More about the kids

Sometimes things don’t need to have a purpose, or a larger purpose. What’s this, a social work project or something, people have asked. No, we hang out with the kids because we love them and they’re just amazing. As soon as we walked away last night, Manoj asked how much in love I am. It’s beyond words. This mini sequence of events started earlier this week when the kids came to the park for capoeira. Many of them came this week. It was awesome. There were enough people and the energy was right for us to just do a roda. Usually we just practice fun things, play around with each other, have disorganized fun capoeira time. This time, we jumped right into a roda. The kids came, they played, we played, it was awesome. After, because no one wanted to go straight home, we got sandwiches from the best sandwich guy and for some reason or another everyone ended up going home and no one was around to walk the seven kids home except Manoj and I.
When we got there, there was a function going on within the community for Ganesh’s sister and he invited us straight in. We sat down outside with the families and listened to the women singing songs for two girls who were sitting on a raised platform. After about 15 minutes they asked us to eat dinner with them. We insisted that they join us only after they didn’t let us say no. We sat and ate with the kids inside Ishwar’s house. When we eat there, they make us EAT. I left so full. After we ate, Ishwar proceeded to show us all of his school notebooks, what he’s written in them, and what each notebook is for; this is despite the fact that neither Manoj nor I understands Marathi.
As a side note, I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this, but, like most Indians, these kids are quite multilingual. At home, they speak a version of Kanada because their families are from Karnataka (the state below Maharashtra). They go to a Marathi medium school and they also speak Hindi. It’s amazing. Most of them end up dropping out of school – as I’ve spoken about before. Another side note, Ganesh is going to school, so at least that. However, these kids usually drop out because they fail over and over again. How can a kid at the age of 12, who speak 3 languages, be a failure in school? It’s rhetorical obviously, but it just shows how sad and broken the system is that smart kids can’t make it through the system.
Back to the evening: As we were leaving they made sure to tell us that on Thursday there was another event going on for Prem, the newest member of the community. He’s a month and a half old. And because the kids ask, we do. We ended class early just to go hang with them. Four of us went. The difference now, even when we stand outside of the community, is quite vast from when we used to come to the community. We just walked in, people know us, they told us to sit down. Some of the girls wave at me emphatically. They’ve never ventured to the park though. We were late and at this point the pooja (ceremony) was over and all the kids were eating. Because our level of understanding is the same, I feel most comfortable around the kids. The women my age, Prem’s mother for example, (she’s actually probably quite younger than me) have several kids and are in the home most of the day. The men, who I still look at as kids, are fun and silly. The older men look grumpy. At one point, one of the older men with crazy hair caused a big fuss. Ganesh’s mom yelled at him a bit along with a few other women. He didn’t stop for a while but people just went about their business. We ate mitha, rice, and sambar. It was amazing, of course. The chef was one of the younger men and we paid our compliments. At some point the camera came out and the kids went nuts with the pictures. I went to speak with Prem’s mom. She’s very sweet. The baby is adorable. He has a big nose. For the occasion they used some form of kajal (charcol) to put black dots on him – to ward away evil spirits, and fake eyebrows – I think just to be fashionable. I must have held him for at least 45minutes as people came in and out of the house, pinched his cheeks, said something or the other in Kannada. It was awesome. The whole community has spunk. The women sat inside and spoke as the men walked in and out. I’m not sure what happened or how much time passed but then it was picture time with the kids and Prem and even a grandmother. It was the first time one of the women asked specifically to take a picture with me. She didn’t even come up to my shoulder in height.
I love these kids, this community so much. They’re amazing. The kids walked us out to the road when it was time to go. Yes, I told Manoj, I am so in love with all of them.
And now, for what you’ve all been waiting for – my big assumption – is pictures! I realized just now that I haven’t done anything since Nepal, so here are a lot of pictures. Enjoy. https://plus.google.com/photos/115826746819902835864/albums/5759379634101891569?authkey=CLSclZ2au6SfHQ

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