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August 9, 2005

Saying No, In Hindi

Today was a fresh start. I really didn't enjoy being taken around Varanasi yesterday by three boys trying to take me to their silk shop. I realised last night that I had paid them 300 rupees for "helping" me for 3 hours, and then paid 100 rupees for my dinner.

So I learned how to say na he, which is no. I would say namaste, which is hello, to people and then if they wanted to "help me" or take me to a rickshaw, I would say na he and walk away. I had a great day. A lot of people were amazed, incredulously saying "you speak hindi?" I would not say anything else, so they assumed that I did.

I also paid 8 rupees for a 15 minute rickshaw ride. A couple of different bicycle rickshaw drivers would not take me for 7 rupees, on the third try the guy said he would take me to Assi Ghat for 8 rupees. When we got there, I gave him 13 rupees and he accepted it like I was being generous. I just calmly told him that I wanted the 5 rupees change and he reluctantly gave it to me. Only a day ago, I was taking a ride like that and being asked for 100 rupees.

I am going to spend money on things that go in my body and things that my body goes in, not for being irritated by people.


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