[Carmen Delzell lives in Mexico, travels to India, and does occasional audio essays for us. Here's the first of what we hope will be a series of posts & pix she's calling the Bag Lady's Guide to What's Left of the Planet. This one's from India…]
Today I took my regular rickshaw to Mother Theresa’s house to see if there was anything I could do to help or just see the poorest of the poor. I was expecting to be horrified by all the suffering but it wasn’t really as bad as I had expected. When I say it wasn’t as bad I mean it wasn’t as bad as the miserable beggars I see everyday on the streets of Delhi and Jaipur. At least at Mother Theresa the people I sat with were clean, comfortable and most of all smiling.
Years ago when I was at Mother Theresa in Calcutta a traveler girl told me that the ladies loved to be touched and hugged and patted. So I did that and I sang to them and I started to dance my version of Bollywood style movements waving my arms and undulating my hips. They were delighted… all of them old ladies or very brain damaged young women.
I took photos of them too and showed them what they looked like on my tiny digital camera screen. I’m not sure what they saw. I can barely see without my dollar store cheaters. But everyone looked politely and an eighty year old lady in a yellow sari and loads of plastic bangles told the nurse in charge that she was still so beautiful.
Of course they spoke in Hindi and I rattled on in English. I sang Jesus Loves Me aand Happy Birthday and Hari Krishna and Mary Had a Little Lamb.
The day before I had been to a place called Gem Palace where a family from Dubai was buying Diamonds for their daughter’s wedding. The sales girl whispered to me that they were buying the biggest diamond she had ever seen. I dared not ask the price but I know who really pays.
Carmen and street kinds in India: