tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ten Things I'm Enjoying about Life in Orissa, India

1. That being chased, charged or nearly head-butted by Colossus the Ox, who rules the muddy lanes of our neighbourhood, is considered a rite of passage for residence and has endeared me to several of my neighbours.

2. That it is perfectly acceptable--or even advisable--to walk into an important meeting barefoot, and further that it's quite all right to take off your shoes, walk around and stretch your toes in the middle of someone's power-point presentation.

3. That in a culture where, in many circles, vegetarians are the majority, a "non-veg" person like myself endures no discrimination.

4. That almost every time I approach the neighbourhood egg shop for my regular half-dozen-bag purchase, the guys have it all ready for me before I enter and playfully call out "six eggs," to which I echo "chuh undah" for my most-used Oriya phrase.

5. That road trips come with elephant warnings.

6. That every month when the cable guy comes to collect the bill of 175 rupees ($3.90), he inquires earnestly if everything is okay with the cable while he has me sign and date three different official forms and waits for my smile of satisfaction before he leaves.

7. That stray dogs (almost) always prefer lounging on random piles of dirt to harassing humans.

8. That after more than six months I can finally ride a motorcycle through a herd of imposing water buffalo without fear of being impaled by their foot-long horns.

9. That the guy who comes into my office everyday to announce that it's time for lunch--which by all evidence is the only English word he knows--does so with an unaffected panache that befits the delicious meal I'm about to eat.

10. That everyday when I walk home from the marketplace, a half dozen 3-5 year-old neighbourhood children run straight at me, laughing, tripping over each other in order to be the one (or two) to hold my hand and walk me to my gate.

And here's one more shot of Colossus the Ox...


Isabel said...

I look forward to meeting Colussus in a couple of weeks.

Kalli said...

Thanks for this, Richard.
Miss you!