Girls – Old and New

I am going to write as much as possible here because in a few hours I will be returning to KGBV dorm and the Girls, and will not have access to internet for the next few days.

Got into Forbesgunge yesterday, exhausted.  It is a hot and dry time of the year, averaging high 80s during the day.  But the nights are cool, which I discovered in an unusual way.  So, from the airport in Baghdogra, I came to Apne Aap headquarters in Forbesgunge where much work is going on.  In a few days, a contingent of people, including Gloria Steinem, will be visiting, and so preparations for these visitors is under way.  Everything is looking very nice.  But, it is also crowded, and that is how I ended up in the Jyoti Hotel.  For those of you who missed my 2010 trip here, let me remind you that there is no love lost between me and the hotel, and, with last night’s experience, the sentiment remains unchanged.  However, I did discover, upon the air conditioning quitting at 2 am, that, despite how hot it was in my room, the night air outside was quite lovely.  Wish I could sleep outside.

So, this morning it was decided that I would go to KGBV, first for a quick visit, and then return to spend the next few days there.  Because of the spontaneity of the decision, no one at KGBV knew I was coming, and were so surprised when I pushed open the gate.  One after another, old faces greeted me, old faces that used to be much smaller.  The first was Khusboo, just a fantastic girl. And then came Baybee, Amrita, Nisha, Rashem, oh, on and on.  But about half of the girls that I taught in 2010 have graduated and gone on, and in their place are many new ones.  I will be doing the ‘Sister, remember MY name’ game tonight.  So pleased.

Sari Envy

Once again, I’m in the land of saris, and a river of the gorgeous garments parades past my seat int the terminal.  I haven’t seen this many sequins and make up outside of Vegas.  Big, small, plump, thin, old, young – doesn’t matter, these sari-bearers pull off this look in a way a drag queen pulls off thigh high, 5 inch platform boots.  How do they make it look so effortless and elegant?  Draped in soft pastels, or deep saturated gem hues, some hemmed in brocade, others in simple print, and yet others of an iridescent hue reminiscent of a dragonfly wing.  There are polka dots, stripes, florals, solids.  I am trying to keep from staring – they just rivet my attention.

Well, boarding now.  On to Kolkata.  Woo-and-hoo.

22 Hours of Travel Down; 13 more to Go

Heavens. Okay, crying babies. That sound will be ringing in my ears for hours. Not complaining, mind you; just stating a fact.  Add the transatlantic flight from Chicago to Munich with a very sad little guy who randomly erupted into screaming fits throughout the entire flight together with the ardent cries of a new born during my six hour wait in Mumbai Domestic terminal, it’s no mystery why.  I wonder what the next 13 hours of travel will bring for my ears?

Am currently flagging as I languish in the gate area, bathed in bright fluorescent lights and blasted by blaring flight announcements.  Nowhere to escape this and take a nap; believe me, I’ve tried.  Anyone who knows me knows that sleeping in unusual places is not a problem for me.  So, I’m going on day two without more than 2 hours of sleep in a row.  Every time I stand up, my exhausted brain plays tricks on me and the floor underneath my feet feels like the deck of a boat on the rolling sea.  Weird.

Okay, just caught the word ‘Kolkata’ in one of the blaring announcements. Must go check.


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