Sunday, April 15, 2012

Din 227: “God took his time making you.”

I awoke this morning to the sound of my students -- what could be better? We started today’s class with 15 minutes of Anapana (the first step of Vipassana meditation), which is designed to concentrate the mind. I have never seen meditators more still or focused than these children! After teaching them the technique, I told them we would be starting every class like this from now on. Meditation is a wonderful tool they can take with them wherever they go, and they are lucky to be starting at such a young age!

As the class broke into groups and started practicing numbers for our upcoming Variety Show, I caught up with a few students. Vandna, a sophomore and our oldest student, was supposed to pick her academic stream (cf. major) a few weeks ago, but had been waiting for my return to consult me before making her final decision. She is most interested in commerce and dreams of holding a high position at a bank one day, but her family is advising her to take liberal arts, which has less requirements and comes more easily to her, so she can also help her mom clean houses on the side. She was willing to take commerce if she could have a tutor to help her with the time commitment, so I wholeheartedly encouraged her to do what she loves, and have found a college student in our neighborhood who will be willing to give her lessons in commerce for free.

Manisha, one of my most observant and forthcoming students, gave me the most insightful advice today. She noticed that I was much more measured and poised before leaving for Mumbai, whereas I seemed more animated and jovial today, to the point of almost being flippant (she said this all in Hindi and it sounded much better). Her feedback, though, was that although she finds it more fun when I am in a silly mood, she prefers my reflective and dignified advice to help her grow as a person. This was advice from a 9-year-old. I was so, so grateful to Manisha for sharing this, and told her that true friends are the ones who appreciate you when they like what you do, but also call you out when they think you could change something. I have very few friends like this -- in fact, most people do -- and am glad to have found another one! What a thoughtful girl. After class, she and I spent the next hour catching up. I tried to be more dignified during this time. :)

After this, I had lunch and went to Sonal’s house to see her family before she leaves for New Delhi tomorrow. It was great to be reunited, drink tea made by my soul sister, and plan our next photo shoot (hopefully in traditional Indian dress!). Distracting Saumya from her studies was an added bonus. Sabina Auntie had set aside piles and piles of clothes and books to be donated to Gyaan Ghar, which Dadi and I happily lugged home and have started rummaging through -- the kids will be so happy!

Back home, I meditated for an hour before submitting my final draft of the “teacher wanted” ad we plan to publish in the paper in a few days. Over my evening walk with Bhua, she delved deeper into the Sikh tradition and some of the statements she made uncannily resembled sentences uttered by Goenka Guruji at my meditation course. Cool!

After dinner, Nani just couldn’t stop herself from going outside for another walk. The air is so fresh here (what industrial town?) and the surroundings so majestic.

It’s so much fun to be hanging out with both of my grandmothers -- slumber party!

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