Britt and I have both witnessed and observed such a wide variety of culture in India that, sometimes, the heart gets dizzy and outweighs the brain. This is our last day in Chennai, and we are headed for London. Maggie, one of my sick, I mean six sisters, would be loving to see the Royal Wedding. I won’t. She will also appreciate, I think, and as a practicing and well respected nurse, the difference between witnessing and observing.
Witnessing and observing are wildly different concepts. We witness children playing in dirt and feel sorry for them. We observe the look beyond their eyes and know they are, for some unfathomable reason, happy.
Sadly,here, the adult males don’t take too handsomely to white intruders. During this stay, I guess I always had children to protect me. This morning, I was saying my last goodbyes, or high fives to my cricket friends, when they started yelling, “go go go!” I had my wallet in my pocket and was taking one last picture of my friends when several men approached me with disdain in their eyes. Fortunately, I am much better at running than cricket.
You witness people participating in sports, their work, everyday life, but you observe their behavior while looking into their eyes. It’s the first time I’ve been scared in India. Unfortunately, the adult males, even with smiles and howdy doo’s on their faces don’t care for the white man. I observed it from the very beginning, and tried to sway their attitude, but it’s hard to do that to a billion people.
Many of the adult males didn’t appreciate my laughter and smiles. I could understand that and even reserved it when walking the streets. However, I couldn’t contain it when playing with those children.
All they could do was witness me. If they looked beyond my eyes, they would stop and say, “okay, this is a mere idiot just having fun in a country he knows nothing about. Let’s not steal from him or kill him.”
I’m not dead, just still learning,