Sunday, December 4, 2011

back in Palolem, day 7; cell phones

Finally, the last day in Palolem. Nadine and I will leave around 4 am to catch our train to Mumbai. It wasn't quite the week I'd expected, but in a way, a lot better. Now that I'd got Goa fully out of my system, I was really excited to see something else, though.

In the afternoon, Laxmi and Gita found me again on the beach. Talking with them, they both how much they wanted cell phones. I asked them what time they finished and said I'd meet them and we could go into town to look at cell phones. They pointed out their uncles shop and said to meet them their at 4, when they had to be off the beach or pay a big fine.

Around 3:55, I found their uncle's shop and said, "Hello, are you Laxmi's uncle?"
"Yes, I'm Laxmi's uncle, but not your uncle!"

If there was a point to be made, I would have taken it, but I honestly wasn't up to anything this time, so I just laughed it off! a couple minutes later, I saw them coming up the beach and their little cousin joined us. We met her aunt at the road, who'd arranged for a rickshaw to take us into town. I'd figured they'd do like Geeta, and pick up a decent second hand phone, but nope, they both had their eyes on brand new slide phones! At first, I was a bit put off, but in their eyes just the fact that I could afford a flight to India meant I was rich. The truth was, I was just a pushover and I agreed. I kne wit meant a lot to Laxmi because her parents leaved far enough way that she couldn't see them often and was really excited to be able to call them. I could relate to that.

After, they invited me back to their homes. First, we watched TV in her aunt's and talked, then, when her brother arrived from Mumbai, we moved across to Laxmi's small place, a small, square, cement room. Gita prepared milk chai while Laxmi made chapati and something sort of like soup. I actually couldn't see through the layer of bright red oil on top, except for the sliced boiled egg floating in it. After I few years in Korea, I thought I could handle spicy food but I took one small spoonful and my mouth was in instant agony. My mouth filled with saliva, my nose began to run, and tears started running down my face. I apologized to Laxmi but I wasn't able to eat it. I did feel terrible about it but I think looking at my face they understood. I did eat the chapati she offered at least...

Laxmi was excited to call her parents, and after a few minutes she handed the phone over to me and her father said, "Tang-kyu, tang-kyu," the only English he knew, which I'd just listened to Laxmi teaching him a moment before.

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