safety in Pune ;)

It was safety week at work. On Friday we had a fire drill and in the morning before that we had a “mandatory” fire safety workshop. I reluctantly went and after about 15 minutes, I left. They spent a long time introducing various people (as is very customary here) and then when the guy who was teaching safety lessons spent a little over 5 minutes saying that you have to know where are all the exits. Sometimes I get kind of frustrated when people speak English horribly incorrect. I wonder why in big groups people don’t speak Hindi. Odds were, in that crowd, more people spoke Hindi more proficiently than English. I left after he said, “for what all those exist are.” There was too much to do. Although I heard, and from the 10 minutes I was there, he was quite funny. I got another little taste of his humor when we did a fire drill. Every floor had a person who wore a bright yellow and orange baseball cap who was responsible for getting everyone out and lining up in the driveway. We had to line up in a single file by floor. The gates were locked! The whole thing was kind of a joke (to me, and I’m sorry if I offended anyone at work or in the building by laughing too much and getting a little upset about the counterproductiveness of getting us out of supposedly burning buildings only to line us up next to the building and lock us in the compound). We were required to stand outside and listen to his amusing and much more informative what to dos in terms of safety. It made me happy when he kept reinforcing wearing helmets and, to the shock of most people in the crowd, he told them they’re walking on the wrong side of the road. Everyone walks and runs in the same direction as the cars. I do it too most of the time. He was hysterical, using great jokes, I used it as time to test my Hindi – I didn’t get most of it, but with words here and there I could piece together some stuff.
During a class trip to a park with a nearby pool, I discovered I could go swimming. The guy at the pool was a character! Promptly after work on Friday I went to a sports store to get a suit. I must say, I look like a 20s swimmer. The suit reminds me of the uni I used to wear on the crew team. It’s a one piece that goes all the way down mid thigh. It’s a nice maroon and yellow. I was so excited to buy it. Yesterday after work, Manoj and I ventured to the pool. We can pay by day for Rs30 and swim as long as we want. It was amazing. I’m not a great swimmer; I know how to swim, but by no means a good swimmer. The same man who gave the kids a tour on Thursday asked me to help him coach kids with him, to help out. Manoj says it’s because I’m white, I kind of agree. But it didn’t take away from the amusement factor. For safety purposes they had to see if we could swim. We didn’t even know when the “exam” was over. We shared the pool with about 15 kids taking a lesson, stopping to go to the side when they were taking off.
Unsafe thing of the day – I drove 40km. It wasn’t that unsafe really. I drive well, at least I’m told I do a decent job. I’m getting used to it, but don’t exactly enjoy it. At the safety talk we learned that Pune is the most dangerous city in terms of traffic. Going on a long journey in the car wasn’t exactly the thing I wanted to do after hearing it, but I also enjoyed the challenge. We had a fun day with work so I drove the folks on this side of town to the other end of the city. It was stressful and I feel very accomplished after driving back. Everyone was safe and sound; there was a lot of traffic on the way there and it was really hot both there and back, but everything went fine. The car is going back on Wednesday so I feel like that was a nice last hoo-ra.

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