Monday, June 9, 2008

I Hope They Don't Come In Threes!

It has been an interesting couple of weeks here. Aside from almost moving home (don't even get me started) we had a couple of almost, maybe, sort of (if you squint and turn your head sideways) close calls.

Close Call #1 - First we will start with the Gujjars. The Gujjars are a class of people here in India that started out as mostly farmers. They are just high enough on the social scale that they do not qualify for the Indian version of affirmative action. This makes them very angry. Last year they protested close to my neighborhood and had a few incidents of pulling people out of their cars and beating them. When they protest out in the villages people usually die, here in Delhi they just get injured. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago they were, once again, protesting near me. They cut off my suburb from Delhi, which meant that Mr. Smith had to stay home that day. Too bad, so sad! So to celebrate my lucky day I decided to go out and pick up some KFC for lunch and take Dennis The Menace with me. While we were in the restaurant they rolled the security screen down over the store front about half way and all of the employees kept checking out the window. Finally it struck me. What the heck was I doing out getting chicken when there were protests going on?

Finally my chicken arrived and I could go, cuz let's face it, after paying for it there was no way I was going to leave my chicken there. Anyhoo, three KFC employees surround me and my son and we all ducked out of the store. My driver slipped out of the car, keeping his head low, and shooed me quickly into the car saying, "Hurry, please hurry!" We all got in and locked our doors, unfortunately we had to go right through the tail end of the march to get out. Slowly we inched forward, trying to not call attention to ourselves. Never once in the 16 months that we have been here have I been in the car without several pairs of eyes being on me and my family. People just stare, every single time. But, I am telling you, not a single pair of eyes turned towards our car as we slipped through the end of the group. They all parted and just kept looking forward, not a single person even glanced sideways! All the way home I couldn't believe what a dufus I was. Going out for chicken while a protest was going on?! Really?! I apologised to our driver for my extreme stupidity and sent him home for the day, knowing we were not leaving the house again. Luckily, he also made it home safely.

Close Call #2 - Mr. Smith decided to stop by the mall on his way home from work the other day. He wanted to pick up a couple of books at our favorite bookstore. While he was inside, our driver saw two girls rush the mall entrance and shove past the purse search and "wand once over" that everyone goes through to get into the mall. A few minutes later as Scott was exiting the mall he noticed that a whole wing of the ground floor was dark, filled with smoke, had water pouring from the ceiling and was blocked off by real security, as opposed to fake mall security! Crazy!

So now, as I have barricaded myself into the Smith compound, I am looking into the legalities of forming a militia. I mean really, what could go wrong with a compound and a personal militia? That always ends well right?