today has been my favorite day in India so far. i guess i keep saying that about every day, but each day i keep finding it to be true. today started with a bull race for the festival, Pongol! a bunch of men gathered together with bulls that had decorated horns (with chalk and flowers and other such things) and at 11:15, they let the bulls…well…run. it was all so hectic and on some psychological level maybe a little scary… one bull ran right behind me and Lauren was freaking out! also for some reason people were throwing bananas everywhere. i got hit a few times but Lauren was covered in banana, so much so that her white shirt was yellow!
after the bull race, we each went to a Mohanam villagers home for lunch. Kimiko, Kay, and i went to Madhu’s house. (: he climbed a coconut tree and got coconuts for us! it was kind of amazing! we met his sister who is beautiful, and an absolutely amazing artist. she has a degree in philosophy and is getting a PHD in physical education. we ate our meal on banana leaves, and with our hands (only the right one of course). yes mom, i AM playing with my food and it’s even socially accepted! the food was absolutely amazing. i could definitely live this way (though i do miss meat and i keep finding myself craving beef jerky).
after Madhu’s, we went to the cultural center with the kids. they taught us a sport called caperty(?), which is an odd mix between football, wrestling, tag, and sharks&minnows. i taught them the boot scootin’ boogie, they taught us some stick dances and Indian dance moves. while we were dancing, a little girl came up to me. she asked me to sing here a song, so i did. then i taught her some handshakes and patty cake and down by the banks and after that we were inseparable. her name is Lagita, and she introduced me to a bunch of other little girls (though she hardly spoke English so it was a challenge!). the other girls were older and spoke English very well, and kept teaching me Tomil words. they took me to the kolam contest, the stone lifting contest(150 KILO rocks!), and the greased pole climbing events in the village for Pongol. we danced and played games and the little girls took about 100 pictures on my camera! (: it was a beautiful day. i never want to leave this place. i know that I have to come back, and soon. there is a whole world out here that i never could have imagined, and i just want to be a part of it.
i love India. i love the people, the culture, the land, the food, and especially the children.
we ended the night with another campfire with Balu (our organizer) and Pascal (the Swiss man who lives in Germany). it was a beautiful night with wonderful company and food. i hate to think my time here is running short.