A typical day:
Mediation at 6am. Tai Chi around 7:00. Then breakfast on the roof of the ISI conference center. An omelette and black coffee around 7:30am. Language classes start at 9am, but before that I am reviewing the previous day’s lessons. Anuji our teacher, who says she can’t say no, is going to take us all shopping tomorrow to the Dilli Haat government market. Of course it will also be a language lesson.
A snack around 10:30am of a Limca (lime soft drink) or just water then back to playing with Hindi words and sentences. Although I don’t think I’ve learnt that much Hindi in one week, some things are beginning to make sense. Maybe there’s hope yet.
Today I went with Mike and Mary to the VSO head office in a Delhi suburb. They had some paperwork to do and I just tagged along to see the office. It is a small office, in a nice neighbourhood, with small rooms with desks and computers stuffed nicely in each place. I continued to tag along with them to the Indian Foreign Registry Office where they had to “sign in” as foreigners. It was a chaotic scene of people, colours and noise and I left them there as it was going to take a long time for the bureaucracy to take effect. So the process of negotiating with an auto-rickshaw began and ended and I sat back for the ride home.
Towards evening, Noel (from the Philippines) and I went to the beer store and bought a few cans which we took up to the roof top (at our residence) with some nuts and Joe and his guitar for our own little party. We each took turns on the guitar and played to each other while the hawks and other crow like birds landed nearby to listen. Really there were at least six birds perched close by to us watching our every move. Two of them deposited a small load on Joe. Maybe they wanted the nuts. I need a bird book because I haven’t seen these kinds of birds before.
Mike climbed up to our roof top location to ask us to come back down to the street where he was heavily engaged with a few dozen of the local street kids. He bought pens and paper and had them drawing while sitting on the street (where cars and motor bikes where weaving between them). Crazy you say, but it is a shared space for all the various activities to happen such as cricket, basketball, music and more. Joe went down with his guitar and I soon followed with my dulcimer. All the kids wanted to do was to take our picks and strum the instruments. They were all quite impatient to have their turns over and over again. After about ten minutes, both instruments were way out of tune.
Darkness was coming up and Mike had lost most of his pens. The kids gave him their drawings and left. I suggested we find some coloured chalk and let the kids draw on the roadway.
7:10pm and no one has had supper. But we’re all quite satisfied. Nevertheless, the routine of eating sets in and we walk to the local market (a misnomer) and buy some art supplies for the kids along the way before we have a quick meal at Gulabs. One of the merchants starts up a conversation with us and finds out who we are and what we’re about. He tells me and Joe (as we are both going to Rajasthan) that we will be very hot there. Mike takes our leftovers (as always) from our meal and gives them to some people on the street. A word with the local parking wallah, who, as it turns out, could have used our leftovers and then it up to shower and then to sleep.
Keep away the wisdom which does not cry,
The philosophy which does not laugh,
and the greatness which does not bow before children.
- Kahlil Gilbran