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Wrap Up Before Leaving Calcutta

Kolkata Travel Blog

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street barber

It didn’t take long before realizing that the routine at Prem Dan for short term volunteers--those staying less than a week or two--was basic and unvarying. Those who stayed longer were ‘promoted’ to duties such as changing patient dressings. I’ve seen some of the wounds and sores; trust me, that’s no promotion. There was a group of us, including Christine and me, a guy who graduated from Ohio State a year and a half ago and has been traveling ever since, and one of the Pepperdine law school guys who was really laughing about our days here. The Pepperdine guy, let’s call him Dan, since I forgot his name, claimed to have shaved 4 guys in an hour, without a new blade no less. I found this impossible to believe and became a little defensive. So I questioned the quality and smoothness of his jobs and threatened to track down his patients and feel their faces but I think word spread among the inmates about how I hacked up my guy.

Calcutta train station. On the way to Bodh Gaya
It may be my imagination but I noticed some of them pointing at me and whispering as I walked by. If I looked at them and moved the back of my hand up and down my face they’d quickly move their hands back and forth in a ‘no, no, no!!’ kind of way. Fine, whatever. It’s not like I’m on commission.

John, the OSU guy, and I were on massage detail at the same time in the courtyard where about 75 of the men sit and wait for us. We put on our latex gloves, grabbed the baby lotion and started looking for someone who would no doubt take advantage of our good will. We were warned that some of the men have no qualms to try and coax you into giving them a happy ending as you move up their legs. I decided then and there that my boundaries would be mid-thigh and no more, no matter how much of their lunchtime rice they promised me.

Since John had the only bottle of lotion I had to get up periodically from my guy to walk over and get another quarter sized drop in my palm. As I looked at John’s guy my jaw dropped. He’d slathered so much lotion on this guy’s legs that it looked like he had a half inch thick layer of butter on them. I’ve seen Thanksgiving turkeys that were basted less. This guy really likes his lotion, eh? I said. I got a puzzled look from John and he asked, why, how much do you use? I told him that I actually use the same amount if not more because I heard that Indian men really like smooth skin. We all joked about how we’d never loose John’s guy because he’d leave a slug-like trail of lotion behind him. We could probably track him for miles if he ever got lost.

John, the Pepperdine guy with the $250k in school loans, and I talked quite a bit and he mentioned that he has a good friend from college who lives in Cleveland and is in finance.

He said he’d pass along my email address. The next night on the train to Bodh Gaya I got an email from his friend asking me to give him a call or drop an email when I get back. He’s got an investment firm of some sorts on Chagrin Blvd about 2 miles from my house. Amazing. But then again, maybe not.

jbm12940 says:
BTW - your house is a lot like I visualize Calcutta...no food or toilet paper.
Posted on: Mar 23, 2009
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street barber
street barber
Calcutta train station.  On the wa…
Calcutta train station. On the w…
waiting and having some chai
waiting and having some chai
On board
On board
Christine and I were on one side o…
Christine and I were on one side …
Kolkata
photo by: sky69