Anything Can Happen in India


Dear Ezra and Lian,

I used to take/guide/advise university students going to India and I would warn them; “Anything can happen”. When you spend enough time there, you just come to accept it as normal.

One time your Mom and I were walking down a narrow street filled with pedestrians (Pahar Ganj). Up ahead was a man giving rides on elephants. The mahout and his passenger were slowly guiding the elephant towards the alley. However, it was so full of people, he was not able to continue in that direction.

We soon had caught up to the elephant and its riders. Your mom attempted to pass to the left of the elephant. Right beside her was the wall of a store. At that exact moment, the elephant reversed direction, a “Crazy Ivan”. The distance between the elephant’s bum and the wall was about 4 feet. Your Mom’s head was in between. I was watching the elephant backing up, up, up. “Watch out Par!” It was too late and the elephant had his leg up about to step on Mommy. He was an half an elephant stride from touching the wall, then the elephant started going forward. We just kept on walking the rest of the way to our hotel like nothing had happened.

One second you could be walking along the street and suddenly almost be squished to death against a wall by an elephant. That is India. All my India and Mizoram stories only make sense if you can accept that anything can happen. I really don’t think there’s anything particularly special about me. Yet when I compare my “boring” Canadian life to my India life, it’s like I’m a magnet that attracts lightening in India. I still can’t believe that it’s actually the same guy who’s lived both those lives.

I hope my stories don’t scare you. It’s like getting on a roller coaster. Just hang on for the ride of your life. It will be fun.