My last day in Bhopal. There were mangoes, there was dancing and immersive cultural experiences. And I tried “Chinese food” in India. Tastes totally different – less heavy, more clean.
I did a little bit of thinking about the Christmas problem but most of my day was spent saying goodbye to Bhopal. That, and packing.
After a great breakfast with Mrs. Mukerji and Anu (they gave me a mango and told me to eat it Indian-style; that is, they weren’t going to chop it up for me). I went to the market to buy my lunch and, in a surprise turn of events, went to the Museum School (the kids were surprised to see me!).
Two of the students at the museum school were performing in a dance recital at the Bhopal Cultural Centre. I wanted to go, and the only way that was going to happen is if I went with Shibani in the afternoon. So, I did.
There were a bunch of Bachelors of Education students working with the children that day and I didn’t want to get in their way, so I decided to go to the Tribal Museum. You know, that place I said was the most beautiful thing I had seen in a while? Yup. That one.
I walked through leisurely. The intricacy and beauty of the hand crafted huts, pottery, marriage platforms, sculptures, paintings and spike-tipped ‘spirit stools’ made me happy.
Then, it was time for the dance. Well, series of dances. The two students ended up being in one of the last dances. I saw young girls and women as old as me (“You’re still a girl”, You say) wearing costumes as elaborate as they were colourful. Some of them had bells around their ankles. I much prefer that sound to tap shoes.
I noticed that graceful hand gestures are much more common here than in any of the ‘modern’ Western dance I’ve seen. The students performed so beautifully!
After that, Shibani and I raced to the car in the rain (“It’s my first time driving at night!” she told me. I was surprised, because she seemed to be an old pro at it) to get to the Rice Bowl restaurant. It was Piyuli and Piyush (Pradeep & Shibani’s twins’) birthday, so we were celebrating.
Funnily enough, on my first day in Bhopal we had tried to go to this restaurant together, but it had been closed. It seemed a fitting way to end my time here.
After we finished the meal, I was just sitting and soaking in the conversations happening all around me and I just felt so happy. Food generally does that to me, but this was a few levels beyond normal. I felt warm, comfortable and truly grateful.
I came back to the apartment late, finalized my packing and collapsed into bed. I was too tired to be excited.
So, I guess there was no neatly packaged social innovation learning today. Actually, maybe there was. Today was a day of celebrating and enjoying. When you’re working on problems with no solutions yet, or solutions that have become problems, there might be no final “end” in sight. You have to take hold of what small victories you have and recognize them. You have to enjoy getting there, because there is no there.
When you’re working on problems with no solutions yet … you have to take hold of what small victories you have and recognize them. You have to enjoy getting there, because there is no there.
“That’s enough out of you!” you say.
Oh, all right.
Brianna Smrke, who has been working with the SiG@Waterloo simulation team, is visiting the OaSiS Social Innovations Laboratory in Bhopal, India. She is blogging about her experiences at downwithvowels, which you can also follow here at socialinnovationsimulation.com.