Thursday, October 06, 2005

everything's relative...

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danger seems to be a relative concept in this country. no one wears seat belts and everyone tailgates (even on motorcylces and other 2-wheelers). entire 5 person families pile onto moped without helmets, the women riding side-saddle with their bright saris and dupatas fluttering behind them in the wind while they keep hold of their tiny children with one arm across their laps.
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the other day, i marveled at a little girl, no older than 2 or 3, sitting languidly on her mother's thigh, expressionless as her father darted madly around enormous trucks and hard breaking cars. by the age of 5, these children must be completely desensitized. the dangers of traffic here make that of the 405 and socal totally benign in comparison...especially after you witness a man standing on the bumper of an SUV, the inside packed with 8 or 9 other passengers, while he hangs onto the open back door as the entire contraption speeds down the insane highway.
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or similarly as a small child of 5 or 6 crosses a busy street with her parents, weaving in and out off the cars with an arm outstretched to stop traffic, emulating what she's seen her parents do a thousand times. it's truly an amazing contrast to the overprotective leanings of american parents and their absolute preoccupation with what now seems to be a ludicrous level of concern.

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