“It’s Like That Only”

Mark and I had a “quasi-Indian” two-wheeler experience this morning as we left Smita’s apartment in Pondicherry with all our luggage for the trip to Chennai.  One bag on the gas tank, full of books, CDs, and Mark’s clothes; Mark’s shoulder bag over one shoulder, and his travel guitar on the other; a pack on my back, with a stuff sack of clothes on one shoulder, and my purse on the other.  Not too bad, therefore the “quasi”.  In order for it to be a true Indian experience, we would have had to add two kids or other bags bulging from every side, taking the equivalent volume of five motorcycle widths.

A couple of days ago, we saw some firsts:  an almost full-grown calf on the lap of a passenger on a two-wheeler, it’s head mournfully, but passively hung a few inches off the ground; and a girl standing on the cross bar of a bicycle (presumably too tall to sit without blocking the rider’s view), her body supported by the left arm of the man riding the bicycle.  I wonder at the skill of these riders who carry impossibly long or wide loads as well as incredibly fragile cargo (babies, eggs…) on underpowered vehicles on impassable roads.

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