Sunday, January 15, 2012

Part Two : Tales of India: Purulia Days

Thank you so much for all the lovely comments on my previous post . I was so glad to read them

In Purulia I was too lazy to collect pictures in one day. So I will try and paint a picture of Purulia from the odds and ends of my entire 10 days there

So here is the next instalment - a post on Purulia.

Purulia is a truly  small town.

When I say that - I  mean really really small town !

Everybody knows everybody

For instance, one day, DH and I are off to visit my aunt.

Lost, I stop at a  jeweler shop and I ask simply "Where is my aunt's house?" ( without even giving the name of my aunt or even introducing myself ).

Nonplussed the jeweler gives me accurate directions !

The pace of life is really slow (which is what I like )

Everyday we begin the day with drinking tea in the sun

We lazily watch kite fights (people  fly a kite but they  are also trying the cut the thread of the other person who is flying a kite and great kite battles take place in the sky. All the people sunbathing on the rooftops are avidly watching this from a distance )

I and my sister are really close and only in this once-in-2-years vacation do we get to hang out ( for she is super busy too being a working mum with 2 kids )

My mum and dad are kind of community leaders there

For instance in their neighborhood , every house has a well which is usually the main water source

Here is our backyard well that the maid is pulling water for washing the outside

There is a neighborhood tap which gets "soft water " from the govt .

This tap has been placed right outside my mum and dad's house - as they are deeply trusted to not take over
( you should gasp at this point as this is respect indeed  )

My mum is also always settling disputes

One afternoon,a cacophony seems to have erupted outside .

When I look outside I see that  my mum's maids extended family come to get my mother to settle a BIGFIGHT

The dispute is about respect - The daughters of the house have moved back in with their mum and they are being mean to their SIL

I surreptitiously take a photo - shared for your pleasure here .

My mum resolves the dispute by ordering them to stop talking to each other. This is a very novel yet effective way to resolve a dispute

My Dad is the kindest of all and he has as always acquired another mass of pets

The pigeons circle him when he comes out and the dogs ( which he tells me, only like to eat meat ) are always waiting outside with looks of vacuous adoration for him

The skies are blue and its very pleasant ( almost 70 degrees everyday )

But Purulia dwellers are always cold

My parents adore DH - and also son in laws are always given special status !.

My mum makes fish for him everyday. Unlike the west, the main meal of the day is lunch

A note on Purulia would be incomplete without mentioning how direct people are!

One of my cousins is trying to conceive and all the aunts and uncles discuss things like "cycles" and "dates of possible conception"  without a thought  and in front of the couple in question ( who are also participating in the discussion )

Though if it were me, I think I would die of mortification.

Its like this with everything .

One day we are at a restaurant and someone who has been discussing their problem with being constipated .
In the middle of the meal they announce that they are "feeling the force".
Everyone respectfully makes way so she can go to the bathroom !

And the rest of the meal everyone talks about when they had similar experiences and whether the food in Gopal restaurant has any special qualities that enables the force

Autism awareness in Purulia

Nobody knows anyone with autism( my dad is almost definitely an aspie- a very high functioning one  and has a special understanding of R because of it.   ) 

But despite this lack of awareness they treat R with so much love and tenderness

My sister and nephew and niece are doting towards him

It seems he is perpetually hugged

And adored

He loves his rickshaw rides as always ( here he is with my sister )
What is different this time is that R is connecting with everyone

He has this game with my sister where he pretends as though he is going to pick her nose

She gasps in mock horror !

And gives him a mock scolding which makes him pass out laughing and squealing "no picking maashi's( aunt's) nose"

My niece and nephew play a simple game they have called "aaaaah ... wheee".

This simply involves them yelling a battle cry ( aaaaah ) and descending on him with a tight hug( wheeee) .

My mum tells him that he must stop saying "eeee.. eee"

I explain to her that this may damage his self esteem- to which my mum replies that "just explain to him that it makes him look different"

 But R thinks its a big joke and specifically does a lot of "eeeeee" in front of her so she will giggle and say "no ee ee" and this provides him with much amusement

R's sweetness wins everyone over

One day my dad and mum tell me in all seriousness that they wish every child was like R :-) ( and they mean it )

Once when I am expressing worry about R's future my mom says nonchalantly "he can eat, go to the bathroom , entertain himself, has good manners . what else do you need?"

