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Monday, September 6, 2010

Bhopal, India - September 6, 2010

You're probably wondering why I haven't written a blog in the last couple of days. I thought about it a bunch of times. After all, we've sat in traffic for far too long (jeez, and I'm not even in Mumbai yet.). What can I tell all of you about India?  What would you like to know?  I just never felt I had a theme for a blog entry. But maybe my theme is just what India's all about.

Is the food good? Yes. Fantastic, actually. I love Indian food, and here, the spices pop. I always describe Indian food (in America, of course) as spicy, but not in the hot way. In the flavorful way. Here, it is a mixture of the perfect heat with the perfect taste.

Is it crowded? Indeed. So many people. Everywhere. There isn't a street corner that isn't populated, a road not full of mini-taxis, and a slum devoid of naked children running barefoot through waste. India is dense. And claustrophobic.

Here's what you need to know about India: Imagine you want to direct a movie, and inside your cozy studio, you need to create a scene of poverty and despair. What would you put in there? Sewage in streets? Dead frogs in your drinking water? Barefoot children walking through shit?  You can find that everywhere in Bhopal.

Ok. To India's defense, this is Bhopal.  I've spent much of the last week within a couple of miles of the Union Carbide factory. As you know, the factory still stands. Corroding. Toxic. And dangerous. Why would you live by the site? Well you wouldn't. Unless you were so poor you couldn't go anywhere else.

What's worse is that it appears no one cares? Ok. People say they care. But they let them live. And no one intervenes. Why is that?

India is all about a sense of community, and these people like that. No matter if they live in filth or wealth. Especially the filth. I can't quite wrap my head around that. How do you live in a place so dirty? Well, they don't know anything else, and for most of them, they'll never be afforded any other opportunity. But they smile. And they live through it. After all, they have no other choice.

I promise. Next blog entry, I'll tell you more about the story out here. It's about a factory. Its destruction. Its presence. And its aftermath that lingers through the streets both visibly and invisibly.

Yaron Deskalo

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