Saturday, January 12, 2008

REFLECTIONS OF INDIA - THE GIRL AT THE DHABA
January 12, 2007 - nearing Hyderabad

EATING AT DHABAS. During our daily rides, we would stop to eat an early-morning breakfast and noon-time lunch at dhabas, or open-air restaurants, along National Highway 7. The dhabas were operated by local folk and it was usually a family affair. The food was cooked with wood or other biofuel stoking hot plates and ceramic ovens. It was quite basic. But the food was usually tasty and surprisingly consistent. Gope, our driver, would find dhabas that had well-cooked food and, when possible, meat to eat. Most Hindus are vegetarians, but you can find plenty of dhabas that serve chicken or mutton (goat) dishes.

ENGLISH-SPEAKING FUTURE. Most of the people we encountered at the dhabas did not speak English. But occasionally a child in the family waiting to go to school or returning from school would be anxious to try out the English they were learning at school on us. This girl at a rural dhaba south of Hyderabad spoke English quite well and her parents were proud of her ability to communicate with us. I have since wondered about this girl's future and what potential it holds. I imagine her future will be far different than that of her parents. Young people who become proficient at English and computers skills find well-paying work in the international corporate centers in Bangalore and Hyderabad. We were told that a young person can earn more in one year than their parents will have made in a lifetime.

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