外文标题：My China Dairy………Living In Gaogang Part 1
I shifted to Gaogang in the middle of October. The days had become quite short. It would get dark by the time I returned home. Moving around in China for a foreigner is not easy.99.9% of the people can’t understand English or any other language and those who can, you can’t understand them when they speak to you. Hahaha- They are loveable people and now I have many Chinese friends and fans. I am not really making fun of them. It’s a lot more difficult for them to learn to speak English than it is for us.
Even though English has been our proud mother tongue since centuries yet Goraas make fun of us even now.One can learn any language but the accent and the nuances of it one get’s in the breast feed. So to a foreigner the foreign language always remains foreign even after he becomes proficient in it.
Chinese don’t need to rely on a foreign language for racing ahead of the world. There own language is complete, so complete that they can excel in all fields of life without needing to know English or German or French. There leaders proudly speak Chinese no matter where they are and to whom they speak to.
For that matter they don’t need to import figure heads, they have faith in their own ability and pride in their nationality. They know little about the world outside China- for them China is the world and it is becoming increasingly true each day.
I had spoken to the Site Manager before shifting and he had seen some apartments for me. I checked in a hotel named Lidu. The shipyard bus picked me up from the nearby bus stop at 0730 Hrs. next morning.
Another Indian named Manoj, who was working for another project had seen one apartment in his residential block. It was a newly constructed one and I agreed to take it. Next day after coming back from the shipyard, I decided to shift into it. In China, during the marriage season all hotels are booked on all evenings. The couples accompanied by the bridesmaids and best friends wait in the lobby of the hotel to welcome the guests. A beautiful girl dressed in topless bridal gown ( yes for marriage they wear topless gown and before and after that they wear ‘bottomless’ dresses or the dresses that barely cover the bottoms and all things around)awaited the guests while I passed by her many times for bringing my belongings.I could have hired help if I could tell anyone what I wanted but even though gifted with the abiltiy to speak I was as handicapped as a mute.
Every time I passed by her I drank a sip of her beauty and marveled at her courage to stand the chill which to me was sharp. I wanted to tell her how charming she was but I couldn’t.Words fail me often at such time but this time my words would have been meaningless to her.She seemed to me an ice maiden incarnate. When it comes to flaunting the wear or the ware, the young girls become ruthless even to their own selves.In North India in winter when the temperature hovers around freezing point and the marriage season is in full swings, you can see the girls flaunting their expensive Lehnga Cholees wearing conspicuous ‘budding’ courage. It goes to prove that when girls are cold they can dare to get very cold.
Manoj was there to help me, so I had little difficulty or the inkling of coming across one. Next day in the morning we walked together to the bus stop.
【三泰虎注：纱丽，Lehnga Choli，和Salwar Kameez（旁蔗普服）是印度女装最典型的三个大类别】
Manoj often came back from the shipyard late in the evening. I got down where from I had boarded or there about. The yard’s driver didn’t know where I lived and nor did I.
In the evening things looked different. As you must have noticed from the photographs I keep posting, there are hardly any people loitering on the roads in China and six O’clock is the dinner time in China. Between seven and eight or nine you can find many people strolling after dinner. It is very customary in China to dance in the open at dusk. You can find people dancing or doing endearing calisthenics or folk dance to the accompaniment of music.
I started walking down an unfamiliar road. There was not a soul there. I walked to the gate of a garden but I couldn’t find the apartment complex. I walked back and entered a locality but it looked very unfamiliar. A person stood at the complex gate talking to the watchman. They knew that I was lost as I had passed by them many times. They tried to talk to me, but it was useless. We couldn’t make a conversation without a mutually intelligible medium.
My son had shifted from Perth to Sydney that day and his computer had been damaged by Quantas during transportation. He called me up as he wanted to talk to me about damage claims. I told him that I would get in touch with him on Skype after reaching home but I wasn’t sure when would I reach because I didn’t know where I was and where I lived.
You may think that I am trying to exaggerate but it’s true. Until at least for six months I couldn’t remember my address and after that all I could tell was the name of the colony “ HongXiang Yujing”. I tried telling that many times for hiring a taxi and found it useless as the cabbies still could never understand me.
