I am inspired to write a quick blog after gatecrashing our local Gurdwara and having a good feed. Over the past week or so the Gurdwara (sikh temple) has been kicking up their noise level and prayer time in the lead up to a festival. The prayers have been blasted louder than usual from 3.30am and continue with little reprieve throughout the day. The other morning when it was particularly loud Ruth one of the NZ volunteers went over to the Gurdwara at 5am after laying awake for hours. After playing charades for about 10 minutes (too loud to be able to talk) they offered her chai...she left exasperated. After one or two nights sleeping with earplugs I am now able to block it out. Today must be a particularly special day of the festival as a couple of truckloads of sikhs arrived and the street outside the ashram is filled with people. When the lunchtime bell at the ashram rang today I wandered over to the clinic and saw that they were serving kedgeree (dahl and rice mixed together = stogy and flavorless). I managed a few mouthfuls was wonderinhg if that was enough to tie me over until dinner when one of the ashram staff wandered in after having a good feed up the road...it suddenly clicked; if there is a festival run by sikhs there will be food and they will have an open door. Ruth, Hunter and I were off and dreaming about warm naan. As we approached the entrance there were men brandishing big sticks trying to keep the very cold and hungry looking slum kids away (it is about 8 degrees at the moment). Ruth, Hunter and I wrapped a scarf around out heads to be culturally appropriate and in we went. The place was adorned with hundreds of orange and red flowers (calendula?) threaded onto lei's and strung around the compound. There was a ceremony of some sort going on at the temple end of the compound and several food stands at the other. It didn't take long before we were scoffing down sum delicious channa marsala and some sort of roti I was not familiar with. There was so much food, loads of different dahls and curries as well as desserts, fruit and nuts. I also enjoyed some warm buffalo milk flavored with dried fruit and cardamon..mmm perfect on a cold day. It was a great time of people watching...us watching them and them watching us; and of course there where the ubiquitous photo requests. Its moments like these that just make me love it here..I just stop and take it all in.
Just as I was getting a second cup of milk before I left for the ashram I was unfortunately compelled to lie when I was asked where I was from. I took a breath, was about to say Australia but instead I said New Zealand. Sadly it is not a good thing being an Australian here at the moment. Australia has been making front page news most days for the murders of Indians...not good :(
Otherwise all is well here... we are perpetually busy and have many things to look forward to. The kids are starting back to school tomorrow...its a couple of weeks early but we have quite a bit of travel coming up over the next few months and they need to get ahead.
Thats it for today will blog again soon