Only once do I hear something disparaging about R - we are out at dinner - and one of my old aunts ask if R will always be like this

When I related this incident to my mum., she replies that that aunt is " like a cracked drum .. no one knows what sounds will come out of her next "


Do you find shopping lists very revealing ?

I do!

I feel if I only read your shopping list ( with some detail of why you wanted a thing ) I would know all about you.

I found a shopping list in my phone which is written by my sister and I put it here as it will show you our priorities

Sweets are mentioned twice ( which tells you how important they are )

Once for our house and another time when we are visiting our aunt ( champa mamima - which autocorrect has turned to Champagne Mamma ). Its customary to take sweets with you when you go to visit someones house

The Clothes pegs are because we hang clothes in the sun to dry ( there are no dryers in India )

The "lower" is a warm pants to wear under jeans - for my nephew ( kukku) to wear - even though it reaches 70 degrees each day- the minimum temperatures of 47 are perceived to be arctic like.  All the kids wear plenty of warm clothes

( when my sister and I go and look at the available assortment we are so amused that some manufacturer without really understanding  the cultural connotation has purloined the "playboy" logo -complete with bunny- for underpants for small children . I am guessing he means" boys that play" )

Sooji is a delicious  cereal my sister made( kind of like the English porridge - only a million times better)
And I think the last line my sister is trying to remind herself that there are more people to plan and cook for
There is one small market in Purulia which we go to all the time as this the main entertainment ( apart from gossiping )

There are two main shops here .

One is called "Big Mirror"- the other is called "Small mirror"

The first day DH and I go to "Small mirror"- apparently this is a big social gaffe as - our family patronises "Big Mirror"

Shopping in Purulia is a lot of fun.

Even in a small town like this , the women are conscientious enough that there is an entire lane devoted to clothes simply called "Clothes Lane"

While all saris look alike to westerners. each region in India has its own craft of sari.

For example Bengal ( where Purulia is ) has atleast 6 main subtypes of sari crafts

One of the famous subtype is "Taant"- paper thin saris made in hand loom and having bright borders .

My sister has requests from all her colleagues that she must get saris for them . Here are the shelves in the sari shop - tell me have you seen more vibrant colors

Its the same with sweets ( and Bengalis love sweets ) . The distinct thing about the candy here is that they use palm jaggery instead of sugar ( which tastes like heaven)

Cows wander freely in the markets  - a point of great joy for R

R has this curious quality of being able to identify when someone is feeling off.

He has always had this and will stick to the people  who are not well.

Everyday  that my mum is not well ( and she has a heart problem - a source of great stress to all of us ) R is completely by her side all the time snuggling with her and a great comfort

The child's sweetness moves me to tears sometimes .

There is a lot of goodness in him 

I think of all the evaluations which show how behind he is in so many things

But with a little distance and perspective - I sometimes also think of the many  things he is so much ahead in 


robin said...

How intriguing! I think it would be awesome to live in (or come from) a place where everyone knows who you are! When I think of the kite flying, I think of the book I read years ago, The Kite Runner. I didn't know it was an ongoing kind of fun! How wonderful that you sneaked a picture of the argument happening just for us!! It's hard to imagine not having a dryer! Just sayin'!! I had a friend (from Malaysia) who loved Indian movies. When our girls were young and they'd go to her house, she'd put on a movie. We couldn't understand what anyone was saying but we loved the dancing, singing and especially, the colorful saris. I had no idea that they differed that much between regions. Very interesting!!! I see why you love going home so much...your parents (and family) sound wonderful!!! So glad R has opportunities to get to know them even though they live so far away!

Kim said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading of your trip and look forward to reading the next parts! I think travel, and especially travel to visit family, is one of the best things for our kids--expansion in a way nothing else can accomplish.

Þorgerður said...

I can see it :)...I plan to go abroad with Sturla next summer and i am sure he will learn and benefit a lot...Love reading this.

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

I have loved reading about your trip. The stories are really wonderful. I wonder if when George Lucas wrote "may the force be with you" he really meant what you were talking about ;) lol. Again a wonderful trip!

Looking for Blue Sky said...

LOVE the way that R is doted on and accepted by your family just the way he is. If only everyone could be that way xx

Puffin said...

Your posts about R and India are lovely! You paint lovely pictures with your words, K!

