The past few days have been “More of Everything,” including spending time with friends to the extent possible. My time is so very tight that it’s challenging to catch up with everyone I would like to, but there have been a couple of opportunities to do so.
Here’s a photo taken on the LSR campus (where I first did my Fulbright), where I ran into a colleague Kalyani and also a former student Komal. Komal was one of the first student I officially “met” as, on my first day of teaching, she offered me a “laddoo” (sweet) that her mother had made.
And here’s a meal I ate yesterday — South Indian Thali. A “thali” is a collection of food items on a platter, as seen here:
You all know how much I LOVE the street scenes, of all sorts. Sometimes the moment that strikes my eye is one that is simply one or more people going about their daily lives. Here are several photos that reveal scenes near a “basti” (slum) community that was across from the school we visited yesterday.
This first picture is an “entry” into the community where children are returning from school, and a man in the center is kneeling to do some sort of work with his hands.
This next picture is my favorite photo to date on this trip. These boys and the man with the bike were coming out of the community heading different places. I had seen some men with bikes piled with colorful cloth items, but hadn’t yet captured one on camera, until this moment.
This one was a woman walking down the street balancing a basket on her head.
Alas, my very favorite sight to date on this trip was NOT captured through my camera. Yesterday, as we started out, we drove past a street-side “community” where people were just starting to be out and about in the cool morning air. We looked out the car window and saw… A GOAT IN A COAT! Seriously. A goat was by the roadside wearing a winter coat, all wrapped around its body. But we were past it before I could snap the shot. Today, as we drove past the same area, we slowed down and searched for the goat-in-a-coat, but we didn’t see it. You will just need to take my word for it, and imagine it for yourselves.
Last evening I was able to visit the home of my friend Preeti. I met her mother, and I heard fascinating stories of the mother’s earlier life. You might guess what I’m going to say next… The food was amazing!
Preeti took me over to the nearby Saket Mall — actually an interconnected set of 3 malls, one of which is quite the fancy-pancy place! They had done it all up for Christmas, inside and out. Yes, you are right in thinking, “But I thought India was mostly a Hindu country?” Well, “Christmas” in India, not entirely unlike Christmas in America, is now more of a secular, commercial, festive time — a fun celebration, but more or less devoid of religion. Here are some of the mall lights and decorations:
Today, after our two workshops, Priyanka and I headed to the home of an LSR colleague and friend Shama. Shama had invited my LSR colleagues (from when I was here in 2016), so I was able to see a handful of special friends.
Shama and her mother had made (and bought) loads of “snacky” foods, including samosas and pakoras — YUM! This was an afternoon “tea” of sorts, not dinner. So much food! Her mother was also lovely, and — like Preeti’s — had some fascinating stories to tell about her earlier years as a child and young woman.
Today concluded Day 6 of workshops, with workshops #7 and #8 completed back to back. They have been a great success! But it’s good to be at the end of such a frenetic string of them. It felt a bit like being in a theatrical performance — wanting to give the audience a fresh “show” every time, day after day. Here are a few shots from the past three workshops (1 yesterday and 2 today). The bottom three photos are all different schools and presentations. There is no central heating in these schools, so we are all bundled up against the chill in the air.
I’ll leave you with this last picture, which was taken at one of the schools today. This is a type of dal that has been turned into flour and then shaped into little balls that can be cooked into dishes. They were drying out the little balls here.
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