I am one of few white people in Thiruvananthapuram

I’m glad to be in the “developing” part of the planet for the first time in my life.

The heat and the humidity have got me thankful to be wearing the kind of garb I would have derided as hippie while Stateside. Just the latest fulfillment of the prediction of my favorite sage (Mel Brooks’ 2000 year old man) “We mock the thing we are to be.”

Some impressions so far:

  • the most chilled out people I have ever been around: even in the face of pelting rains and a breaking ship out in the Indian Ocean, people seemed nonplussed.
  • coverage of education and test scores in major pages of the Mumbai paper everyday.
  • standing for the national anthem before the 3 hour Bollywood movie about love in 2050
  • waiting for and never seeing a kiss in said movie
  • having a 12 year-old girl tell me that she’s learning about global warming in school. I let her know she’s ahead of our President, “He doesn’t even believe in global warming.”
  • TATA should include an oxygen tank with every Nano
  • Almost no women on the streets in Mumbai.
  • teaching a nine-year old boy about melanin after he was amazed by being able to see my veins.
  • latest upmarket trends in Mumbai: Mexican food and jogging
  • public education is practically free at all levels for everyone
  • a shipping CEO pointed out to me that India was able to skip the manufacturing / industrial stage of economic development and go right to a service economy because of English fluency. A strange silver lining to colonialism I pointed out. The most opened/uncontrolled elements of empire outgrow and outlive them (Rome/roads; England/English+education; USA/Internet)
  • the guy who tried to recruit us as extras in a Bollywood film wanted proof that we were really married to each other. He didn’t think there were any lesbians in India and had never met one. “How many people do you have in this country?” I asked. “”1 billion,” he replied “Oh you have a lot of lesbians. A whole lot. It’s a huge, untapped market.”