Today is Wednesday. In Vrindavan, many of the shops in the market are closed on Wednesdays. But of course, not all of them - nothing is neatly defined or organized like that. And on the 30th, there was no subzi bazaar (vegetable market) and random shops were closed, because it was the last day of the month. Nothing here opens until 10am, but 10 o'clock really means ten-ish, because that's not really a set-in-stone sort of thing either.
I've learned that when they say, "Your skirt will be ready on Thursday, ma'am" it may mean Thursday - although it can often mean Friday too - but it almost definitely won't be Thursday morning. Shops here are open until 9 or 10 at night, which is probably a necessity in a place where daytime temperatures in the summer can be as high as 120F/48C.
You can go to a shop and be an American or westerner - stand up, rifle through the shelves, and shop. Or you can sit on the floor, tell them what you're looking for, and they will pull out 30 pieces of cloth, unfold them all, and show you everything, turning the store into utter chaos while they wait on you. I learned last year that I can ask for a soda, and they'll send someone out to buy one - shopping is an event here, requiring refreshment and a comfortable seat.
All of this to say that the pace of everything here is unique. There's a sense of wandering, of flowing, through the day that is so completely and utterly different than New York. Very early mornings, before sunrise, are when things start to come alive - and early afternoon is most definitely rest-time. I'm not sure if there's a Hindi word for siesta but that's more or less what happens.
There always seems to be a pace, a mood, a rhythm to a new place. Vrindavan makes this stand out in high relief. I feel that being somewhere - truly being there - means adjusting and slowing down (or speeding up) to become part of the flow of that place. I suppose you can swim upstream, carry your old place with you - as armor, as a familiar friend - but I prefer to get lost, to lose myself in a place. I'veheard so many stories of people who can't stand India, who can't adjust to her otherness, to the world here. I love it, in ways I can't explain at all. Being here is a way for me to shed my NYness, my westerness, and to melt into a Vrindavan mood. To find myself, in a different place, at a different pace.