Monday, July 20, 2009

Little Update

Showers are not common here. Our bathrooms are closet-sized little spaces, consisting of a toilet, two faucets (both Cold) protruding from the wall, and a drain on the floor. We have a set of buckets and the method is to fill the large bucket with water and use the minature bucket to scoop water from the larger to rinse and so forth.
I don't do that.
I'm small enough that I can just squat under the faucet to create a sort of makeshift shower.

I absolutely despise the way I am treated by the men here. Trivandrum is a very conservative city with its more old-fashioned paradigms left, by and large, unchallenged. This is not to say that the idea of gender superiority is practiced with brutality, but it is still present.
Some men do possess a more benevolent dispostition, addressing me in such a way that shows that they understand it's not my fault that I'm so simple, I was born a woman. Or worse, they don't bother to listen at all, and just stand there with a serene grin as they wait for me to finish speaking, the way you would with a child whose tantrum amuses you.
What I really cannot stand are the men who treat you as though you're a stray kitten. You're something interesting and cute, maybe even beautiful to watch, they can say anything they like to you because of course you wouldn't understand, and if they like, its perfectly appropriate to try to pet you, or take you home.
Tip: Aggressively attempting to pull a small woman off a dance floor to sit alone with you in a dark corner is not going to be met with a positive reaction.
And while we're on the subject...
Telling a girl that you're a mimicry artist will not impress her.

The area we reside in is recognized as a malaria-free zone. Regardless, the abundance of these little creatures is a constant source of worry among my housemates and myself. For most of us, the concern is limited to the multiple unsightly welts they plant all over our sensitive, milky skin. For me, it is a matter of dozens of little needles, with wings, buzzing in my ears, down my legs, probing the fleshy webbing between my fingers and toes. But Heaven forbid my aim should serve me, and I strike one against the wall. Watching the red, human blood smear with the sweep of my hand fosters an entirely new set of concerns.
Mainly: Whose blood is this?

For some reason, people here don't understand my name.
"What's your name?" (Always asked in the most straight-forward manner, no frills.)
"Samantha." (Said slowly, I promise.)
"Smita?"(Why not?)
Always Smita.
But my dance teacher says Smita means "smile", so I guess it's ok.

On our way to the beach the other day, I scandalized the neighborhood by wearing shorts out in public. I made sure to wear my plaid shorts so that not only would I be shocking, but also, a little funky.

No comments:

Post a Comment