You think you can get home by showing a chit with your address written in English on it? Then you don’t know China. You are wrong even if you think you can tell where you want to go to a taxi driver or ask directions from someone and get home.Chinese are literally deaf to our pronunciation. The only way to reach home is by committing the route map to memory.When you get bold enough, you can sit next to the driver to guide him by indicating and mumbling ‘ooon’ ‘ooon’ and shaking your head which is useless anyway because their head shake for ‘Yes’ is same as what we do for saying‘No’.
After walking up and down for over an hour and being haunted by the prospect of spending a cold night out in the open or in still colder police lockup, I finally got Manoj’s number through. He asked me where I was? the most obvious question anyone would ask, but that indeed was my problem. I was on earth for sure and in China too but where in China, I couldn’t say. He told me to walk on a road until, I came across a building I could describe. Luckily at the end of the road was a branch of “Bank Of China” and it had it’s name written in English too which is as rare as clothes default or Wardrobe malfunctioning of a model on the ramp. I called Manoj and he came and picked me up. Until Saturday, I couldn’t see around and memorize the location.
The problem with the housing societies is that all apartments look similar. After many days I learnt that my apartment was near the main entrance and in the morning Manoj and I walked out of the rear gate of the colony. There was a small shortcut from the front gate leading to our apartments. Manoj took it whenever we came back together but I couldn’t find this short cut for almost two weeks.
On first Sunday around noon, I thought of venturing out like a timid child. I had to go to the only shop, that sold small items of daily use. It was run from a garage by a woman. The shop was closed. I walked up to it but got confused while walking back. There were many blocks in the colony and one bloke out there searching for his own house. I had no one to ask. Manoj had gone to India. There was no one around.At last I saw a teenage girl. I tried hard to make her understand but failed. Then she called her friend, who understood some English. She could understand ‘Six” and help me locate my apartment.
You may think that I could have shown her a palm and a finger. Yes, I showed that to as many as I could find there but none understood, because an open hand and a finger doesn’t mean anything to a Chinese or God alone knows what it means to them but it is definitely not six. To a Chinese six is gestured by middle three fingers closed and a thumb and the little finger opened out. Did you know that? Nor did I.
How you can indicate one to ten by using one hand only. Have you ever thought how difficult it will be for a dumb and deaf person who has only one hand to indicate from six to ten using hand gestures, if he is not a “Y?gè zh??ngguó rén” ( Chinese man)? And you will be surprised to know that what I have written here when spoken sounds like “Yiga chungwa qwa ryen.”
A long stretch of a road separated our colony and a beautiful garden that had dancing, musical fountains. The colony shared a common wall with a Kinder garden. Every day in the morning as I walked to the bus stop for catching my bus, I would see parents or grandparents bringing their children mostly on mopeds and scooters. Very few children were brought to the school in cars. One set of twins wearing exactly similar set of clothes walked to the school accompanied by their grandfather. I never saw any children coming in a school bus or auto rickshaws.
Though the government has started giving some concession in one child policy but still most of the Chinese families have one child. Most of them say that it is difficult for them to afford more than one. You don’t get any grants and subsidies for the second child and you have to pay heavily to the government for getting the permission to have a second child.
So the Chinese take lot of care of their kids. They huddle them in layers of coats, very often those of the adults. You can see the children standing on the scooter platforms, hugging their mothers and huddled between their legs, on the chairs or small canopied seats on their scooters and bicycles.
All apartments in a block in Chinese colonies, as I saw had assigned stores/garages with attached bathroom at the Ground Floor. The owners of the flats make them as kitchen cum day rooms and rent them out. In a convenient kind of arrangements the parents/grand parents of the little children hire these apartments for day use. The grandparents come in the morning and make the breakfast. By then the parents come with the kid and deposit it with his grandparents. They have the breakfast together and then the child is left to the care of the grandparents who take him to nursery and bring him back. He plays under their supervision all day. When the parents of the child come back from work, they all have their dinner together and go to their separate apartments.
