Tuesday, February 03, 2009

heigh ho!

Other things I like about India:

The chirping geckos. Sugary treats that make your teeth scream. ChaiiiiiiiiYAH!!

I'm sitting here inside a compact room, with a FAN, in the semi-dark. It's the office building, and there's a bedroom upstairs. I love this building and I would love to post a picture of it for you all and I will when I encounter a connection with greater speediness. I really need to cool down, it's been a hot day, it's still a hot day, and there's more to come. I worked outside for the whole morning and up to lunch.

I've just been informed that 'There's tea by the way'. Again? Already? O yo yo!

So this afternoon we are all going to put on our wrinkled, least-dirty finery and trek over to the neighboring rice and turmeric plantation to Manni Appa's place. He's a great guy. He fed us coconut (tengai) and papaya (papali) one day, when it was just Matt, Kate, Sugar and I here before all the workshop/work camp participants arrived. He has a very large teeth to match his very large smile. Nice resonant voice, about 70. I've seen him a few more times here and there, when I'm walking the neighborhood (which I love to do at dusk especially, when the lightening bugs start winking into existence and the frogs are out in droves).

Manni Appa has invited us all to his home in the village (not the rice paddy) for...something to eat. I could say dinner, or 'tiffin', but who knows? It could be tea and loads of snacks. We're to meet him at 4, which is an odd time considering that the traditional meal time for Indians is pretty late evening. So we're all properly mystified. I'll bring my camera and hopefully my appetite (I tried to hold back at lunch but I was so damn hungry after digging that hundred foot long ditch we're turning into a swale that I ate maybe more than I really needed to oh well).

There are, of course, people coming and going as I type. Kate (who has come down with the shingles, poor girl) just gave me a bite of (all things) a Kit Kat bar that Chris bought her in Kaniyambari last night. Kumar, the resident property caretaker extraordinaire, is always in and out and sometimes likes to sit and watch me type or browse the internet. He also likes to come out to the ditch and watch me (or sometimes us) work. He's a real sweet heart. Yesterday, for reasons unknown to me, he urged me stridently (how's that for a double adjectival descriptor?) to not pick up the rocks I was unearthing. I'm boggled. The closer I got to the rock - bending over - bending over closer - the more he said, 'ma'am! ma'am! please! please!' to sway me from picking up that rock. What did he want me to do instead? Bust it up? Leave it there? What does he know that I do not??

I'm learning how to use tools here too. The mumti, for instance. A sort of backwards shovel that, once you know how to wield it, works wonders. Long poles of rebar flattened at one end and pointed at the other are great for busting up compacted soil and general digging too. I need to hire a handsome Indian boy to give me a massage three times a day. I should be positively ripped and rippled with all this labor. If not for all the tea and biscuits, hee hee.

Well my internet time has mostly expired, and I must go freshen up best I can before our appointment with Manni Appa. We'll meet his family and most likely the whole neighborhood. Sugar (who is one of the permaculture teachers, and who lives thirty minutes south of Eugene, and who I'd not met before landing in India) went into Vellore yesterday for some vaccinations and once she was back in our little village, the night watchman spied her, took her by the elbow, spun her around, and escorted her through his own little village. She ate a lot of snacks last night. I anticipate this afternoon and evening to be something similar.

But then again, who knows??

What I do know is that now more than ever the more I try to plan, the more I am surprised and confounded. This time in my life in this part of the world is most certainly a good way to become great friends with surrender.

(I still wish that the children would not pee in the showers or on the ground outside of the loos...but then again...I pee in the showers, so what's the harm?)

Happy February 2nd! Sugar and I looked at each other yesterday and realized out loud that we didn't have any rent due! woo hoo!


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