post-vipassana happenings

I walked into my favorite south Indian restaurant, the one on the second floor of some unknown building and was greeted by the owner with a big, “Why were you in Madhya Pradesh?!” My friend is his travel agent and he was enquiring where his foreigner friend was because I hadn’t been to the restaurant in some time. It was a great welcome back.
Another welcome back came in the form of a text message from the FRO office. My visa was ready on Monday. This was almost exactly a month after I applied for it. This was a huge shock for everyone. No one believed it. For a while I thought that maybe they just rejected my visa and I started to come to terms with the fact that I’d have to come home in fifteen days (they give that much time as a grace period mostly). After sitting in the office, amused and enjoying that this would be the last time that I would have to sit in this office, I finally made it to the signature room – the main FRO officer who is in charge of visas called me into his room. The officer I worked with last year called me in. He signed my passport and hands it to me. Of course this was too good to be true. It was only extended until the end of October.
As with most things since being back, I managed to control myself quite well. I even managed to laugh a little bit. So, I’ll do this all over again.

Today was the first day of Ganesh Chaturthi. I had a day off which was amazing. For the first time, I attempted to make parathas. Because I love methi (fenugreek) and never feel motivated enough to make it because of the long cleaning and trimming process, Gayatri and I embarked on a methi mission. We made methi with channa dal as well as methi parathas. I feel quite successful. Afterwards we went the the kids’ house of course. We ran into them the other day and they said we had to come. They danced a lot! It’s always fun to watch them in their element of fun. Their families and community members have no hindrances towards us anymore. We could probably walk in at any point of the day on any day and feel at home.
I did just that with my coworker/friend. It was awesome. Each Ganesh statue has its own little temple around it. You perform a pooja to an aarti (song during the pooja). We walked through to receive three prasats (sweets given after the aarti). Mothers, sisters, and brothers greeted us with big smiles. One older brother exited the community on his motorcycle stopped short just to say hello. They all made sure we got prasat. Ishwar’s mom invited us in for dinner but we had already made plans with my coworker’s husband for dinner. It was really nice to feel completely 100% at home.

There has also been an influx of people into the capoeira class since I came back. I walked in on Monday to find that I didn’t know more than half of the people in the room. The new folks are super nice. There is one more American girl – we total three foreigner girls: 2 Americans, 1 Canadian. They all seem very enthusiastic and even come for juice after class. Our little community is growing.

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