One of the recommended inoculations for travel to India is tetanus. Seeing the children in Pratapura running along rusted roof tops to fly their kites and play IN THEIR BARE FEET brought the possible necessity of this shot to the fore. I know this picture will evoke cringing among many a parent, but I’m pretty sure it was a parent that helped this little girl onto the roof to fly her kite.
Nearly everyone, almost everywhere is barefoot at some point in India. Certainly the people in small villages go without shoes for the most part. In the cities, the workers in stores leave their shoes out front. Entering some of the temples we were required to remove our shoes. For the skittish westerner “temple socks” were available for just a few rupees. Caught between the Indian way and the fear-of-illness-suffering-and-death so common to the rest of us, many chose the shot and the socks.
For me, one of the true gifts of India was to realize that just because I believe something to be true or perceive something as wrong or right, does not necessarily make it so. That child should be wearing shoes. Should not be on the roof. And certainly shouldn’t be running on the roof – flying a kite. Yet she is. The list of judgments can go on and on. They are simply that, judgments and opinions.
Things are different in India. Worry seems foreign in these little villages. The future doesn’t exist. They get up each day, do the tasks in front of them. Have conversations. Laugh. Pray. Eat. Some with their shoes on, some off. And tomorrow they will do the same. There is no hurry. There is only now.