New things…

It’s times like these that I get really happy that I do what I do. Last year we had a kid in 10th standard whose parents really wanted him to go to engineering school. He wasn’t the least bit interested and after his first semester in school his grades reflected that. He struggled a lot. With some help of one of my coworkers, we got him into art school. Today he stopped by the office to show us some of his work and give us an update (he does this sometimes). Everyone in the office is in awe. He’s an amazing, amazing artist. It was as if someone took the reigns off of a wild horse and finally set him free. He’s happy, he’s doing what he loves, he’s flourishing in all aspects of his life. It’s just a great feeling to be a part of this.
This weekend I went back to Mumbai. My trips are less and less frequent because I have reasons to stay at home; I have friends, now I have a dog. It was really great to see my friends again after two weeks. This weekend was especially great there because I finally got to do something Indian. I’ve been here a year (minus two weeks) and I still haven’t been to any yoga classes, haven’t really attended any music events or taken lessons, etc. I’ve wanted to take a Kalari Paito class for a long time. It’s the oldest martial art in the world. Many Indians don’t even know about it. Kalari originates from Kerela, a southern state in India. I’ve written about how awesome Kerela is in the past; it has the highest literacy rate in India, it has women land ownership rights. It is also the place where the first martial art originated. I’m attaching a link to a video that shows one aspect of it. My whole body hurt after this class. It was amazing. The movements are precise, it almost felt like a martial art Ti Chi. Later on there are swords involved as well. My friend Vipin teaches these classes in Mumbai. I want to make it an effort to go to his class whenever I’m there.
On the train ride back a few things happened that were unexpected. I didn’t book a ticket so I got a general ticket and went to do the normal sitting in the reserve car. Usually, if the conductor even comes by at all he’ll either ignore you because there are so many extra seats or tell you to pay the difference and allocate a seat to you. This time the conductor came and kicked an older couple and I out of the car and told us to go sit in general. The train was almost half empty and it didn’t make much sense. I asked him if there was an extra ticket and the only thing he told us was to go to the general car. I did and it was fine. I stood for about an hour and someone who was leaving gave me his seat. While I was standing a “street kid” came into the car with a mini drum and a human ring. His face was painted so that he had a clown mouth and two little dots as rosy cheeks. He had fake eyebrows as well. I’m not sure why (meaning more so than any other time I’ve seen kids asking for money) but it just seemed so sad to me that he was there. He played a few beats on the drum, took out the ring and crawled through it a few times and shook the plate he was carrying for money. It seemed as if all of the adults on the train watching him fell for his clown outfit. One of his arms was inverted a little so that his palm was permanently facing forward. People spoke to him as if he were pure entertainment. I just don’t understand.
In US politics, I have to say that I’m a bit upset I’m not around right now. I keep listening to Rachel Maddow, the BBC, and Nightly News. I feel like I’m missing something big. Tonight my dad gave me a surprise phone call. One of my parents’ friends was arrested in D.C. during a protest. I’m so proud of her. After she was bailed out she volunteered to drive people who were leaving jail back to their houses. I think that this is a long, long overdue movement in the US and a can only speak about how proud I am that finally something is happening, that finally some people are speaking out.

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