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tabla, new family, and lost pieces of the puzzle

Learning about the burning ghats on the banks of the Ganges

The city of Banaris was quite the experience. I was reminded on many ways of NYC. Mind you NYC doesn't have cows and water buffalo wandering streets freely eating from the many piles of garbage. You will also not have rickshaw drivers everywhere you look all asking "Hello ma'am, Rickshaw?". You cannot walk along any Ghats watching people bath or bodies being burned. You won't see Baba's or people carrying incredible loads on their head. You will find the same sort of energy you find in NYC, but Banaris is simply so uniquely Banaris.

My homestay family was absolutely wonderful. I had great fun playing the various forms of cricket my younger brother Chootu (not quite sure how you spell that) taut me. Watching him play I was struck, as I was in Nicaragua, by how differently he and the other kids amuse themselfs. For example he knew just how to throw his ball against a wall, corner, the ceiling or floor so that it came right back to him. Making me think this game was one of (in addition to reading the paper) the main ways he amused himself. My mother, or mataji, was a wonderful woman. Always willing to make me an early breakfast so I could get to that 8 or 9 o'clock Hindi lesson. As well as an early dinner so I could be in bed by 8:30 9:00 (where as the family ate closer to 11:00 pm). Never once did I feel unwelcome and my family was most accepting of my American habits (like making my food into a burrito, which they found most amuzing).

Sarah & Caitlin present to the group about their study of the Tabla

For my ISP I took Tabla lessons, with Caitlin (forgive me for not knowing how to spell your name! >.<) and Remy. Quite the crazy instrument Tabla is. And heavy, ouf.

Banaris was also when Remy left us. We were all quite bummed to say the least. I liken it to a puzzle; now with one of it's pieces missing. Sure the rest of the pieces still fit together and you can still see the picture and so the puzzle still works. But there will always be that empty spot in the middle.


I really enjoyed reading your post, Sarah. The description of Chootu's ball-bounching game was vivid, and it made me think of all the little quirks I have in my personality to keep myself busy and amused, and how those quirks change as I travel to different place (locally and internationally). And, the burrito comment was pretty funny - picturing you with a burrito wrap and everyone watching you eat/ inspecting your "wrapped creation."
It's been refreshing to read your postings; keeping up on what the puzzle is still doing in India, even though I am not traveling with the crew. NAMASTE to everyone!