Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bangalore Baby

I walk down the street holding Rebekah's hand. We are on our way to the tiny park to swing. We pass garbage rotting in the sun, lazy dogs lounging in the street, and cattle grazing on tree leaves. Nineteen-month-old Rebekah simply says, "cow," and continues on her merry way. These are normal sights for my Bangalore grandbaby.

Once on the playground, I notice a small Hindu temple. The door is open and Indians line up for worship. In the foyer, three large bells dangle from ropes suspended from the ceiling. A worshipper rings the bell before entering the next room. Sometimes, he rings the bell on the way out, too.

On the way back home, an old man squatting in the dirt looks up, smiles and waves at Rebekah. She returns the gesture. Another neighbor dressed in a red saree comes out to greet her. She lives in a tattered, old tent at the end of the street, but you'd never know how destitute she is by the expression on her face. She is all smiles and hellos when she sees my red-headed, beaming chutki ("little one" in Hindi).

My Bangalore baby is a hit with the Indians who light up when they see her. And they are a hit with Rebekah, who feels perfectly comfortable with her Indian friends.

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