Archive for January, 2008

31
Jan
08

thursday.

Advertisements
23
Jan
08

OK Thank You.

For the past two weeks I’ve been hunting for new bedding after our old set caught fire. (It was really just a little fire that resulted in the confirmation of Sam’s suspicion that our power strip had a short circuit). In store after store helpful salesclerks hovered behind me, unrolling and unpacking samples to show me and then painstakingly repackaging each item after I mumbled an apologetic, “OK, thank you. That wasn’t really what I had in mind.” Three days ago I went to Fabindia, which is sort of like the Whole Foods of home furnishings. In contrast to more typical Indian textile shops, which tend to be cramped, dimly lit, and slightly musty, Fabindia showrooms have hardwood floors and rotating carousels offering organic soaps and lotions. Bedcovers are neatly stacked according to color, as if the salesclerk himself were a prism refracting sunlight onto the shelves. Running my fingers over the various textures, I asked the clerk if Fabindia has its own line of products or carries items manufactured by other companies. He replied that it is best to look at the material in person at the store, to see the patterns and shades of color as they really are. “So, you only carry Fabindia products?” I asked in slightly tentative, high-pitched confusion. His facial expression seemed to indicate that he, too, was perplexed by the conversation. We stood staring at each other with squinted eyes until I finally broke the silence with my standard, “OK, thank you.” I left the store, wondering whether if I spoke too quickly or got lost in American syntax again. And I still haven’t found a bedcover.


18
Jan
08

our new neighbors.


This morning I took Daffy for a walk, only to find these ladies settled in front of our building. Daffy, who is smaller than this cow’s head, refused to budge so I carried him down the road and across the street. Walking home, he wouldn’t take his eyes off the cows. I thought it was very cute until I realized Daffy wasn’t the only one walking in a huge arc around them. I hadn’t even noticed the tingling of my fear of being bitten by this cow. (If you think that’s funny, check out the size of the cow compared to our car in the background.)

14
Jan
08

makar sankranti.


Makar Sankranti is the day when, according to Hindu astrology, the sun begins its ascent into the northern hemisphere. This signals the end of winter and the beginning of increasingly longer days. The festival is marked by different traditions throughout the country, including ritual bathing, an exchange of sweets, and the well-loved Kite Festival. Kite-flying is especially popular in Gujarat, the state to the north of Maharashtra where Mumbai is located. Last week we visited my husband’s parents in Ahmedabad, a major city in Gujarat, and witnessed kids preparing for the festival. Brightly colored paper kites dot the sky as children compete to cut their neighbors’ kites with strings covered in powdered glass.

One evening as the sun was setting I stepped out onto the balcony to enjoy the cool winter breeze. From the rooftop below I heard the shouts of boys cheering their friend who was engaged in good-natured kite combat with a boy on a nearby terrace. The kites swooped and circled as both boys struggled to claim the other’s kite. After a minute of this intense maneuvering the purple kite emerged victorious, freeing the brown kite from its earthly tether. The brown kite floated gently over the rooftops as its owner hurriedly attached another paper kite to his string. Shouts and cheers of victory were replaced by concentration as the other boys readied for another battle.
14
Jan
08

makar sankranti: kites.

14
Jan
08

makar sankranti: string prep.


These boys are applying a glass and glue mixture to the kite strings. The strings are then wound onto large spools to dry. The string is later wrapped around small spools, for use on individual kites.

14
Jan
08

makar sankranti: kite string.

A boy is turning the handle of the wheel containing kite string, which allows the glass and glue-covered string to dry quickly.