During the day, the grandparents do some work, like shelling beans, nuts , corn or of drying up the harvested trusses of crop or just play cards. For ferrying bails of crop and for all their loads they keep their own cycle rickshaws or auto rickshaws which they ply too for earning extra bucks. They fetch grain from far off fields and spread that on the roads for drying up. They don’t sit on guard but I have seen in China no one touches it even when the care taker is nowhere to be seen. And surprisingly, there come no birds even to pick because they are trapped and eaten and probably the birds know of their fate if caught.The weather forecast is very accurate. It ought to be because the Chinese grow three four crops between February and October. During the harvesting season small harvesters which can be folded up and packed on canters appear on the roads in thousands as do white butterflies in March/April. Even though there is no dearth of manpower in China, yet in every field automatic machines are used because labour is expensive….More some other time
Thanks for sharing all the wonderful details about life in China.
I enjoyed reading all the fascinating aspects of life there and also the snaps put up by you.
I have never been to china,and your blogs give me an insight about this nation which has made everyone sit up and notice it because of the giant strides it has made
More than that I enjoy reading the humane aspects which you put up in your blogs
Cheers. How come you are back in China- I thought you had shifted back to India for good
Some how in the new Rivr we seem to have got cut off- lets interact through our blogs, that will be nice
Thanks Vijay- It’s a great encouragement always to get a comment from you. I am sorry, I can’t figure out yet why I can’t post more pictures. I have lots of them to support the text. I write what I see and feel about the country and the place irrespective of what others say. I cam back to China in July and will be here at least until Jan 2013. Yes you are right the changes taking place in Sulekha have disturbed the rhythm for us all. Besides we are all busy. Recently I have been extremely occupied.
P K Geetha
Thank you so much for your post…says a lot about China, and its people. I hope you have a wonderful time in that country and can really decipher for us whether they really – as the media here would like to tell us – whether they really hate us and see us as competition. The people that is. Governments are the same everywhere…cheers! Or as they say in chinese (thanks to karate kid the movie) shey shey!!! (hope i got that right!)
Thanks Geetha- I don’t know if ever I have had the pleasure of your comment before or not. It’s the most beautiful country that I have seen so far and I have seen many. Forget about what the governments do and say, the Chinese are very good people. Sincere, hard working,respectful,unostentatious.
Excellent—- very nicely you have described your ordeals in China. I know it is very difficult to learn Chinese language—— years ago, I had passed Chinese preliminary exam from School of Foreign languages—— I can only speak two sentences now—— NIN HOW MA ? —– CHHING NIN KEI WO HAI? —– of course China was called CHUNG QUO and BEI JING as PEI PHING—– A city in the North. I have forgotten all of other characters I had learnt. I could write in Cantonese ?
Good photos and good piece—- keep enlightening us about China. I suspect something unusual might happen very soon —– involvement of Chinese big wigs in corruption might spell disaster in the coming year.
我现在只会说两句中文：NIN HOW MA（你好吗），CHHING NIN KEI WO HAI（？？？）
中国叫做“CHUNG QUO”，北京是一座北方城市，叫做“PEI PHING”，其他都忘光了。
Dear Navneet ji
Your splendid post gives us great insight in to the life style of Chinese people.
Really Chinese are hard working and pay lot of attention towards children giving their filial love.
So, grandparents contribute a lot in attending domestic chores
I have not gone to China but I learnt a lot from your highly educative blogs.
Thanks for this wonderful post
Raghav Ji- I am much inspired and impressed after seeing the progress in China and meeting the Chinese and I want the people to get rid of the misconceptions they have about this beautiful country and her beautiful people.
the issues that you write about are so fascinating,the topless brides maids, the deafness to our pronunciation,the care of the young..all very new..
A fascinating tale of china and their people and their habits.So more than one child is expensive eh !
i had heard about chinese long ago, thatg they eat anything that moves, that u wont find a bird in the sky, that they kill the elders, for they dont want burdens, tht they are given food in lieu of work etc.
This was in the seventies i heard all this, god knows how far it was true, but what i see noiw,