The Battered Suitcase October 2008

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The Battered Suitcase features short stories, poetry, narrative non-fiction, and artwork from up-and-coming authors and artists. Arts and Literary Journal The Battered Suitcase features intelligent and imaginative prose, poetry and art that explores the human experience.

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January Featured Poet: The Battered Suitcase was a periodical of new literary fiction short stories, poetry, lyrics, and artwork. Unlike more academic publications, The Battered Suitcase also integrated work from the indie music world, publishing lyrics from independent music artists like Moist Bamboo and Adam Franklin-Williams of Toy Horses , singer songwriter Adam Ficek of Babyshambles , and Paul Jarvis of Slab!

Interviews with alternative music performers explored the literary roots of their work, with in-depth features with ground-breaking artists like Amanda Palmer and Kieran Leonard. Known for its devilish inclusion of humorous fiction, The Battered Suitcase also featured thematic issues based on seasons, holidays, or sub-genres. Its Halloween issue, published October , is still popular with lovers of dark fiction and horror, with delightfully disturbing images from artists Sarah Hutchinson Burke and Suzzan Blac, Kindle Edition , pages.

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Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I catch a plane to Calcutta. It will be a whole new experience there. I have been so thankful to be able to stay with Jon and Laura here in Delhi- thank you guys for being so hospitable and for letting me stay in your home for such a long time! It has been so much fun to catch up with you, Laura- I will miss seeing you every day!!! I went to see the Taj Mahal! How can you be in India for 2 months and not see it, right? So I took a train to Agra about 3 hours away and spent the day there, checking out the Taj Mahal and another monument called Red Fort.

It somehow felt very authentic, if that makes sense at all. It was loud and crowded, and I loved it. Then I got to Agra and went to see the Taj. You can even go inside. I had people come up to me at least every 5 minutes and ask if they could take pictures with me.

At one point, I had four grown men in a row have pictures taken with me, shaking my hand like I was a politician or something.

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In those pictures, it was all I could do not to start laughing. Then, the professional photographer at the Taj Mahal started posing people in pictures with me, with the Taj in the background. When I realized that he was the actual photographer and that he had a line of people waiting for pictures with me, I said absolutely not and went on my way. It hit a point when enough was enough, and I had to just keep waving people away. I felt kind of bad, but good gosh! A person can only take so much. So I want to fill you in on all this stuff while I still have the chance! People, often children, come up to me at shopping centers, train stations, and at intersections, gesturing to their mouths and then stretching out their hands, communicating that they need money to eat.

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Sometimes a little boy will beat on a drum while a little girl does cartwheels. Sometimes a mother holding a limp baby in her arms will come over and gesture to the baby, asking for money.

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It was pretty funny, but it was clean and had a great view of the river, so I made it work! Describe your issue Have a question not already answered in the links at left or on our main FAQ page? Known for its devilish inclusion of humorous fiction, The Battered Suitcase also featured thematic issues based on seasons, holidays, or sub-genres. One thing is for sure- for someone like myself who finds great joy in the peculiarities of life, this country is surely a win. Readers who like this genre will likely love it. Our driver was frantically trying to yank the door open and get in, but just before he did, we slammed into the front of another taxi that was parked. Visit our Help Pages.

I had a few experiences my first week in India that will remain burned in my memory forever. The first day I was here, I was wandering around an area called Connaught Place, completely overstimulated and overwhelmed. I saw a tiny little woman, who clearly looked older than her age, sit down on the sidewalk, holding the smallest baby I have ever seen.

It could not have been more than 5 pounds. Usually the people begging here have been fairly aggressive- coming up to me, grabbing my arm, following me- but this woman just sat there, staring at the ground, saying nothing. She let the cup sitting on the sidewalk in front of her do the talking. A few days later, I was walking through a shopping center called Basant Lok. On my way out of the shopping center, I noticed a man sitting on the dirt floor on a mat.

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He also was probably in his early twenties, but he was dressed in scraps of dirty cloth, and he was alone. When he saw me, he started to frantically drag himself by his arms toward me through the dirt to ask for money, his legs dragging uselessly behind him on the ground. The contrast between him and the other kids who barely seemed to notice he was there made it even more piercing.

