In Varanasi, because of the nature of the city, phones are required for us students to communicate with our Instructors, ISP mentors, home stay families, and each other, of course. These are no iPhones, or Androids, my friends. These are the kinds of phones that your 8 year old home stay brother will pause his constant Youtube streaming on his mom’s smartphone, to laugh at. These are trac phones, circa 2003, or, as we Dragons students more fondly refer to them, trap phones.
Here is a collection of the most poignant, hilarious, esoteric texts, that were most likely sent from the back of a rickshaw, or underneath our mosquito nets late at night. Our thumbs were tired after spending 5 minutes to write a three line text, but our hearts were full.
Disclaimer: some of these might not make sense to you adults. Rest assured, some of them made no sense to us either.
Second Disclaimer: do not read these texts as one continuous chain. They are curated from various times throughout our 6 weeks in Varanasi, and although most of them are from students, we threw a few locals as well.
“omg i lold hard. locked in b-room tragic. spicy soup 2 hope ur poo is gud”
“just ate some spicy rice snack. will keep u updated omm on bowel movement also unsure how 2 delete pardon the omm”
“so many ppl at my house rn feeling overwhelmed repeated same 2 hindi phrases i remember hbu”
“just was locked in the b room #jankydoorknob emerged sweaty but unscathed”
“hahahhaahha had dosa feel better”
“4got all my fams names…sheet wish u culd c my net u wud laugh”
“omg hi! i knew it was u or iz. hows ur fam? i fell in the squat toilet”
“yay! had awkward din with dad”
“home safe! sorry u got stalked.”
“roach!!!! dad got rid, scarred 4life”
“oh!! take care! Is Headand coming?” – Hayden and I’s Guru Ji.
“</3” -Nick Gredin, Where There Be Dragons, India Fall Semester 2018 Instructor
“S Ji=bad texter” (S standing for Saurabh, Ji meaning a term of endearment and respect)
“Hello this is your instructor Saurabh Ji. I am not leading a walk, but you are welcome to do one on your own. Hmmm” -This text, however misleading it may seem was sent by Nick Gredin, Where There Be Dragons, India Fall Semester 2018 Instructor, not in fact Saurabh Pandey, Where There Be Dragons, India Fall Semester 2018 Instructor.
“roach pt. 2, dying @ least ill get moksha cu @ the ghat” (Moksha=salvation from reincarnation that can only be attained if you die within the city limits of Varanasi)
“toes. potatoes yes”
“I pooped my pants”- anonymous. (I understand that most of these are anonymous. But this is just to really emphasize the level of anonymity this person requested.)
“I’m glad we walked home together that was scary n strange lmao”
“Yes Sophy that is why I wake you…no problem for the toilet…ok take care of yourself…” -My wonderful host mother, Shikha.
“i want butter!”
“getting sari w mom, wow, its happening o dear”
“i’m wasting a rupee 2 tell u that our 5 min phone call was free and there4 more effective and productive than txting”
“i stepped in sewage water twice. Happy Diwali!”
“omg mom totally unphased by toilet clogging”
“you didn’t give me reply”
“ji you are not accepting my call”
“i am going but you are not picking up my phone. you have problem”