In India There Is No Place To Buy Toilet Paper

In India There Is No Place To Buy Toilet Paper

Monday, December 15, 2003 Travelogue:  Excerpts from past impressions and experiences in India (see the first travelogue segment we posted)

Tamil Nadu, Southern India

Most Indian women decorate their face, be it w/ yellow facial dye or a multitude of multi-colored dots.  We’ve visited enough temples to recognize that the process of getting dotted is much like taking communion in the Methodist church, where everyone is invited.  A shirtless Brahmin w/ exposed chest hair and three wide white lines painted on his forehead holds a tray supporting a flaming oil lamp of sorts.  The Hindus stand in line, and when it is their turn run their hands lightly through the flame, take a bit of colored dust (rice powder) from the Brahmin’s hand into their own and place a mark on the middle of their forehead, on the bridge of their nose, and also on their neck/throat.

Many Indian men wear sarongs – white skirts wrapped around their waist and tied in front.  As the heat fluctuates throughout the day, so does the length of their skirt.  Oftentimes men can be seen raising the bottom so the skirt hangs to just above their knees and tying it at their waist for a second time.

In Pondicherry (where, by the way, we narrowly avoided a cyclone) we had our fist genuine Ascetic sighting.  A man walking the streets was pulling a cart with his back skin and balancing an altar of sorts on one shoulder.  The cart contained an orange triangle and had two wheels, and it was attached to the man’s back by two chains which were piercing the skin of his lower back.  He was really “hooked on” to that cart!  His followers were stopping the passersby to collect money to aid in their collective survival.

I love it here but thank god for the quiet sanctity of our hotel room.

I hope you are all well.