January 8, 2010

Sensory overload

I am still so struck by the visibility of poverty and the chaotic abundance of waste everywhere. The myriad of new images and people does not cease to amaze me. I turn corners to find photographic moments of extreme destitution, and around the next one are such incredible marvels of wealth. This morning I passed a baby lying alone on the sidewalk with its hand down its crotch, scratching as it rolled over, its eyes meeting mine in curiosity and innocence. Within half a mile appeared a glistening white memorial palace through the mist of sunrise, surrounded by exquisite gardens and enormous bronze statues.

Today on my run I was lucky enough not to have to leap over people's breakfasts and dodge all the life that takes place on Kolkata's sidewalks. I found the Maidan, a park that is full of grass fields and paths weaving through them. Somehow I felt so at home as I ran by kids throwing baseballs, playing soccer, and I even came across several runners. This run, I had only to dodge the horse dung that litters the paths, and the horses that were strangely grazing everywhere. You can add both dung and shaving cream to my list of daily smells, and there were many more today that I could not identify. You can also add the sound of bicycle bells, loogie-hawking, gurgling pigeons, screaming puppies, disturbing chest coughs, violins, flutes, the "money! money!" of beggars, and the friendly "good morning" in English, or the amused Bengali comments I get when I pass locals.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - you take me back to 1984. When I got back, I had a reverse culture shock of so little sensory overload. Hope things are going well. Let me know how the project is going. I keep seeing more and more art projects that promote healing and community.