Calcutta is so excruciatingly dangerous as to be.. in a most SADISTIC WAY.. beautiful..
All here.. Indians and myself.. are literally walking suspended by a slender thread of Grace..
I was just out in the dark of Calcutta’s night.. walking about three or four miles in her night time dark.. from my hotel (The Circular Hotel across from the Mother House) down to Park Street and all the way down Park Street from A.J.C.Bose Road to Chowringhee.. I stopped in the Oxford Bookstore.. a real treasure on Park Street and the Post Office on Park Street and bought some stamps and some post cards.. I will write post cards while sitting with Mrs Brinnand in her room..
When I got to the end of Park Street and to Chowringhee I then walked back past Sudder Street (FAMOUS FOR THE BACKPACKERS AND MOTHER’S VOLUNTEERS) and up into the YMCA and back downstairs (77 steps up and 77 steps down.. I memorized them staying there for years) and up the road into the New or Eastern Market.. I stopped into the Pharmacy I have been going to for nineteen (19) years and bought some Electral and Listerine Mouth Wash and all of the employees there starting with ME.. were thrilled to see each other.. especially Laxmi.. then I walked back to Sudder Street and the long (years ago .. in my prime.. walking as fast and as intensely as I could walk.. it was a solid forced twenty five minute walk which would place it at about two miles).. walk though the back alleyways to the Mother House and to my hotel.. through the Muslim district .. past the Mosque .. past the meat shops and stores.. and back to A.J.C. Bose Road..
Then I slipped into the Internet Cafe and am dashing off these words.. in reality it is Tuesay Evening September the 13th but I am titling and dating this as if it was already Wednesday.. September 14th..
Here is the deal on the danger I write about.. all the surfaces one walk upon are irregular and dangerous.. if NOT WATCHFUL AND IF NOT CAREFUL you can step into a pit.. unmarked.. and literally get swallowed up.. or you can step into a deep hole and break a shin bone or knee or foot or wrench your back.. or you can trip and fall.. you would not believe how irregular the streets and the sidewalks are.. bricks sticking up waiting to trip you.. the irregularity is stunning..
Then there are the cars in the alleyways and the motorcycles and bicycles in the alleyways..
Years ago I developed the following fantasy.. buy a cane.. then when one of these motorcyclists comes roaring through a marked cross walk running the red light when we pedestrians have the green walk signal.. reach out and ‘garote’ him with a swipe of my cane across his Adams Apple.. as he lay on the ground do my Marine thing.. a swift kick to the base of the spine for openers..
I will not write out the ‘a’ word.. nor the ‘f’ word nor the ‘m f’ words.. but all need to be used as adjectives to describe these young motorcyclists here in Calcutta.. and pretty much across India.. they also roar the wrong way down streets.. they threaten lives and they do kill people dead.. OH YEAH.. SOMETIMES THEY GET IT FROM TRUCKS AND FROM BUSSES.. OH YEAH ! I hear a cheer from the people of the streets..
I have been hit and knocked flying by bicyclists who came up behind me going the wrong way on a one way street..
The cars are not clean either.. they will do a violent ‘U’ turn in the middle of a block and come back at you going the wrong way.. at night they seem to love to drive WITHOUT THEIR HEAD LIGHTS ON..
This horrible five street intersection by the Mother House is particularly bad because of the bicycles and motorcycles.. of course not to mention the cars and the trucks and the busses..
My anger is a good sign.. it means that I am ‘coming up to speed’ with my adaptation to Calcutta.. if these drivers do NOT piss you off.. your head is in the sand someplace..
The fact the busses like to keep rolling is another fun thing.. you have to carefully aim at the hand railings and grab on then fling yourself onto the bus..
This is truly a .. ‘guts ball’ .. game..
What is this Electral I mentioned.. it is a pharmacy purchased medical quality package of Rehydration Salts.. you add one package to a full litre of water and you drink it.. it makes Gatorade look like a SAD JOKE.. it makes Gatorade look like a soft drink.. Electral is the ABSOLUTE NO NONSENSE MEDICAL REHYDRATION SAVE YOUR LIFE PRODUCT..
It contains.. Sodium.. Potassium.. Chloride.. Citrate.. Dextrose..
IF the little people here could afford Electral.. they say the infant death rate would fall by 50 to 70 percent.. one package of Electral COSTS A WHOPPING.. HOLD ON NOW.. one package of Electral costs a WHOPPING 33 cents.. Rs 15 and there are 45 Rupees in one U.S. Dollar.. THAT IS HOW POOR THE POOR ARE HERE.. the infants die of dehydration.. AND WATER PURE WATER WILL NOT RE-HYDRATE YOU IF YOU ARE SICK..
The best thing I can do when experiencing diarrhoea (the Indian spelling) is to drink and to drink a lot of Electral treated bottled water.. I drink a litre and POW.. out comes some more of the bad bugs in my intestines.. because my suffering body suddenly has the liquid it can ABSORB and use to flush itself out..
Jack Nicholson can be crude.. his famous saying just held true for me.. “NEVER pass intestinal gas carelessly”.. he said .. “NEVER TRUST A F…!”.. I did this morning and had a sudden major accident.. it takes about an hour to clean up.. wash underwear and outerwear and just to re-group.. oh yes.. I am still paying my dues here big time..
