mosquito machines and traffic police

It’s late and there’s absolutely no reason why I should be awake. I cleaned my kitchen counter after finding numerous roaches and ants. There’s no food out, but still they come. Oh well, it is what it is. I might have a lead on another flat. I could take that super nice one, but I’m not sure I’d feel so happy about it when I’m having a harder time saving. Yes, I can afford it, but what if I want to travel, or have some sort of emergency; eventually (in 7 months) I’m going to want to go home, and I want to be able to afford that ticket with this money, not US money. I barely spend time at home. It needs to be a livable place, but it doesn’t need to be luxurious.
I’m also waiting for it to cool down in my flat. It’s approximately 84 degrees. There are two cool anti-mosquito instruments in my house. The first is something called All Out. It’s something you plug into the wall and it sends out an anti mosquito scent into the air. It works pretty well. It allows me to keep the door open. And, just in case that doesn’t work, I have an electronic tennis racket that is used for swatting mosquitoes. It’s horribly fun; horrible because you get a weird pleasure when you hear the pop that goes with killing a mosquito.
Today I had another first; an encounter with a police officer. As I’ve noted previously, traffic is quite ridiculous. There are lights that work during commuting hours, traffic police that stand in intersections (most of the time on their cell phones, but sometimes directing traffic), yellow blinking lights, green lights that last for just a few seconds, red lights that last for just a few seconds, and intersections that are as long as half a city block. What happened today? Well, this morning I stopped at one of those shorter red lights. I saw a yellow coming and slowed down. Little did I know that everyone behind me wanted me to keep going; and I heard the screeching of tires behind me. Therefore, when the same thing happened this afternoon (in much more traffic) I decided to go through the interesetion, thinking that I would avoid a possible mishap involving the back of my vehicle and the front of someone else’s. I was wrong. I passed through a very, very, very long intersection and slowed down (I was waiting for my friend who was on her bike behind me). In the process I was waved over by a traffic cop. She didn’t speak English, and my Marathi is less than acceptable. My friend came over to translate. What ended up happening is as follows: I could pay Rs100 as a bribe or Rs200 which would include Rs100 for running a light (even though it was yellow when I crossed the intersection) and Rs100 for blocking traffic. The second was not at all true. My friend said that she said it in order to ensure that I would take the bribe. While we’re talking to the cop a beggar comes up to the cop and asks her for money. She states that she hasn’t gotten enough money for the day and she’d give it to him later. My friend said that on average, she’ll collect eight to nine hundred Rupee a day and she’ll give the beggar maybe 2 or 3. I felt bad; bad for the beggar, bad for the cop who spends her day cheating people, bad for me and the decision I had to make, bad for my friend who had to translate. She later told me that she got her first ticket in that intersection too.

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