I am learning that almost every day in India is festival.
This past Sunday a couple of girls from the ashram and I spent a belated Rakhi celebration with our “house mum,” Ratna, in her village. Rakhi is a day where brothers and sisters get together to honor and give blessings to each other for the coming year. And to put a red dot on the other’s forehead (bindi) while feeding each other fantastic food. Ratna’s family included us in the ceremony; we were their “didis” (sisters). After an exquisite feast of Daal Baati (lentils with a roll-like bread cooked over cow manure coals and then covered in ghee), we talked for hours with Ratna’s family about yoga, food, and arranged marriages. At one point Ratna’s uncle asked me, “How did you get your husband to let you travel so far away?”
For us ashram girls, it was a celebration of Indian culture, family, green fields, love, and chai. As we explored Ratna’s village, neighbors came outside from their adobe-like cow manure huts. With enthusiastic hand motions and wide grins, the villagers invited us inside for a cool rest and a spicy cup of chai. We were the breaking news of the day.
P.S. Happy Rakhi, my dearest Benj.