Tuesday, December 23, 2008

a funeral

The freezing morning, which abacus has made us well aquainted with, had transitioned seemlessly  into a stifling heat by the time we heard the distant bell nearing. We first thought it was a procession of monks, though as the parade came closer into view, we could see the first group of people walking behind the police officer, were plain clothed in ragged t-shirts. The first person was  carrying a small clay pot of fire, followed by a man carrying a pole, to which was tied a large paper doll, that danced playfully with the breeze. The next two men carried a bell suspended from a wooden beam between them, which a third man hit rhythmically with a hammer, in time to the monotonous chimes of the music, which radiated from the procession. Following the shaven headed monks in saffron robes, was a woman holding the painting of a young girl, whose body followed in the heartbreakingly small coffin, sat high on top of a small truck, followed by the remaining mourners, though there were no tears amongst them. It reminded me of a similar procession we saw in India. They all stared at us, even the men holding the body wrapped in a shroud above their heads, the funeral seemed to disappear in our presence. But this was Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, it's not like they hadn't seen westerners before, but maybe death was more common.

The night before had been no better than the others. Abacus stirred and squawked every hour or half hour, to sleep drink a few mls of milk, until deeply unconscious again. We had tried to have her sleep in our bed, but it had made no difference, except that her mosquito bites had multiplied by morning, until one arm was red with a heartless cluster of bumps, and her head and legs too had fresh bites. We sreached on line for feeding habits of babys her age and found that she was eating too smaller portions, way to frequently, so we plotted a regime change, and decided to stretch her fast time to four hours. However, abacus had some things to say about that and she had a convincing argument, which had me cede at two and three quarter hours. The next one stretched to three hours and the next three and a half, with her intake increasing each time also. It's probably been the most strict we've been on her, but what ever it takes to get her to sleep through the night, because we're going to age very quickly otherwise. We gave her three meals of cereal too, which is really tasty.

We bought some calamine lotion so that now her face and arms are polka dotted with white blotches. The woman at the store for some reason had to touch her bites, which made abacus cry, to which the lady responded with the familiar "clap to the crying baby" technique, which everyone in Thailand and Burma knows, to which Abacus responds by accelerating her crying, which usually attracts a crowd of people all clapping and laughing and being in her face, which usually accelerates her crying to a throaty scream. Already, at 6 months, the cultural divide is forged. Just as it is with dogs.

Later in the night we sought out the waffle lady, who has a stand amongst the street vendors, they looked delicious and the first bite was, but, was that a raisin? and was that, um, a corn kernel??  It was ok because we went to a bakery to get bread and they sold the best looking donuts there for so cheap and they were so good, the likes of which you could not find in New Zealand. 

3 comments:

atmosphrericks said...

that paragraph merging the two funeral processions confused me.

i'd like to think that a painting of me will be hoist. just not sure about the walking down the street.
I'll dance at your funeral if you dance at mine.

[nice dogs reference]

good luck with your regime change. i fear that many have failed before.

Anonymous said...

merry first christmas abacus, hope you're gonna sleep through the night soon so your parents can finally get some much deserved sleep. ZEN has been waking often at night lately too and i just tonight noticed another tooth cutting through.... perhaps for christmas you will get your two front teeth?.....

abacus' parents said...

i don't know if its too late to respond to your comment kaysey, or if this will be lost in blog history, but thanks for your comment, what's your address ?