My friend Laura introduced me to Salaam Baalak Trust, an organization based in Delhi that works with street children. They work with two kinds of children: They provide outreach, family reconciliation when appropriate, education, counseling, and when necessary, shelter for the kids. We started the walk by visiting a poverty community that has been built up around the railroad tracks. Many of the people who live here are railroad employees. Addiction is also a problem with the kids in this community- I saw one child who could not have been more than 10 years old, who obviously was under the influence of some kind of drugs.

This was my tour guide, Shekhar- he ran away from his home in rural India when he was 12 and came to Delhi. He lived in the train station and various other places for three years, doing random odd jobs like rag picking. He came to Salaam Baalak Trust when he was 15, and he lived in their shelter home until he was Now he has an apartment in Delhi, is reconciled to his family, and is working as a tour guide for SBT. He wants to become an actor. He was excellent, and I really enjoyed hearing his story and his perspective on the lives of the poor in Delhi. The boys were having an art class when we got there.

I was amazed by this organization and the work that they are doing.

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I am very, very thankful to have had the opportunity to see their work firsthand for a day- one of the days of this trip that I have enjoyed most and will never forget. This is posted on the back of most commercial vehicles in India. Last week I took a short trip up to Rishikesh, about 4 hours north of Delhi by train.

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I left Wednesday morning around 6am ugh and arrived there shortly after After some ridiculous hassle and a little bit of pleading I found a guest house to stay in. Just a faucet sticking out of the wall that ran down onto the floor. It was pretty funny, but it was clean and had a great view of the river, so I made it work! And they were mean.

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I was in all seriousness advised not to make eye contact with them, as it would most likely not end well for me. There were times when they were so close that I could have reached out and touched them…but I figured that if eye contact was not advised, surely physical contact would have been a death wish. I barely had to zoom in to get the picture of this guy!

The first day I was in Rishikesh, I went white water rafting on the Ganges. The Ganges is considered a very holy river, so by the end of the day, I was thoroughly cleansed. Here is a picture of me jumping off of a rock into the river. First of all, the rock was way higher than it looks. I am usually afraid of heights, so I want everyone to know that it was super high, and I was very brave. I assure you, I took a mighty leap off that rock, and the deceiving appearance of this picture surely has more to do with the photographer than with any lack of athletic prowess on my part.

There was a ceremony every night by the river, and these monks would sing and play music.

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The music was fantastic! But one of the best parts of my trip was getting to know other travelers. We would all meet up in little tiki hut restaurants, where there were pillows thrown around on the floor, and we would sit and eat and share stories from home and from traveling. I met so many interesting people- from Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Germany, California…everything from a comic book writer to a wandering monk from Arizona seriously.

Here is one of the restaurants we frequented- the manager of the restaurant is teaching us to play an Indian game called Carem. I also really enjoyed getting to know some of the Indians there- all of the places in Rishikesh were really laid back, so a lot of times the restaurant managers or the hotel and shop owners would join us in hanging out and talking.

They were so kind, and it made me sad to leave! And I rafted in the Ganges! It was a great little side trip. First of all, India is just extreme culture shock waiting to happen.

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It has its own beauty for sure, but everything is different. For better or for worse. The pace of life and the way people interact have been really overwhelming. The begging still jolts me every time. My first day of exploring left me completely exhausted and overwhelmed, and it was all I could do to make myself leave the apartment the next day. I kept making myself go out, and it has slowly but surely gotten better.

I am learning a lot about so many things, but it has not always been easy. Also, I have been surprisingly homesick. Up until a few days ago, whenever anyone would ask about my home or my family, I would start to tear up. When I landed in India, I was expecting a fun, exciting adventure, and I thought that I would fall in love with every place I went and never want to leave. It has been fun, exciting, inspiring, and certainly entertaining.

But it has also been hard, challenging, humbling, and sometimes really lonely. I can say with all honesty that I am glad to be here, but I have had my fair share of teary, overwhelmed moments when all I wanted was to go home. Two weeks has done wonders for the culture shock. I am genuinely enjoying my time here. But I am surely being challenged every bit as much as I am being entertained, and I miss all of you at home very much.

Because honestly, that thought runs through my mind fairly regularly. I knew Laura from college, and she and Jon have been married for about a year.