waves.

Everyday I walk to and from my placement about a half hour from where I’m living. I live in the village of Slow, which is about a twenty minute walk from the main road in Arla, which is about a twenty minute bus ride from Palampur, in Himachal Pradesh.

           

My walk to school is all uphill. It’s like a hike everyday to work, and I often have a backpack full of supplies and a bottle of water and snacks (for me and the kids) and whatever else I might need before I make the journey back to where I’m living. Though the first few days I wanted to die on the walk, I’ve not gotten used to it and really quite enjoy it.

Image 

Everyday I may encounter cows wandering and mooooing – something I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard before, like I knew cows mooed, but I don’t think I had ever actually heard it. There will definitely be cars honking as they approach me – warning me to get off the road.

 Image

Often I walk by young boys showering in their underwear at the taps on the street, not ashamed or embarrassed as you’d assume, but excited to see me with huge smiles.

 

There will be monkeys staring me down as I pass by them, the babies grabbing onto their mom’s in case they need to run away from me. I may get splashed by a huge puddle or step in poo – that could have come from: a cow, a donkey, a monkey, a horse, a goat, a dog and there’s a slim chance it may be human…

 Image

I will nearly get killed by the bus that passes me every morning. The driver races along as though he’s driving his bus at Indy – with passengers on the roof racks since there’s not enough room for all the passengers inside…

 Image

Sometimes I get offered a ride – which I always refuse. Usually I have at least a few young men yell ‘Heelllloooooooo’ as they race by on their motorcycles with smirks on their faces in excitement, having talked to a white woman!

 

There are always women and young girls collecting water from the taps along the street – most houses don’t have running water in them. They have a scarf wound into a circle, sitting on their head and then they load the pitcher of water on top. One hand holds it in place and the other carries another bottle of two.

Image 

But the thing that always makes me smile are the children I see. Once I’m in view to them there’s yelling to call whoever else out and I have packs of little children waving at me. ‘Helloo! Hi! Helloooo!!! Hiiiiiii! What’s your name? Where you come?’ When I wave back and reply with ‘I’m Katie’, I’m responded to with a fit of giggles and ‘Katie!’ Sometimes they come out to shake my hand as well or wave from their rooftops. All with the biggest smiles and arms stretched as big as they can waving and waving, until I’m out of view…

 

Image

 

Image

Advertisements

black magic

We finish dinner and want to go check out the nightlife and have another Kingfisher somewhere. We have heard Black Magic is pretty  entertaining, so we decide to go check it out….

We round the corner and walk down the long hallway that leads us to where the bouncers stand. There are chairs across the entrance, so we stand awkwardly for a minute wondering if the place is full or something, but no sooner can we think to ask someone, do we get waved in.

Image

A bouncer escorts us upstairs. Right at the top of the stairs a man grabs my hands and tries to start dancing with me – the bouncer shoves him away from me in a hurry. He leads us to a table – kicks all the men that are sitting at it away and has us sit down. He takes our drink order and has someone go to get them and then stands there guarding us.

Heidi, Evy, Kathleen and I look around in shock and awe and burst into a fit of laughter. We cannot wipe the stupid grins off our faces. The is the most insane thing we’ve ever seen. We are the only women in the entire place. It is stock full of super drunk Indian men and they’re dancing like they’re having the best night of their life! They are out on the dance floor showing off their best moves and in between they try to get close to us – but our bouncer doesn’t let that happen.

Image

There’s a mix of Hindi and western music. When a song came on that we knew, all the men’s eyes would really be on us as we sang and kind of danced in our seats. We were offered shots, had requests for photos and others who just stood photographing us all night. At one point ‘Desi Boys’ came on and I nearly peed my pants! My grade sixes and sevens at Ellendale danced to this song this year when they learned Bollywood dancing and all of us teachers that were working on it said we’d be quite happy to never hear it again… I did sing along a bit which really impressed the men!

We then had a fairly funny conversation about what all these people are doing with all the ‘white girl’ photos. Do they have some sort of shrine in one of the room’s of their house? A wall in their entryway perhaps? It seems strange to think how many Indian facebook accounts must have pictures of me…

The ultimate best moment of the night though was when some Hindi song came on and I suddenly have the sea of Indian men singing this song to me. It’s obviously some sort of love song. There’s pointing at me and hand gestures to show a heart beating and there’s my face – beat red. So hilarious!

A little black magic took our night from casual to another world….