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Ellen: ek, do, tin

September 10, 2010

This post is coming to you in parts—ek, do, tin—one, two, three of them:

Part One: didi
My little siblings call me Didi Ellen [older sister, Ellen] and I have already introduced silly bands to their lives. And the ukulele. I am a trendsetter.

Part Two: puja puja puja
My very first night at my homestay was the anniversary of the grandmother’s passing so we had puja (worship). Sam, my fellow program participant and housemate, and I were invited to join the ceremony. The living room was rearranged and a small shrine set up while musicians and other family members arrived. The musicians set up a speaker to project the chanting and song out to the street. Our foreheads were marked with red dye and rice and then the chanting began. What started as 14 people sitting on the floor gradually became 35+. People just kept on showing up. By about the 3rd woman visitor, I realized I was sitting on the left side on the floor when, as a woman, I should be on the right. I thought I would just stay with Sam as the pair of white kids, but then he left to go to the bathroom, leaving me as the white woman on the wrong side. I quickly shuffled over to the right and joined the other women. I also realized that the book that everyone was chanting from had 35 pages and we were on page 12…

It was a beautiful experience to observe and be included in, although my back and rear end got very sore. No wonder they do yoga. By page 32, Sam and I were ushered into the kitchen to eat. When they say EAT, you eat. At the end of the ceremony, it was like any schmoozy family event in America—children running around, parents chatting, greeting and such. What a commencement into my homestay family!!

Part three: “Look at me, I’m the King of Jaipur!”
On Sunday, Sam and I went to the JKK (Jaipur’s hip art center/cafe hangout for university students.) We took a rickshaw (first time!!) There was a Ganesh art show that we checked out and then we went to the cafe. We were approached to see the art show again so they could take our picture for the newspaper. And yes, we were in the paper the next day.

School is good, Hindi class is ridiculous. The chai is great (at least 4 times a day).

This weekend is Ganesh’s birthday!!

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