When I first stepped foot into my flat here in Mumbai a few months ago, I was surprised to find steel bars encasing all the windows. At first I thought, “Ok, is this really necessary? How many people are trying to break into teacher’s apartments?” I was so tired that the thought dissipated as quickly as it appeared.
Anyway, after some time I became accustom to the caged-in feeling and was, truthfully, thankful for the sense of security it granted me. A few weeks after my move, I purchased some plants to sit on my “balcony.” When they were delivered, the adorable little plant guy was forced navigate the fortress of security in order to place the plants on the veranda. It was then that I realized that the bars moved with dazzling ease.
“Hmm…” I thought.
“Those are shockingly easy to move, perhaps a lock on these bars would be a good idea.”
Upon dismissal of the plant guy, I proceeded to click the Masterlock into place and forget about it. Until today.
After returning home from a lovely evening of foot massages, Turkish wine, and Chinese stir fry with my good friend Andrew,I returned home and to my horror, I quickly discovered that I had safely locked the keys inside the house this morning. Super.
Fancying myself a bit of a climber I thought that scaling the side of the building to open the window and slip through the steel bars seemed like a viable option. So, I kicked off my shoes, climbed onto the balcony, and gracefully hopped onto the “veranda” outside my window. It wasn’t until l after I caught my thumb between the bars and began to shriek and cry that I remembered I’d put a lock on them.
“Drat!” I said.
“This is inconvenient. And is my thumb supposed to be that color so quickly?” I pondered, calmly.
I quickly, with catlike precision, hurled myself back onto the large balcony and reviewed my options:
1. Sleep out here. No biggie.
2. Don’t sleep out here. Too many bugs. Too dusty.
3. Go to Waciuma’s house.
4. Don’t go to Waciuma’s house, he has a cat you are allergic to.
5. Go to Sol’s house.
6. Don’t go to Sol’s house because he isn’t home and you will have to spend the night on the balcony.
7. Go to Daya.
I went to Daya. And thank Ganesh that I did, because she gave me ice, told me it was ok to cry, tried to feed me cookies, looked at our students’ blogs, called Melwin and the entire crew of princes at ASB, and arranged for someone to come and let me in.
Here is what I learned from this experience:
1. Always, no matter what, put locks on your bars if you live on the first floor because even if it is just you who tries to break in, at least you know you are safe.
2. Always, without hesitation, go to Daya. Because Daya, in Sanskrit, means “to sympathize with; stands for compassion, sympathy.” And that pretty much sums it up.
On this Thanksgiving eve eve eve I am thankful for Daya and the kind people at ASB who took pity on me this evening. I don’t know what I would do without you.