Where: Delhi, The Hub, Internet Cafe Local time: 6:30p Chicago time: 7:00a
Whew… So the past few days I haven’t had a chance to grab a computer at all. But that’s a GOOD thing. There has been so much going on, I’ve been experiencing and feeling soooo many things, I don’t even know where to begin.
Before I start getting into day-to-day details, let me just say I am having a great time here. Me and my little Karm Marg group are bonding with each other really well, with the kids really well, and with the organizers of our NGO really well. I have learned so much about myself, and thought a lot about all the bullshit that we learn in Chicago that defines happiness and success, and I’ve been seeing ….
Ok hold on, the girl next to me, a local, just had her cell phone ring, and her ring was In the End, by Linkin Park. Lol, helll yea……
Anyway, I’ve been seeing the conditions of the society that my ancestors lived in that helped form the ideals and morals that my people still hold dear to them today. I’ve also learned that I don’t know half of what I need to know to call myself Brahmin. I live my with the intention of doing good, and not harming others, but I’ve been so ignorant about so many things, and that’s totally a result of the comfort that living in America has provided me. I have so many luxuries that I don’t even acknowldge everyday. Like running water, heat, a roof, my health, my hands, my mental and physical capicity, all of which I am totally taking for granted.
Being in the environment I’m in right now, it is great to be able to think about my ownlife as critically as I have, but the real challenge lies in taking what I learn in this trip, and truely realizing it sitting in my cubicle on the 15th floor at work, laying is my bed is a nice heated room in the burbs. I have to stay consious of all the things I learn on this trip, because I realization is only actual if it carries with you.
So what the heck have I been doing in Delhi??
Last Thursday we had a meeting with our group and talked about our organizations, and issues with women in India as compared with issues in America that we’ve observed in our organizations. Afterwards, we hooked up with the girl who runs Sangini, a local lesbian support NGO, and we went OUT. That was awesome, and kind of odd at the same time. We went to her house/office where she lives and the group is run out of. And apparently Thursdays are ‘dry’ nights in Delhi, so the bars don’t serve any liquoah. So we chilled at the house and drank King Fishers and Blue Moons, the headed out to the bar. I was on Mother’s on Rush and Division. Seriously. They American music magazine covers all over the walls (sorted by decade) and they were playing all American music. The dude was spinning CDs, and he only had two hip hop CDs, Nelly’s Greatest Hits, and 50 Cent. It was crazy. But it was fun as hell too, I totally bonded with some of the people in my group, they were giving me shit cause apparently the only other people in the bar we’re eyein me, and we were all dancing and chillin. It was cool. Then we headed back, and I crashed and got ready for the next day.
Friday was awesome. After the Marg, we went to Nizzamudin, a slum community where two people in our group our working, and checked out a qawwali concert. We met outside of where the concert was going to take place, and then got a short tour of the community. Compared to the Marg where my group is working, this place was CRAZY. The street were small, packed as hell with sellers, kids running around screaming ‘hello!’, and just like the rest of the city, everything was DIRTY. We went to this dudes house and met his mom andhad some tea, and had a pretty uncomfortable experience there, then headed off to the qawwali concert. And that was AWESOME. It was group of guys, all mostly younger with one really old guy on harmonium leading the group. I was totally able to record it onmy minidisc and stuff, and the recording turned out SWEEEEEEEEEEET. So I was excited about that. Then afterwards we came back, just chilled and talked and crashed.
Saturday we did some sightseeing.We went to the Lakshmi Temple right by the Y, and that was beautiful. It was all open, the murtis (statues of Gods) were gorgeous, it was awesome. In the room that had the Lakshmi murti in it, there was a singer with a harmonium and an old guy on tabla’s, that was awesome. Then we went to Bahai Temple, and that was amazing. The temple was in the shape of a giant lotus, a GIANT LOTUS. It was NUTS. And inside was gorgeous. They didn’t allow any talking inside, and I swear, it was the only moment of silence I have heard since I stepped foot hear. That was totally beautiful, and made the temple that much more humbling.
After the Bahai temple, me and the Marg group went over to the Marg because the organizers of the group were going to take us to a Bird Sactuary. How cool is that? We have been having such a great time with our organization, and I am so blessed to have the opportunities that I do. So we went over to the Marg and Dev, the main dude, didn’t get there himself til pretty late. So we chilled with the kids and stuff. Playing with the kids this past week has been awesome. I played guitar with them one day. That was AWESOME. Basically I gave them the pick and let them stum while I change chrods. I also demonstrated a feeble attempt at playing Hindi songs… This one girl Aarti is such a cutie. I’d start singing a song, them do my usual mumbling when ever I didn’t know the words, and she’d just keep on going like a machine in total monotone. Lol, it was awesome. We’ve also been dancing a lot. I taught a few of the older kids some bhangra moves (ho chakde phate) and the younger kids just groovin with. This one girl Tara is hysterical. She totally knows all the moves straight the movies and while she’s dancing and lip-singing the songs, her eyes are looking up while she mentally preparing herself for the next move, and she’s totally getting into it and everything! Lol, its awesome.
So anyway, we ended up just crashing at the Marg that night, which totally isn’t what we were expecting, cause we were planning on leaving for the bird sactuary that night and sleeping in a hotel. But it was cool, we crashed and then left at like 4a Saturday morning. We slept in the car on the way there a lot. But we totally saw sunrise over mustard farms on the way that. That was AWESOME. I’ve never seen a mustard famr before, and my gradfather, and now my uncle run a mustard farm in Gujarat. So that was awesome to see. We got some breakfast right outside of the sactuary, then went on in. In the Bird Sanctuary was amazing. Similar to the Bahai Temple, it was completely different in the sactuary that it was in the rest of the states. There was no pollution, it was all green and blue, and clean and quite. It was great. We rented some riksha that rode is around and pointed out birds to us, then hopped off and hiked around a little. It was really cool, there were some spots where we just saw a bird or two, like king fishers, watersnakes, eagles, and stuff, and other spots where a bunch of birds were mating, so there were a TON of them. One spot just had a ton of storks. It was awesome. I also saw a python, and an antelope. And it wasn’t like a zoo. Like, this was a spot that was clean and filled with water that birds naturally flocked to in the winter, and the government sactioned it off so no one would fuck with it. Granted, and the time the mugal king wanted a place to hunt, today its strictly a natural preserve, and that’s awesome.
Then we were heading back, and we drove though Rajastan which was gorgeuos. I can’t wait for our whole group to go there next week. We also passed though a town where Krishna is said to have raised a mountain to protect a bunch of people from the rain. There was a temple there, and there must have been something going on there cause the streets were mobed with people.
I’ll continue later, cause my hour at the cafe is almost up, and we don’t want any problems with the locals, Kill Bill style…. lol.
Oh also, I found out this morning that I might have lice from the kids at the Marg. That totally sucks.