EACH AND EVERYONE OF US HERE BEMOAN THE SAME THING.. AND WE NEVER GET AN ANSWER.. THE QUESTION WE ALL ASK IS THIS: what did I do.. what did I eat.. to get this diarrhoea.. we NEVER figure it out..
WORST THING.. DROP YOUR TOOTHBRUSH ONTO THE FLOOR OF A TOILET ON AN INDIAN TRAIN.. THE FLOORS ARE LITERALLY WET WITH ‘STUFF’.. I HATE DOING THAT.. HATE IT..
OH LORD GOD OF ABRAHAM THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT NEW YORK JEW ONE ALAN RIMBERG WHO.. in November and December of 1990.. TOOK ME UNDER HIS ENORMOUS WINGS AND TAUGHT ME SO MUCH ABOUT INDIA.. Oh Alan Rimberg where ever you are.. I salute you for your life..
Alan got run over on his motorcycle in early 1991 and.. after hospital surgery.. had to be med-evacted to the states at a cost of well over ten thousand U.S. dollars because he had to have three seats and a nurse with him..
Alan Rimberg taught me about Electral.. about the streets.. and stressed for me to WEAR BLACK CLOTHING and rawhide leather gloves to protect my hands and TO INTIMIDATE people.. I have never heard from Alan again..and I did write him and tried to stay in touch..
I am going to publish this.. and add to it if I am able tomorrow.. Wednesday the 14th of September.. I did NOT get to see Mrs Brinnand today.. Monsoon Rains caused me to eat an early lunch.. and the meal coupled with the general fatigue I am feeling coupled with a two hour nap took me into the black of Calcutta’s night.. and the above long walk..LORD GOD IT IS HOT AND LORD GOD IT IS ELBOW TO ELBOW CROWDED IN THIS CRAMPED AND SMALL INTERNET CAFE..
BOBBA.. WHAT IN THE EVERLOVING HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?..
GOT IT.. KITTY BRINNAND.. GOOD SHOW GOD..
YESTERDAY HAS BECOME TODAY.. WEDNESDAY.. THE 14th of September..
Few IF ANY of you have ever ridden a troop ship across the Pacific.. it is a once-in-a-lifetime thing you should all do.. especially as a young enlisted United States Marine.. the bunks are seven (7) tiers high and when the Marine on the top of the tier vomits.. it runs down and everyone vomits.. a United States Marine is a BIG GREEN AMPHIBIOUS MONSTER THAT THRIVES ON SHIT..
NOW YOU KNOW WHY I LOVE INDIA.. anyway.. what you have missed is the joy of ‘salt water’ batheing.. which you have in India.. the local water is laden with salt and minerals and is horrible.. so when I bathe.. as I did last night.. I then RINSE MYSELF WITH BOTTLED WATER AND THAT DOES THE TRICK..
I also washed my India Shirt and Nylon Warm Up Pants and my bottom underwear.. so I was really upset when I had to re-do it again this morning.. (Read above)..
LORD GOD OF ABRAHAM THANK YOU FOR MY ROOM.. I have a corner room.. with lots of windows.. FANTASTIC AIR CONDITIONING.. the Air Conditioner sits up by the ceiling and cold air drops down only to be propeled by the huge ceiling fan.. I MUST SLEEP UNDER TWO (2) heavy blankets OR sleep in the nude with it off and the fan off.. I alternate.. some nights with A.C. and some without A.C.
I HAVE SUCCESSFULLY BEATEN BACK THE RISK OF A SEVERE MANIC EPISODE.. for the (I think) third night in a row I have slept over eight (8) hours and before that two (2) or three (3) nights in New Delhi of over six (6) hours..
I rate my manic as about a ranking level of one to less than a level two.. WHITE MANIA.. love it..
I will close with this..
OH MY BOBBSEYS.. I have several that are absolutely vital to me.. my eyeglasses.. and I lost them.. KNOWING the risk I immediately got my spare pair and the ‘lost’ ones appeared deep in my back pack.. my rawhide gloves.. I lost them.. I immediately got my back up pair and the ‘lost’ pair appeared inside of my CPAP Breathing Machine’s carrying case.. I don’t even dare to think of losing my Passport or wallet..
ALL IN ALL I AM IN GOOD FORM.. the beginning of wisdom is to TRULY REALIZE ONE’S REALITY.. AND I AM IN A REALLY DANGEROUS CITY.. i DO HAVE PRODUCTS TO DEAL WITH THE DIARRHOEA.. but I gotta tell you.. the symphony keeps playing in my mind.. OH BOBBA CAPS WHAT IN THE EVERLOVING HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE..
THE ANSWER REMAINS CRYSTAL CLEAR.. TO ATTEMPT TO ASSIST MRS KITTY BRINNAND AND.. TO STAY ALIVE.. CAP
I have got to run.. over and out with LOVE.. Cap..
- FATHER ABELLO .. SEP 13/11
- RICKSHA MAN / CALCUTTA .. SEP 15/11