Sunday, July 27. There is a high alert in the city with the nearby bombings so I have canceled my plans to go to a city market. White skinned people are VERY few and far between and I have no intention of inviting danger. A new local police commissioner has banned women wearing scarfs on their heads and faces. Originally, it became a practice because of the air pollution but then became a fashion statement. Many women here in this modern city have started to drive motorcycles. The police believe the scarfs which cover much of the face post a security risk with terrorists and criminals!! It is causing quite a stir...... The bombs that have been going off have been attached to bicycles - a common site to see abandoned as there are everywhere.
I had my palm read by a woman this morning - very interesting experience. There is a lot of interest in astrology and palm reading in India on top of many superstitions. Early this morning I attended a Thread Ceremony at the hotel. It is a boy's coming of age ceremony with family and friends. It was very touching although I could not understand the language I was moved by the ritual and the touching behavior of the family members. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity as it is related to my curriculum project - the role of school assemblies in building a culture of high performance. Allegedly, the daily morning ritual of prayer and motivational assemblies at every school in India is derived from the ancient Thread Ceremony rather than a British tradition as I had assumed.
It is drizzling outside now. The monsoon has been slow in coming to West and South India. There is a city proposal to start putting water meters on non residential places to curb usage by charging for water. Adequate water is a big issue. In the rural areas and urban slums running tap water is a rarity. Even at our five star hotel we do not drink water from the tap or even brush our teeth using the tap. The rivers are so polluted. The untouchables sweep the streets each morning. People just throw paper down with no regard. There also does not seem to be enough public toilets - men have it easy with just finding a wall!! India has so many social issues to solve. In ways it shines and in other ways it is drowning!!