Tuesday, November 18, 2008


or, Sunday Bloody Sunday
or There's so much drama in the Mamour-G, Its hard bein' Mag, M-A-Double G
(Chris and Uncle Dan, that was just for you)
or, Whiteys move in and there goes the neighborhood
According to our driver's local sensationalist rag, there was an ancient Chinese curse jeapordizing everyone's happiness this past Sunday, and our little corner of Mamourgang was not spared. (For the linguistically persnickety, the last 4 letters of our neighborhood are pronounced "gahhhng" with a soft g at the end.)
The day started happily enough with a game of cricket in the street. Chris and the kids were whooping it up with the usual suspects, unaware of the turmoil that lay ahead. The boys were happily playing when the driver from the (awful, noise-making, dog-sic-ing) temple across the street backed out and parked his car right in the middle of the field of play. One of the older kids then leaned on it and the driver freaked out and yanked the kid around by the ear. Many many neighbors witnessed the ear pulling and charged out to reprimand the driver. Then someone alerted the kid's father who stormed in to defend his son. There was yelling, slapping, and then the father took off his shoe and beat the driver with it. Yes folks, an actual shoe-beating happened right outside of my house. Much chagrined the driver retreated, but apparently vowed to seek his revenge later.
After all that excitement we decided we needed a break. We visited a temple with a huge marble bas relief map of all of the Indian sub-continent and returned a few hours later. Shortly there after all of the former English Class kids were delivered, unannounced and uninvited, to my doorstep. I turned them around and took them all out to the street to play. (Should I have seen trouble on the horizon? If only I read trashy Hindi rags!) The sun set, the mosquitoes swarmed and I brought my 2 in for malaria meds and bug spray. While we were inside all the kids scattered leaving only Gun-Gun (5, REALLY high strung, and petrified of dogs). Following logic only comprehensible to her, she decided she should climb our gate, open it herself and come into the yard, where the ferocious German Shepard that terrifies her was lose, instead of going to her own house, or one of her grandparents' houses. (Obvious, huh?) The dog chased her all the way up the stairs and tackled her on our landing. Chris rushed out and snatched her up. She was understanably shaken but didn't seem hurt - no torn clothes or visible blood. We calmed her down, checked her out a bit and then I took her home, where the real fireworks began. I had just started explaining the episode to Nisha when she began screaming (at me?) in Hindi and her husband jumped up and burst into his parents' house, hollering at the top of his lungs in Hindi too. Nisha stripped Gun-Gun down and discovered a spot I hadn't seen where the skin was broken - I'll let you use your imagination for the results of that happy occurance. After a while the screaming subsided and Nisha explained to me that they were both now unemployed (see my last post for a fuller understanding of what that means), that her in-laws had been praying for Gun-Gun's demise, and that they were nearly broke. I felt horrible. But what to do? We offered to pay for Gun-Gun's medical bills, but were refused... As Nisha and Gun-Gun calmed down Manoj only seemed to build up steam and was last seen screaming his head off while speeding away on his motorcycle to the peditrician's.
But that's not all! Later that night Nisha came back to our house (why? we don't know) . She rattled the gate (Indian Doorbell) and it wasn't opened quickly enough for her, she opened it herself. Nisha is as terrified of dogs as Gun-Gun is (maybe more), and the dog was lose, barking at her from the other side of the gate, but she opened it anyhow. Predictably, the dog jumped up and tried to scare her away. The dog succeeded and Nisha ran screaming across the street. The dog followed, but soon gave up and came home. Nisha swears never to set foot in our house again and has rallied the other parents to ban their children from coming over. But she says she doesn't blame us - just "that ferocious dog" and Uncle. Uncle is in Delhi for a week so it remains to be seen if there will be further repurcussions. I take my share of the responsibility for leaving the kids outside, but really, why on earth would anyone open the gate to the yard where an aggressive dog lives, when you're scared of dogs? Ack.
Icing on the cake: The Shoe Beating was on the front page of our driver's newspaper Monday morning.


Susannah said...


Susannah said...

This is GrampaG--still using Sus's id. This was quite a story--somehow reminded me of Russian Premier Nikita Kruschev banging his shoe on a table.

Sounds like the dog's bark is bigger than his bite. I wonder if as he's gotten used to you, he might get accustomed to those who come to see you.

Maggie, I love your reports. Keep them coming.

Hmmh, about 6 weeks until visitors from Greensboro

Grampa G

Susannah said...

just to clarify, it actually was I who said "WHOA." Must do something about GG trying to compromise my identity...

dan said...

Would it work to put up a, 'Beware of Dog' sign on your gate?

And maybe a, 'beware of ear-pullers and shoe-beaters' on your street?

Susannah said...

GrampaG again,

As I re-read this and the previous, I thought that a central issue is the frustration of not having work, despite having invested in education. I hope this is short-term, but as long as it lasts, it will be frustrating and probably will influence the emotional well-being of all involved.

This is happening here to--un-and under-employment, and you can see how it hurts people, particularly those who have little hope of a change in their circumstance.

This will be a challenge for developed and developing economies. How to help people who want work when there is not work for all who want work.

GrampaG (BTW, Caitlin, the bathtub in the previous post does not look big enough for you, let alone Susannah when she visits!

Valerie said...

Maggie! CRAZINESS!!!
You are totally surrounded by circumstances that here in the US we would do anything to extricate ourselves (not to mention our children) from. How are you doing now? How are the kids handling losing (at least for the moment) their new found friends? Have any of your neighbors returned to their senses yet? Nisha sounded like such a nice woman in your first few posts. It is possible she will remember that you are hardly responsible for any of this? I wish I was there to offer more...
I am reading all the time, but Google doesn't like me to post (no idea why). I written some lenthy responses only to have my password or username invalidated even after signing up time after time.