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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Click, click, click, click, click, click….

This is the sound of our kids trying to turn on the lights. For the first few days in Bangalore, they became rather nocturnal, waking up HUNGRY at 1am. They would wander around this large house, fumbling in the dark with the hundreds of light-switches, trying to find one that actually works. Then they would want to play, explore, run out on the roof, and slam doors. Karen and I would lie in bed “shushing” them from afar, trying to ‘protect’ the neighbors from our noisy kids…. The apartment blocks that surround our house are just 5-10 feet apart. Eventually we’d all get up and start our day at 2am with tea, bananas, and other snacks. We’ve been trying to do “morning math” and other school subjects like journaling, spelling & vocab practice, taking advantage of the early riser effect. I’m sure it won’t last!

Even though it’s dark and relatively quiet at this pre-dawn hour, there is a LOT happening in our neighborhood. An occasional rickshaw zooms by, and several exotic sounding species of bird hoot, cackle, and whoop outside in the trees. Karen thinks one is a kind of cuckoo called an ‘Asian Koel.’ We can hear the distant roar of trains chugging along, as the main rail line is just a few blocks away. There is also the neighbor’s alarm clock going off at 4:30am. It sounds like it’s just inches away from my pillow. This same alarm went off at the same time every morning 3 years back…. I guess it makes us feel close to our neighbors, waking together each morning!

I also hear the sound of rushing splashing water, and recall my feelings of jealousy from 3 years ago… Our municipal water supply comes into a “sump tank” at ground level, and then must be pumped up onto the roof-top tank. Three years ago, we had lots of water problems, and rarely received city water. We had to purchase water privately from a company that would deliver 5,000 liters at a time from a huge tanker truck. If you’ve ever spent time in India, you might understand how much effort, office-visiting, line-standing, form-filling, and phone-calling these deliveries required. So lying awake at night, hearing the neighbor’s sump just filling right up, was always a tough sound to hear. But this morning, it doesn’t bother me, as our roof-top tank is already filled to the brim! Col. Murthy or Rama must have dealt with this prior to our arrival, so we’ve got plenty of running water. Thank you thank you!!! A full tank is a few weeks supply… (that was one of the first things I did upon arrival at 3am our first day… climbing on the roof with a headlamp, lifting the steel cover, rejoicing at the fullness!)

So Malleswaram mornings are always interesting, and pretty peaceful! Soon the street will erupt with blazing horns, cows and donkeys, hundreds of students heading for classes, trucks belching smoke, lovely ladies in saris swishing by, and auto-rickshaws galore. We love rising early, before the chaos, and should be thankful for jet-lag for making it so easy!

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