As I consider writing of my final weeks in the village of Raghurajpur – week after week flies by – I feel nostalgic as well as a longing to return to see the many faces of my teachers and their beautiful families. I long to speak to them, to simply go share a chai – yet it is so far and so hard to find an easy means to communicate with our friends in Raghurajpur! Beyond the inevitable social media sub-world of facebook…their is little access back to the village life, little way to know that they are well, little way to plan a return visit…some day, some day.
Alas, there is no way I can condense the final weeks into a single post…so, let’s begin again to discover the memories…
Part I: palm leaf carving, my sweet teachers & their families, fire dancing (not me!), private classes with Bhaskar begins, puja blessing for unmarried women’s good future (me!), making some performance & art with my pal Stephanie Dixon AND the infamous boat adventure!
Oh these warm days: Stephanie getting stuck in her drawstring pants while forcing herself to swing balls on ropes that simulated fire balls. Then, there were the monkey breaks – literally taking a break to watch the village monkey families and stopping for photo ops with the sweet girls following us about. So, begins the bounds…our daily visits to our teachers homes and the beginning of my private Pata Chitra painting classes in Bhaskar’s home with Gudi treats and little Sweets’ antics! From my private Pata Chitra to Stephanie’s rehearsals for the Friday night festival…our schedules were rigorous, to say the least.
Festivals happen weekly in a Hindu village and this particular week in between two strong female deity celebration – Druga and Lakshmi -the blessing ceremony for good futures (i.e. good husbands) for young unmarried women took place from 4am to midnight! It is fair to say that the western young unmarried women where older than dirt in comparison. But I received my puja with grace and love for my own good future (i.e. husband) wink, wink.
Stephanie and I even snuck in some of our own film/video and dance art making in and around the village…I am off to Anderson Center artist residency this August 2012 to work on the editing of these film/video pieces as well as the many other hours of footage I captured while in India.
I’m excited to revisit all our great, difficult and awe-inspiring experience of India through my time-based documentation. Until then, here are stills that will speak for themselves…more stories to come about our boat adventures and part II of the final weeks in Raghurajpur.