Let me write about a few things, things I’ve been thinking about. For the past three weeks I’ve had chikungunya. I’ve had four blood tests to finally identify this rather painful viral thing brought on by a mosquito bite. For me it started early the morning of September 11, when I tried to make my way to my bathroom, about five steps from my bed. I could hardly drag my aching lower body into the bathroom. My head was spinning and I had a fever. After being tested three times for dengue and malaria and more than two weeks of foot, right thumb and left wrist pain, I tested positive for chikungunya. At least I know what to call it and for now, my thinking of having to deal with arthritis for the rest of my left has been alleviated.
The Tyagi family whom I live with has been so very helpful, feeding me at times, taking me for my blood tests and to my doctor. I think, like most Indians, they just feet it is what they do and they don’t easily acknowledge my “thank you;s”. But I don’t really know what I would have done without them.
The worst part of painful feet is the inability to exercise which has meant no basketball. I can’t imagine my world without the sport, i.e. coaching and playing, but for now it is enough to know that I will eventually recover and hopefully play with President Obama when he comes for a visit in November. (I’ll definitely have to clean my flat prior to that).
I’ve been dragging myself into work, but after I sit for a spell, my putting any weight on my feet to walk is quite painful. So I lean on something for a minute and walk through the office. I’m sure that my colleagues think that I’m a bit crazy and should just stay at home, but…..
I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about the Commonwealth Games, that bright, shining moment for India to take its rightful, leadership place in the world. Unfortunately, this just won’t happen, based on so many things, e.g. corruption, ineptitude on the part of officials, waiting until quite a long time to actually build the stadiums, the Delhi rain, the unwillingness of anyone to take responsibility for the issues that have arisen. One can read about the filthy conditions at the Games Village, the collapse of an overpass leading to one of the stadiums, the number of volunteer that picked up their 12,000 rupees games package and then decided they didn’t really want to volunteer.
Yes, I’m going to a semi-finals boxing match with Binesh as I want to see what this is all about. VSO had indicated that they don’t want us anywhere near the games and I understand this based on potential terrorist attacks. But as Binesh has indicated, they (terrorists) like boxing so there is no problem. Anyway soon to become part of my India experience.
I am saddened though by the Commonwealth Games. Delhi has been cleaned up as there are police and soldiers, with real serious looking guns, everywhere. There are new plants, flowers and the area near Parliament and through to India Gate, do, in fact look quite lovely. The ultimate issue though is once all of the glitter is gone, will anything be maintained?
This is a major issue in India. People’s memories are very short and things tend to fall apart. (We may never know how much was actually spent on the Games, but an article in the Times of India on August 9 states that 28,054 Crore was spent. But this is from August and the final tally will most likely be much higher. How much of this went into the pockets of people connected with the Games, we will probably never know this). The police and soldiers will disappear and go back to their regular assignments, the plants will die, the stadiums may or may not be kept up. Are there funds for maintenance, given what I’ve seen, most likely not. What then is left?
The poverty that is inescapable, people just wanting a few rupees to feed their families. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of hope, but in reality what percentage of the population is this? Poverty runs rampant in India, there is no doubt about this in my mind from what I’ve experienced. But what is the actual percentage of the population that struggles to have enough food? We may soon find out from the 2011 census.
Finally, my little pal Golu, who will be four soon has lost her favorite friend and playmate as Momo has gone to England to be with her parents. This means that Golu has been spending a lot of time in my flat. The usual thing is that I get home from work, she follows me upstairs, asks for bread and/or biscuits with peanut butter and jelly. Golu sits on the counter next to the toaster as we get the bread ready for her. We then proceed to either do paint on the computer or watch Mr. Bean animated cartoons.
Before this I had never watched Mr. Bean. What a horrible “role model” for children to see. He is selfish, uncaring and very unconscious of his actions. Comedy, possibly, but he is only out for his own fulfillment, talking to his teddy bear and treating it as if it was alive.
Where does this leave me? Sitting on the couch listening to and downloading music waiting for my feet to stop hurting so that I can play and coach basketball. I’m looking forward to that day.