I’ve been soo busy and tired lately…I’ve neglected my blog :(… but I’m going to try to keep up from now on…
My fascination with traffic in India will never end…I recently traveled to the state of Gujarat, and while traffic is nothing like Mumbai, I fell in love with a common mode of transport- I was told that this is unique to only Gujarat- I think, but it was awesome… Picture a motorcycle with the back tire removed and the front wheel jacked up with hydrolics with a two wheeled wagon attached to the back end-where the back tire should be.
My new love! I think these are awesome! They carry A LOT of people and sometimes a lot of stuff. Apparently the way some truckers dress up their cabs back home, some owners of these vehicles tend to do the same as well 😉
I also had the opportunity to visit a market where I happily purchased some trinkets to take back home…lots of well crafted hand painted stuff…
I visited two localities during my brief stay- Surendranagar- a town, and Jivapar- a village. Small quaint little places. I was there to work and what surprised me the most… is the kids… the people too, but the kids…. the little preschoolers were not phased at all by my presence…
What I mean by that is usually when a foreigner- a complete outsider, visits a small place (a town or village) and goes to a a small small building that doesn’t have enough space for the kids that are already in the program much less three grownups…incidentally one of my colleagues was from the ‘city’, of which locals can sniff you in a minute :)…. usually people notice you…right?
Anyway, a program that is tight on space, and when three grownups now invade the space, kids would normally look, and stare. This is expected. Heck, the kids at the school that I work stared at me for MONTHS when they saw me in the school. Before I moved to this locality people on the street stared at me HARD.
Fast forward to Gujarat, in preschool spaces filled with kids 2-5 years, and they blinked. Once, maybe twice, and then I was a nobody!
Needless to saw I was in awe of their reaction. Not because I wanted them to notice me…lol. But in all my years of working with children from foreign countries- not all foreigners… I mean I’ve worked with lots of kids who have never seen a black person in their life. Families who immigrate to Canada and within a week-for some, they were in my program, and the kids register shock, when they see me. I have fond memories of those days…:)
I know what it’s like to appear ‘foreign’ to people. But these kids in Gujarat… and the adults for that matter, couldn’t care less. It was really, really fascinating, especially because I had been stared at for MONTHS in the city. And these kids smiled at me… a few waved their hands to say bye when they left. it took weeks for the city kids to wave and/or smile at me… I have to smile when I think about it.
Now I’m a thinker… and I immediately discuss with my colleague my fascination with this experience. Yah, I could be making something out of nothing, but it was uncanny considering I am very accustomed to the experience of being stared at when I’m the ‘odd one out’ which has happened frequently in my career working with new immigrants.
Then there was Priti (not her real name) my colleague and I instantly fell in love with this little preschooler in Jivapar… if you work with kids, once you keep reading you’ll understand…
She’s the kid that everyone knows because she’s a little fiesty one… not in a bad way… she’s the one who often has the pleasure of sitting beside the teacher so the teacher can ‘keep and eye on her’, because she can be all over the place. The kids were doing an activity where the teacher and the assistant were introducing fruits. Here is my little friend..sitting at the foot of the assistant eagerly waiting her turn in a class of probably 20 kids…She doesn’t mind though because as the assistant is cutting up fruits and putting them in a basket for the teacher who calls kids one by one to taste and talk about the fruit, my little friend is happily sneaking pieces of fruit as she waits. I think she knew the teacher probably wouldn’t get around to calling all the kids name, so why wait for the snack to finally be divided with everyone at the end of the activity? lol
My colleague and I fought over her. I declared I want to pack her in my bag and take her home. In my head I had her room all done up already, had her registered for school… she was adorable! lol Hers was the name called most often and by the time the program was done, we both knew her name, told her ‘bye’ and we’ll never forget our fiesty little friend 🙂
Before leaving Surendranagar we stop off to grab something to eat with the local community council…and if you know me and food…I wish I was Dorothy… click click “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home” lol.
Needless to say… I ate rice. Just rice seasoned Indian style…whatever that means!
The next day after leaving Jivapar, we have to eat again…okay… I should have expected this… So we stop off at an all you can eat place. Apparently in Gujarat eating at a typical Gujarati restaurant it is an experience unique to Gujarat in what is offered.
Anyway… what am I going eat? I would have been happy just to stay in the car eating my snacks… but I got to do ‘this’….
what is ‘this’… you may ask?
Certainly, it’s not eating Indian food…it’s just being in the space and dealing with ‘it’.
So I did. I sat and this was the spread…
I am happy to report they serve french fries! 😉