Hurry up and wait….
That’s one definition of India I was reminded of on my first day. India teaches you to be patient. Somehow to be productive, but ever patient. I hope that in the coming weeks I can see the improvements in my ability to remain calm and not overly anxious when I am not really sure what is happening and yet somehow making strides towards the betterment of mankind simultaneously. A lesson in realizing that I cannot control everything – a new layer.
Aside from that slightly philosophical realization….I was instantly reminded of all the reasons I loved this place the first time and why I think of these children and India always. I haven’t even taught a class yet, but it all started with the same airport, people pushing their way ahead, only to stand in line and then find themselves in the wrong line. My driver was an old friend, Vel, who drove us around a lot last time and was always good for a laugh. He greeted me by asking several times how my family was and whether I was married. When he was convinced my family was fine and that I truly was not yet married, he asked me (as the children often do) about the past dance masters and if they are married yet. I forgot about this prominent piece of conversation and had to get back into the swing of switching the topic. It is amazing how persistent the questioning can be about marriage. Yet, this is all part of being here and truly a part of their culture and what people here consider to be important in asking how you are doing. Not unlike the country side of Ukraine where if you are not married, you will get a proposal immediately accompanied by an offer of ‘x’ number of chickens or other livestock.
There are all these little quirks about India that make it India though and, I recently realized, not even like other countries nearby. The chaos, the roads, the cows in the roads, the driving and lack of traffic rules, the excitement at the new road that cuts out an extra half hour of driving time because you used to have to drive so slowly around the potholes….All of it. And then there is the Rising Star Outreach School which is why I came back above all else. Just seeing the campus, the changes but also the familiar faces. The children were trickling in after summer holidays and one by one had to stare at me for several long moments before the “aha” moment hit them that they had seen me before, and that one of their Dance Master’s had returned. It is different with so many summer volunteers this time around and I am excited to be a part of such a lively season. Classes got delayed by a week by the government because of the heat, but I get to start my lessons with the Life Dance Troupe. I am anxious to see how they have been doing and to help prepare them for the next levels with a big year ahead.
I already wish I could stay until Christmas.