Sunday, December 19, 2010

Life in Thanjavur

Working for a rural healthcare non-profit in a small town, I thought, would lend me enough action during the weekdays and enough time during the weekends in which to blog about them. In my sixth week here I can safely conclude that I was wrong about the latter. In fact, the whole weekend-weekday separation, along with work-life or professional-personal, have all turned out to be a false dualities, and not necessarily in a negative way. Spending evenings and weekends, and even living with, the same people that I see at office all week hasn't been as cloistering as I would have imagined before I got here.

Life in a small town also has thrown the predictable charms my way. The "commute" to work is a 450m walk. When I have to catch a train, I leave home a few minutes before departure time. Eating out is a hard choice between not-more-than-six-or-seven restaurants. Waiters at our regular breakfast joints bring out the coffee and the smiles, in that order, before we have settled down in our seats. Kiosk owners wave at us even if we pass by, and don't bother to come running after us if we forget to pay. Our town also affords us unlimited clean air, and access to some of the prettiest country-sides you can think of.

Yet, Thanjavur is not heaven on earth. My biggest grouse here is the honking epidemic that seems to be gripping the population. Also, it might just be my observation, but the bus-drivers here are among the most maniacal I've seen. While the low traffic volumes on the street seem like a privilege, you can't really take things for granted. As a final reminder that our town is no idyllic paradise, our office was subject to a burglary that made us poorer by a laptop, a TV and half a dozen doors.

On average, though, it's been a fair amount of fun. Details in subsequent posts.
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