Monday, August 6, 2007

Air Pollution

This is going to be a different entry from the others.

Bangalore is polluted - very polluted. The air is barely breathable. I'm not exagerrating. Imagine driving up a mountain road and you get stuck behind a diesel truck and you can't escape the fumes. It's like that every day here everywhere you go - most days it's worse - much worse. You see the gray smoke and blue exhaust and when you're stopped at traffic light with the windows rolled up you wonder if you're going to succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning and just pass out. I would put all my money on the fact that less that 50% of the motor vehicles in Bangalore would pass a California Emission test. In fact, you know when California has those "spare the air" days - and they tell the elderly and children to stay inside because it's a bit smoggy out? That would be an unbelievably clear day in Bangalore.

The reason I'm writing about this is that I've succumbed to the health hazards of the air again. I've tried to deny that it affects me - but here I am again - choked up, coughing and feeling like I smoked two packs of Marlboro's before lunch (and I used to smoke cigarettes prior to 1987 so I know what that feels like).

A human respiratory tract can only take so much and I think mine's telling me in it's own special way..."HOMEY DON'T LIKE BREATHING THIS AIR!"

When I leave the hotel room - or my office - and go outside, I have to wrap a cloth or shirt around my nose and mouth in a make-shift surgical mask so I don't gag on the fumes. My lungs can't handle the tightness that comes from breathing the air and my throat has been coughed raw by trying to expel the diesel waste products from my chest. I have no energy and it makes me mad and scared at the same time. It makes me mad because I can't believe how fricken STUPID an entire culture would be to the health hazards of this crap! And it makes me scared because I feel like I'm going to choke to death here. It's horrible.

Mind you all I've been coming back and forth here for the better part of two years. But little by little I'm seeing that this has a cummulative effect that can't be denied. I don't think its psycho-somatic on my part. Nor do I think I'm a hypocondriac. I've always prided myself on being a pretty darn healthy guy. I think if I could bottle this air up and bring it back to Califorina, you would barely be able to shine a light though it.

So - what does one do?

Get still
Let it go
Practice Equanimity
Practice Inversions (like Sarvangasana) to get the junk out of my lungs
Stay inside as much as possible
Slow down
Get rest -

- and try to make it 20 more days so I can get home on the 27th of August and smell that clean, fresh, vibrant, sea-charged air of the San Francisco Bay.

You guys don't know how lucky we are to live where we do!

Namaste -