Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Another Day Another Experience

I know it has not been long since my last post, but today I unexpectedly find myself home alone with the internet disconnected, which means I can't work....shame.

So, today I met up with the American Womens Association here in Delhi. They are great supporters of Sewa Ashram and many other NGO's in Delhi. Every month or so they bundle up a bunch of clothes from the thrift shop they run at the embassy and donate it to the ashram. Today my visit to the AWA had two purposes, firstly to pick up clothes and secondly I was to be introduced to another NGO in South Delhi. The organisation we visited is called Very Special Arts India. The organisation creates awareness of how visual and performing arts can enrich the lives of people with disabilities. They run all sorts of classes there including music and dance as well as computer studies and various crafts. Charlotte thought to introduce me to them as they have a weaving programme where they recycle old cassette and video tapes by weaving them into bags along with yarn. At the ashram we make hand-spun cotton yarn and as yet we have not done anything with what has been made; we have literally hundreds of spools of yarn. So perhaps we could work with VSA in having it made up into crafts that we can sell at the various markets and melas around Delhi. At the ashram we hope to utilise the yarn ourselves to make crocheted bags to sell. This week I plan to take skeins of the yarn to the dying wallah and have some cool multicolored yarns made up. Once I have the yarn dyed I need to do a crash course in crocheting... I am thinking YouTube could be my answer.

When we got back to the AWA Charlotte and I headed up to the main road to find a rickshaw. Charlotte is an older American woman married to an Indian. When she asked the first rickshaw wallah how much to the metro station he said 50 rupees ($1.25) now this is how much I always pay for this trip, but Charlotte insisted it was way too much as it is only about 20 rupees by the meter...not that I can ever get a rickshaw driver to use the meter so I wouldn't know. Charlotte said she wouldn't pay it and would look for another one but I had to run so grabbed it for the 50 rupees!. From Central Secretariat I took the Metro home but as I was reading my book (Eclipse) I failed to realise I was on a train that would terminate before my stop and I overshot the change over... ahh well more reading time for me. When I got out of the station I called Ray to see where he and the kids were but they had just arrived at the ashram and wouldn't be home for hours. What was I to do with all that free time and disconnected internet as we forgot to pay the bill...Well the first thing I did was go to the Airtel shop and pay the bill, they said that the internet would be back on in a few hours... still waiting. After that I thought I would try and track down a hairdresser. So I went for a walk until I found one. The windows were completely tinted so I could not see inside, upon opening the door I was just about blinded by the lairy pink paint on the walls with purple trim. As I live in North Delhi not many people need to speak English so I didn't know how I would go with my request. To my relief there was one girl there that spoke English. I asked how much hair colouring cost... it was $25 - bargain. She handed me the usual Loreal colour charts for me to choose from. Interestingly medium brown is called blonde here... I guess its all relative. I settled on a fairly standard 'medium brown' and they got to work. I asked about other services they offered such as waxing. I was told a full body wax was $18 - I said I just wanted half leg which was $1.50. They also offered a $40 package which included all waxing, facials, wash, cut and blow-dry as well a manicure and pedicure... something to consider. So while my head was being tortured (they must have a high pain threshold here) I watched all the arm waxing, mehendi and threading going on around me. After my color was done they lead me to the basin. It was only then that I realised this salon has no plumbing. So I stood with my head leaning over a sink while someone poured jugfuls of water over my hair which they scooped from a bucket. I have to say the cool water was nice on my tortured scalp...I don't think its a very effective way to rinse hair though... I can still smell the dye hours latter but I cant face washing it again right now.

So after a quick blow dry I pay for half the job and tell them in my limited hindi (the english speaker had left by then) that I will come back latter with the other 500 rupees. So trusting.... but they know where I live :)

When I got home the orange juice wallhah was outside so I bought a freshly squeezed jug of juice and now I am chilling on the lounge with nothing much to do. Loving it!

Note to self... next time write about the Tibetan guy at the ashram who drank a whole bottle of tomato sauce because he said the Germans weren't feeding him.

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