Sunday, February 19, 2012

Din 171: I subsist on laughter.

As I rolled out of bed this morning and started to sip my strong black coffee, Manju Auntie announced the arrival of her son Sonu, the clever and mischievous student about which I had asked Jessie for advice a few days ago.

What an artist.
We headed out to the park and I asked him to tell me about school. He identified on his own the major factor for his getting in trouble with teachers as tardiness. After some discussion of his morning routine, I challenged him to ask his mom to wake him 10 minutes earlier each morning, and to startle his teachers with his focus in class. We made it into a game -- in three days, if someone remarks "Sonu is so different!" or the like, he wins. Then, it is up to him to decide whether he likes the routine and will continue it, or whether the effort is not worth the outcome.

When Sonu left, I called up Deepu Didi -- an incredible teacher, thinker, and friend (and basically my guru) -- for her birthday. I wish with all my heart that she and Jessie could meet! They are both so wise and could share so much with one another.

I also called Nomita Auntie (two of my favorite people share the same birthday!) and we chatted about topics including her birthday plans, her upcoming vacation to Goa, and the best season to get married in India.

My students soon started to pour in. I could only observe class for a short while today, and I graded some English worksheets as Miss Gurpreet taught Hindi and Punjabi. I made a face when a student asked me to help him with arithmetic (long addition is hard!), so Vandna Didi checked his sums instead. :)

Before lunch, Dadi and I dropped by a meeting of the Senior Citizens' Welfare Association of Ludhiana, of which she is an executive member. Today, the Association was honoring Punjabi poet (and friend of Dadaji) Surjit Paatar. There, I met an Uncle whose work is centered on groundwater in Punjab. When I told him of my interest in environmental science, he invited me to contact him any time I would like to learn about the state's water resources. Score!

For lunch, we went to a reunion of Dadaji's colleagues who are retired from Malwa Central College of Education. It was here that I befell my encounter of infinite value for today.

Dadi had requested that one of the club members bring along his granddaughter to the meeting. When she was introduced to me, I learned that Sonal is studying interior design. Talking to her, I found out she has also been a dancer (Kathak/Giddha/Bhangra/Salsa/Belly/Hip-hop/Contemporary), a model, and a cadet. And by the end of our conversation, I learned that she also happens to be a soul sister of mine. (I wish she could meet Laura and Jannah.) I'm not sure I've ever revealed as much of myself in one conversation as I did to Sonal over lunch today, and I don't think anyone has ever done the same with me. Sonal is unbelievably kindhearted and beautifully philosophical, in addition to possessing the ridiculous talents delineated above. We've made plans to meet tomorrow, and I literally can't wait. I made a friend today!

I arrived home with a mind to take a nap, and was presented instead with a canvas, five brushes, and a set of oil paints (from Ruby Chachu, of course). I'm no artist but I plopped myself down to paint the front yard where I have lived so many memories. This exercise pointed me to two provisions I do not possess -- patience and perspective.

Only Sproutna's canvas would look like this during a paint sesh.

The reason for the assorted flora on my platter is that to depict certain plants in the garden, I used pieces of the plants themselves as "brushes." For example, to paint the tiny berries on the creeper which grows along our wall, I dipped these berries themselves into paint and dabbed them onto my canvas.


And only Slopna's artistic implements would look like this after a paint sesh.

After scrubbing my hands with olive oil and sugar to remove the paint, I briefly rewrote a Gyaan Ghar blog post that I noticed had disappeared last night. Then, Ruby Chachu and I went for a few rounds of the park rife with movie discussion. I now await Skype calls from Zane Akhy and Varlet #1 as Dadi watches a Bollywood film and Ruby Chachu browses old home videos. After catching up with my boys, I will join the fam for dinner and assorted entertainment!

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