The bank is very steep and I ventured out carefully (not wanting to fall headlong into shite) with my bucket and the two appropriately shaped pieces of wood I found to collect the rubbish. There was an abundance of plastic bags, toilet paper, tissue paper, tampons, ragged clothes, and various other objects I couldn’t identify all of which were mostly covered in shit. There were also piles of shit from human and animal alike – it felt like walking through a minefield , and there was no way I was going to touch any of it directly, so I felt glad of my handy bits of wood. As I stood there putting shit in my bucket in the hot sun it occurred to me that, asides from being a really fun thing to do on a Sunday morning, this is great non-duality training. I filled several buckets and things were going relatively well. I even started to get into it once I had let go of my revulsion. I dutifully emptied the buckets in the appropriate area for burning, just next to the door that was my access point from river bank to ashram.
Things took a turn when Mangla and her Mum decided to set fire to the rubbish pile whilst I was still out collecting more rubbish. This meant I was stranded in shit alley since I couldn’t get back into the ashram without flames licking at me from the narrow path on the river bank. It also meant that it was impossible to empty my final bucket into the pile. So I attempted to throw the rubbish onto the flames from farther away. This resulted in most of it blowing back all over me. My mood rapidly changed from fairly serene to flaming furious, funny how it can do that. I must get a handle on consistency. Anyway, it pissed me off that they both knew I was out there clearing the rubbish, had seen me on the bank and yet still lit the fire. Total absence of logic where basic safety and hygiene are concerned is an example of what can wind me up about India. At least, it can wind me up if it involves me. It can amuse and/or bemuse me if it doesn’t ;)
As I stood covered in shit and dust, I weighed up the options for my next course of action – a) burn my clothes b) chuck myself fully clothed into the Narmada river. Whilst option a) was tempting, I opted for option b) as I only have just under a week’s worth of clothing in my backpack. Immersion in water helped calm me down again too, which was an added bonus. Brian Eno’s “2 Forms of Anger” is playing on Winamp as I write this. Appropriate.
Nix was totally oblivious to all this. She had a bad night with hectic pain from the ear infection, so was lying down to try and get some rest. I hope the ear drop/antibiotics concoction takes effect soon. If not, we’re going to be doing another trip to Sanawad hospital before our marathon journey to Mumbai on Thursday.
I have been bitten in the middle of my forehead by some loathsome insect or other. I now have the profile of Cro-Magnon man, and a bug bindi from frontal view. The insects in India are clearly very desperate – there is hardly any flesh on my forehead at all, and I don’t think it’s particularly venous (except when I’m angry ;)). I’ve also got bites on my earlobes, and behind my ears. All these are places I have never been bitten before. First time for everything eh....
This evening we mostly watched “Before Midnight” – a romantic drama (if that genre exists) with Ethan Hawke and some French chick. I fell into a coma with boredom. I think it served to distract Nix from her ear pain for a while.