I have rented a scooter for the week. Savanna would be so proud of me. I can drive like the best of them, swerving and honking aggressively as I zip from place to place. The trick is to not think about rules, but rather space. Instead of waiting for someone to pass before merging, you just honk and speed and go the wrong way down the road, etc. I know, this sounds very dangerous, but actually, I think it works much better than the fascist, cop-fearing traffic laws of the West. Everyone gets along swimmingly in the hullabaloo, here.
Guillaume and I were on the scooter looking for a concert that didn't actually exist when we stumbled upon the opening of a new Hindu temple. We stopped to have a look and got swept up in a wave of small children yelling and laughing and tugging at our clothes. They pushed us up the temple, which was still covered in scaffolding (which is just a bunch of regular sticks tied together with rope) and we got to see the top! I have never felt so overjoyed by children in my entire life. Every single child was dying to have their picture taken with my camera, and after posing in a writhing, screaming, pile, a zillion hands are in my face and all over me grappling for a look at the photo. Over and over I took pictures, and Guillaume beat-boxed over and over again at the multiple requests of our tiny friends. He is very famous here. Everyone makes fun of him saying "I am William! I am French!" in a funny accent which leaves everyone in fits of giggles. He is so happy to be in India, where people say hello back to him, as opposed to France, which he describes as very cold. I can kind of relate, I think.
After climbing all over the new temple, the breeze of children carries us into the temple, where we drink holy water (um...is this safe?) and get our foreheads dotted with different colors by several tiny fingers. We sat for a second inside the temple in an attempt to calm them down. They all sat down next to us and giggled. I got up and they all got up, which made me laugh, so I sat back down, and they all sat down! And up and down...so funny. Then the elders gave us an enormous portion of curd rice piled in some leaves for us to eat with our children-and-temple-and-who-knows-what-else-covered hands. We tried to explain that we had just eaten, but the pressure was on. "This is the food of God! It is a very small portion! You must eat it!" So we ate a bunch and finally made it out of there with huge smiles on our faces, a hundred amazing photos, and belly aches.
Today I did my first-ever drop back (where you bend over backwards and land on your hands in a back bend) with the Guruji. I felt so incredibly proud of this, as it is something I have only been dreaming of being brave or strong enough to do for a long time. I also felt more connected to my Guruji at that moment than ever. I started to feel the intensity of his power. The intensity of his history. Why he is a Guru. Why he is MY Guru. I had a dream about Grandma Janet last night. We were all at a table celebrating the arrival of little Christopher. I feel like the Guruji is reminding me of her in my subconcious. I am reminded of the importance of my elders in general, and my family. My beautiful, beautiful family.
I have been doing a little shopping (so much for my goal of not shopping) for people back home...thinking I would be able to send home a holiday package. But I don't know if I am going to worry so much about that, because the gift options are so overwhelming and the time it would take to send home a package in time. I hope you all will understand if I save my gifts for when I return. I love you all so much!