitor : The woman who leisurely rents a room or two where her children lived when they were children, before they peeled off to Maharashtra and London. I live in room two now. Room one has got another paying guest, a woman who tosses herself into freelance moderation work and immoderate dance troupe class and volunteerings while her daughter finishes high school. She’s like me, but an adult. We are both also part-of-the-family, but she has lived here for 3 years and so I think she has greater claim to the title. Then there is the jovial old family friend who shares business handling, daily habits, and survival of spouse with my leisurely landlady.

There are servants. They perform duties and male/female outside/inside quiet-mannerisms servant-roles. One of the sweet-girls has an angelic burbling baby, who performs its own little part by making annoyance of employer disappear through some power of its burble but that power, I imagine, is finite. I can’t even form a coherent confusion about this oily subject. I can’t even have a conversation with the males/females conducting these dutiful performances about any subject; I don’t speak the languages I need.

What things are not confusing? 1, I need to learn Telugu. 2, Snoopy. Snoopy is charming, and he has fleas.



1 Comment

Filed under Hyderabad, India

One response to “Prickling

  1. Violence as watercolor! That’s a thesis or a Great American Novel if I ever heard one. Can’t wait to read it!

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