Arrived in Chennai, India a couple of days ago. I am just barely finding my feet on this ground, saying to the world, “Here I am in this spot right here. See my footprint in the muddy street?” Navigating is the making of the scene, the story. Any play needs a setting.
Today, the setting is the Pondy Bazaar, A labyrinth of commodities lining the loud streets. Narrow inlets off the dirt and din of the streets with silk and cotton cloth folded and layered from floor to ceiling, draped to reflect light in the wind that blows through the spawning channels. Mahogany cabinets with ancient single paned glass and rusted locks with boney keys. Wet brown eyes stare at my blonde hair, my smile, my sweaty awkwardness as I make a futile attempt to fit in. The eyes stare from colorful clothed bodies. A touch of ochre and ash thoughtfully pressed against the forehead. “yes, mum, hello” The vendors smile big grins with broken teeth. I learned how to say friend, in Tamil, which is the language spoken here in this region of Tamil Nadu, South India. My one word fumbles out of my mouth and the ladies giggle and express approval while leaning over their vegetable cart arranging tomatoes and coconuts. A man whose legs were distorted and turned inwards walks on his hands down the garbage covered street with the mangy but high spirited street dogs. The scent of jasmine flowers mingles with excrement and waste. I see many injured bodies, but not many injured souls.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010