Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Entranced by brown angels of love!

Hello all! Well some of you know that I have changed my plans about 3 times since my arrival here to Sri Ram Ashram!!!! I was originally planning to stay a week and then head to Bir near Dharamsala to do another meditation work retreat and meet up with a friend of a friend that runs homeopathic clinics in near by mountain villages. Which, would have likely been an amazing experience, except that I couldn't tear myself away from these beautiful little beings here at the orphanage. So, I have now been here for a little over 3 weeks and if it weren't for the intensifying heat, I would likely stay longer! That, and I need to leave the country shortly because you can only stay in India for 6 consecutive months and then you have to leave for 2 months. So I am heading to Dharamsala now briefly before flying to Nepal.

Here at the orphanage I have enjoyed staying in a cozy room with a balcony overlooking the courtyard of the ashram, taking walks on the 16 acres of land with some of the kiddos that like to circle the property and chit chat, spending endless hours pushing youngsters on the swings, watching the older boys play bocce ball, life guarding kids in 2 feet of water and still almost having a heart attack seeing one or 2 slip up and go under. I have almost gotten used to the man who blows a whistle all night long to keep the monkeys and the elephants off the property and the 6 AM very loud wake up bell!

I have seen a lot of monkey business (literally)... Once, a big ole monkey jumped through the window of our parked bus, sat on the seat behind and across from me and went through a bag, only to find out it was a diaper bag before he sped off empty-handed. The same day one came and stole a piece of poori (fried dough) from a small child's hand knocking her over in the process during an outing we were on! I also had one charge me and my friends in order to get the bananas I had in a bag! It was a total reflex to throw the bag his way! He won hands down!!!!!! It is quite amazing to watch how agile, dexterous, and mischievous they can be!

As well, I love meandering through the local villages to pass fields of wheat, mustard, and parsley while bantering with the locals with my continued 2 sentences in Hindi that I know!!!Things are changing rapidly here... they have just built a 5 star hotel that costs over $200/night in the near by village! Trippy to see!

I think you will understand my vacillation about leaving when you see the photos! Enjoy!

The village walk to the diverted section of the Ganga. During Monsoon season the water is much higher due to overflow from the main Ganga. This woman is drying cow poop to be used for fuel.

Kids playing in a parked Vikram, a common mode of 3 wheeled transportation in India.It is not uncommon to fit 14+ passengers in this at a time... they may be sitting on your lap or on the floor or standing on the edges and holding on for dear life as they pass other vehicles with less than an inch to spare!

A few of the brown angels of love that I was talkingabout! (as my friend Mangala likes to refer to them as...)

This is Simmi, she had to get 8 stitches above her eye while I was here. Later that day (and not by much) she was dangerously climbing all over the monkey bars. We literally had to tie her to her to a stroller at one point while the other children were swimming to prevent her from diving in with her stitches.

This is my friend Andrea's daughter Isha. Andrea came when she was 18, went home to finish her nursing degree and immediately returned and hasn't left for 17 years!!!!

Are you with me yet?




The older youth are pretty amazing too!!!!!!!!

Our trip to Chilla National Park where we didn't even enter the park, just going to the entrance gate where the worker elephants reside was enough of an outing with 35 children ages 1 1/2 through 15 (and then we had a delicious meal at one of the caregivers homes!)

Pretty captivated in that water bottle!

Cooking class with Kavita

Andrea's other daughter Ayushi

One of the "mommies" being funny. She would kill me if she knew I posted this photo!

These are pretty famous artists in India and Europe that we got to visit because they were friends of Andrea's. Peter illustrated the book The Birth of the Ganga which I saw a copy going for over $200 on Amazon, which is either a mistake or because the author, his teacher who is a renown artist, has died and the book is out of print

Some of the youth doing a pujah ceremony in their room for Navratri, the 9 night celebration of a female deity which happens to be Durga at this time.

These 2 kid's (above) parents work and live at the ashram.

Mangala and I getting some snuggles in

When you visit a temple in India, you usually get herded through a line like cattle to the main altar which people receive a blessing from (in this case, Hindu) priest. At this temple it meant blessing you with a tika, or mark on the forehead (typical) and a pretty solid whack on the back with their hand or small bat like object! That was a first for me! (Note the guy reading the newspaper inside the temple at the holy altar in the backdrop!!!! 

Ok! Well I really might have over done it this time with the photos, but it was difficult to choose which ones to include! Hope you made it this far! Much love to you all!

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