Getting ready for dancing (on the theme of the life of a girl)
I went upstairs to settle my accounts with Mrs. Mukerji and found a little package waiting for me. Inside was tea from the “tea garden” (tea plantation) that her son manages, a book of poetry by Rabindranath Tagore (an Indian Nobel Laureate) and a biography of a Polish poet (in honour of my Slavic heritage). I was touched by the thoughtful gifts. It’s hard to believe that in two days I won’t be having breakfast with her or her daughter, at least not for a very long while.
An early morning walk, a huge breakfast and some frenzied writing occupied my morning.
You keep talking about writing but you never let us see any of it!” You say. Well, kind stranger, you’re in luck. I’ve finished drafting and formatting the two ‘guides’ I wanted to write (or rather, realized I wanted to write) in the course of my time here.
Cake smearing tradition: “Explain this to me like I’m a person from a country where there isn’t X”
I woke up still full from the birthday party meal the night before. “This is my last Monday in Bhopal,” I thought. On July 25 I will be flying to Chennai, and then making my way to Pondicherry for a workshop on the Rural Education pilot projects OASiS is helping organize.
After a walk and breakfast, I launched into some more writing. I now have alllllllmost all of my internship ‘deliverables’. What I define as a deliverable is changing even as I speak, but so long as I put in a good effort for the next two days I’ll have written and shareable versions of what I came here to get. Continue reading →
I want to tell you about the swing that swings itself. For two days Pradeep had me wondering and drawing diagrams, scratching my head and making my arms move like swings. I must have been funny to watch but I couldn’t figure it out. I couldn’t figure out any way to stop the energy of the swing from going into the ground.
I finished off my last pitiful drawing and pushed it towards him. He shook his head and said “Do you want me to tell you how I did it?”
Pradeep and Shibani took me to my first Hindi movie theater to see my first Hindi movie! My challenge was that there would be no subtitles so I would have to see what I could understand from all different parts of the movie – gestures, music, cinematography and expressions. As it turned out, I could understand almost everything.
An answer: fish in the tube that are being piped to the water
A lot of my time in Seoni had been spent writing. As soon as I lost the thread of the conversation in Hindi, I started writing. “What are you always noting down?”, they asked me. I was trying to rewrite and write the guide to thinking differently. I am starting to think that it will be the anchor of whatever else I produce in India. I want it to be the heart of my internship at OASiS.
Up at 6:30AM, I marveled at how much time there is in the morning. I decided I’d rather trade time in the morning for time at night. I like the light and am so much less tired than if I try to do things later.
Pradeep gave me the morning to do some writing. He asked me to think about what the walls of my box were. What was keeping my thinking narrow and destroying my confidence in the voice of my child self?
Last night, outside my window there was drumming, singing and firing of rockets (fireworks? guns?) until pretty late in the night. At breakfast, Mrs. Mukherji told me that what I had heard was a wedding. There is a community centre outside my window.
Madhya Pradesh Tribal Museum. I am serious when I say this: It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
Again, I had breakfast with Mrs. Mukherji. We talked about some of the fourteen countries she has visited. She told me about the fire blossom trees in Cairo. In the summer, on the street she lived on, there were these explosions of colour, red flowers on all the trees.