Goa, India

I walked in and around Anjuna with my ipod, listening to songs on shuffle. The first song I remember hearing was “Take it easy” by Mika. This is a very poppy song that debuted last summer and was played non stop in Parisian stores and restaurants. I was walking toward the beach, three guys passed my up, I guess I was walking slowly. Once in front of me, I watched one guy walking in particular because he was walking to the beat I was hearing. He wore sandals jeans and a button up pink and white striped shirt. He looked so cool. Although I was distracted wile listening to this song because of the memories attached to it, if fact the only reason I bought that song was to remember my roommate Amy or Hammy as she was known to the enfants francaise. Looking down I just missed a big pile of cow dung, how lucky. The next song came on which wasn’t really a song but a language track called “pronunciasion et transcripsion”, I listened to it and lamented over all the words I had forgotten. I’ve never been great at french but I was better a year ago. I became sad at the prospect my deteriorating memory has promised me of the future. I wasn’t really in the environment I was cautiously navigating through it and around the dirty ground. Some Modest Mouse song came on, not very familiar with it but I remember a line, I miss you when you here…or something. I identified with it, I felt I was missing something. I had just passed three dogs lying on the two foot area of red dirt along the road. If it weren’t for rabies I’d have petall of them, but you can never tell, so best not to. I became very nervous when it was time to cross the street. People honk, they don’t break. Then I came to a group of vendors passed by most but could hear them yelling. Chanting monks came on to my ipod and I could just about see the ocean. It was a wonderful and engulfing feeling of calm. Almost through to the end a woman appeared on my right. She started talking even though I was clearly trying to listen to monks. I took one ear piece out and she introduced herself and asked for my name. I told her, she asked my age…the music still in my left ear was drowning out now, it changed but I can’t remember what to. I said 20, she said she was 22 and had 3 children already. She looked so much older then I initially thought 22 should look. I told her I had to continue on with an assignment and she said look at my store first and then I’ll let you relax. I needed permission, I couldn’t hear any more music. I couldn’t get away from her. I was stuck far outside of my cocoon. She immediately put ankle bracelets on me and asked what else I liked, said she’d make me a special price. I felt threatened as a crowd formed around me and the woman kept repeating you have such white skin. I felt so guilty. I should just buy what ever she sticks in my arms so I can leave and she can eat. This went on for 15 minutes and three other women had said promise to look at my store. I said I don’t have any money which was true, I had 50 rupees, they were asking for thousands for simple fake jewelry and sarongs. 1000 rupees is only about 25 USD but, I didn’t come to India to buy things. Two women said you remember me, not money. They said you pay later- I trust people, not money. Walking away feeling horrible with two anklets I filled my ears with other voices. Very anxious at this point the music made me even more unsettled because I was too distracted to be safe in this environment. American Analogue Set played industrialized strange sounds for this landscape, but not unfamiliar to it. Lots of music is techno beats with Bollywood voice overlays. Very cool, especially when driving 70mi/hr on a small crowded road with traffic frequently in the wrong lane. The younger looking woman with the 22 year OLD woman run up behind and continue to try and sell things to me. I Finally give in an accept a 200 rupee metal bracelet. Then Bright Eyes comes on and I just want to leave. Walk faster to the slowish song. I’ve decided that people really can’t cocoon themselves in India by way of personal stereo. It is achievable by appearing sick or poor, no one will bother you then. Music kept playing but that’s all I could think.

Engaged I walked around and passed more vendors. I got the same reactions from the people who were working to support their whole family, enthusiastic and ready to talk prices. Many people just say Helo and smile to get you attention. Sometimes to sell things, sometimes kids just like to say helo and wave with wide grins and open eyes. On this walk a dog followed me for about 20 minutes, tan with white patches and half it’s ear gone. I finally gave in and bought a small plastic bowl and water which he drank happily. While “cocooned” I noticed dogs but kept my distance and felt more apprehensive I think because I was lacking in a vital sense. I couldn’t tell what thier barks sounded like if they were barking at all. I feel more confident when I can hear the world around me especially when it’s foreign to me. Also I have a clearer mind, not alot as many memories, more just enjoying the experience in real time. I hear the challenging language and try to replicate words and sounds I hear in my head and get lost mid way through. I am able to get into small conversations with strangers. Begged from by young mothers who have finger tips all touching as they bring hand to mouth and look at their child. One comes and two seconds later and they keep coming…just have to keep walking at some point. Why isn’t birth contol distrubuted freely in India and everywhere else, I wish it would fall from the sky into the hands of young women whose early pregnancy is passed down by generations. It’s predicted that India’s population will surpass China’s in about 20 years time. I think that most everyone is liable to being spoken to, barked at, hit or engaged at any moment in India. In my opinion to try to cocoon yourself here is ludicrous.