A dove in the garden at my host mother's parents' house. When they fly you can see this pretty dusky blue and white under their wings.
Me one morning outside the MSID building displaying the mehndi my host mother did for me. She is so much quicker than I am! And she holds the cone differently; I tried it and it seems like one's hands get less sore using that method.
Today I went to St Xavier's, a Catholic church, with three other MSID girls. It was wonderful. The mass was in honor of "Girl child day", which was September 8th. There was a computer printout on the alter: "Thank God for the girls." And on a blackboard: "When you educate a boy, you educate an individual. When you educate a girl, you educate a generation." Girls came up and talked about why they were proud to be girls (one said "because we get more attention from the parents, lol..and another began by saying "There are many evils in society..." and then just smiled a lot, too nervous to continue, until the priest spoke to her kindly and she left the microphone), and we had lots of prayers for girls and statistics about the gender imbalance due largely to gender selective abortion followed by talks on why women are so important and ought to be loved and appreciated. There was this beautiful part when in addition to the usual gifts of bread and wine there were candles "to light the darkness around girls and empower them" and flowers "that they may bloom in the garden of your love" etc. There was a mix of Hindi and English Christian songs; the mass was largely in English, but they have Hindi ones as well. I think next weekend I am going to travel with several other students, but for the weekends that I am home I think I would like to go back. There were a couple differences; no one drank the wine, it was held on a tray for one to dip the wafer into, and people made the sign of the cross and kneeled much less, but still most of the prayers were exactly the same. It was so nice to be in a space where I understand what is expected and what is happening, where I know I am safe and accepted.
Yesterday we went out to dinner at a place called Little Italy (my home!! aww) with several other students after the long day of sightseeing; I had the "Exotic Pizza" (pineapple, onion and mushroom). It was good, though it could have used more sauce and cheese. I had just been there the day before with my friend Hannah where we had garlic bread and amazingly cold beverages. It was so great. The space is so tranquil and the food so delicious (the day before yesterday I had accidentally spilled my tiffin so I didn't have lunch other than fruit, so I was very hungry). We made a long trek by foot to this bookstore Crossword, where I picked up Indian Cosmopolitan, Vogue, and Filmfare, and the Hindi edition of Femina. And the fifth Harry Potter movie in Hindi. (99 rupees! Sadly it has no subtitles though...) Anyway that will be a fun activity with my host siblings. It felt sooo good to be in a real bookstore again. A few days ago I went to one that had only English books, in stacks all over the place, completely disorganized. Crossword was a lot like Borders, with a decent selection of Hindi and English books and publications. It felt so good to walk to a place on our own, getting a better sense of distance and location of things and not having to argue with a rickshaw driver. I like taking them home because everyone knows where Birla Mandir is; there's no good way to describe Crossword/Little Italy's location to people.
Sorry this has been a disorganized batch of entries...I am so busy lately and this is a very uncomfortable internet cafe. =(
peacocks! The silhouettes of some on Moti Doongri, and then one with four little chicks in the paper factory's yard.
Monkeys -- unlike the ones near our house, which are gray with red behinds, the ones we saw at all the forts we went to yesterday (so close! it was alarming at times) had black faces and hands.
"ART IS LIFE. LIFE IS ART." - paper hanging up slightly behind a shelf at the blue pottery factory
"GOD IS GREET" - on a bus