Barbara @ TherExtras said...

YOU, K, are the BEST entertainment on the internet!

Thank you!

I love your family in India vicariously! I love you, DH and R for real.

And those dogs are so cute!


Yuji said...

Thanks for painting another wonderful picture of your family and the town they live in.

I love that your family is so accepting of R. And even more that R is such a loving child. Yes, in a very meaningful way, he is so far ahead of many kids.

Floortime Lite Mama said...

@ everyone thanks so much for the lovely comments
@ Robin -another friend was just saying that all Indian Movies seem to be musicals
@ Kim Looking forward to reading your holiday chronicles as well
@Porgeour - where are you off to in the summer
@Michelle - LOL - perhaps that is what George Lucas meant
@Yuji and Looking for blue sky - really R's extended family is just amazing
@ Puffin - thank you so much - now I cant wait for a post on alaska from you - hint hint
@ Dr Barb - what a brilliant compliment to give - I am all agog

Lizbeth said...

That is just amazing! I so know what you mean and how you feel about your sister--my little sister is in Australia while I'm here in the States. I've not seen her in over 2 years and miss her terribly. We talk on the phone but its just not the same.

I too, would die of mortification if my family was discussing things in front of me!!! My husbands family does it all the time and I've still not gotten used to it!!!

Such a lovely post about your trip. I love hearing all the details as its so different from my normal life. Beautiful!

ggop said...

This break seems to have done wonders for R. My son's OT used to always say travel opens up a new world for kids so never feel guilty about missed therapy true after reading this.

Mr. Daddy said...

I'm with Michelle, my first thought was "this puts a whole new meaning on may the Force be with you" LOL

And I think I heard a collective "gasp" as a sign of respect to your parents... :o)

loved the quote your Mother gave of your Aunt..." like a cracked drum .. no one knows what sounds will come out of her next "

I'm not sure if I am as astute with lists as you. :) but I do find the portrait of the person in the words that they reveals their character and the beauty that is lying within... (Rach and I both have been by blessed the portraits that you create.) or should I say the portrait that you are:)

I especially loved how you finished your post.

"The child's sweetness moves me to tears sometimes .

There is a lot of goodness in him

I think of all the evaluations which show how behind he is in so many things

But with a little distance and perspective - I sometimes also think of the many things he is so much ahead in"

We all could practice having a little distance and perspective...

It would make the world a much better place... :o)

Bright Side of Life said...

K, another lovely, interesting, funny and fascinating post from you! :) R is a sweetie deluxe... and you are fab! I am still chuckling about the feel the force overshare, hee hee hee!

jazzygal said...

Right, that's it...I'm SO moving to India. I really wanna be a 'Champagne Mama'!! You paint another lovely picture of India and it is lovely to see R amongst his loving cousins :-)

xx Jazzy

Floortime Lite Mama said...

Thanks so much Di and Jazzy
Mr Daddy you are the funniest
@ggop - I totally agree with what your therapist - but I also used to have the guilt when R was younger - I think guilt just comes with autism parenting

Chuck said...

Lovely posts, Kajoli.

Floortime Lite Mama said...

Thanks Chuck - now are you starting a blog ?

Chuck said...

Nah, no time for blog right now. The reply somehow made it look like I had one. Maybe someday, but for now I'd rather read your lovely prose.

Anonymous said...

Oh, how I love these posts! And before I forget, I got teary eyed a few times and I think I love your mom. :) I love how you ended the post:

"The child's sweetness moves me to tears sometimes.

There is a lot of goodness in him

I think of all the evaluations which show how behind he is in so many things

But with a little distance and perspective - I sometimes also think of the many things he is so much ahead in "

I've been thinking along some of the same lines. Daniel just had some neuropsych testing and the results aren't that great (I've been struggling with myself over it...)....but on some things, I think he's got the important stuff down pat and we could all learn from it.

Li said...

Hi K! I saw that you stopped by the blog so I came over to say hi and tell you I loved your two India posts! You are inspiring me to write my own day-in-the-life post since I haven't updated my blog in forever and it's time.

Things are good here. My son has only one semester of preschool left and then off to kindergarten in September. We are touring schools to figure out what will be the best fit for him.

Another random week in 2020

 Everything that I could say about 2020 has probably been said.  On the whole,  its not as bad as it could have been because I am with my tw...