Settling In and Setting down

“Moments. All gathering towards this one.” – Jenny Downham

 

Katja In Kaguli: Making friends with locals
Katja In Kaguli: Making friends with locals

Most of  the people at my home would not believe it, but even here life starts to be normal. You can, of course, forever remain as a traveller or on the other hand become a copy of something you’re not. But I find something truly important in every ordinary minute. Firstly I thought about this when I was riding on a motorcycle and there was a slight pleasant breeze in my hair.

When I exceeded the most basic adaptations to the new environment it was time to put life together and make it sensibly. I was sitting across from a blank Word document and wondering what could I give to these young Indians with whom I work. The paper soon began filling up after a while and there also appeared a strong wish to really do something. I prepared the lessons for the conversational classes in which I am trying to involve  the topic of global education during English practice. It starts to become easy for me because I could/can express myself in many topics.
It’s hard to describe the joy of the first day. Despite some problems, I could not  experience anything nicer; the feeling that I could actually run a class and also see that is is all going in the right direction is  priceless. The trainees were not used to my way of working but I think we found a common language to speak. My smile became even bigger when we finished the day with a rain dance and with singing  traditional Indian songs. As usual you learn that there is a connection between input and outcome and that is the most important thing – I got the motivation to work harder in the future.
Even small moments made my day – in the evening at home courtyard I was greeted by a monkey.

 

Moments: All gathering to this one....
Moments: All gathering to this one….

Everything is not ordinary. Do you know the moments when the world moves so slowly that you can feel your bones shifting and your mind tumbling? When you think that no matter what happens to you for the rest of your life, you will remember every last detail of that one minute? And these moments usually seems to be small. There I was, in the middle of  a community having just borrowed a bicycle with two flat tyres. It was hot, I felt lost and there was a man who wanted to help. Firstly I wasn’t totally sure but then I just trusted him. In 30 seconds the street near his tent house was full of people. We didn’t need words to communicate. Children were playing games; women were dancing and after repairing the bike we were all just clapping and smiling to each other. It was a great moment for me, yes.

I love cycling. The places are nearer now and every ride is a kind of adventure. I always get stuck somewhere and I can never get a grip of what is going on. Especially the time when Delhi police officers let the air out of the tyres because I had chained my bike in the wrong place.  But I am not lying to myself – it is hardly possible that I will ever know the crazy streets even around my place.

Happily, Indian people know them well and they are really open to help you.
One of the first things I learned from Indian people is a calmness. I didn’t need the time to figure out that problems in India are even harder to solve and you are the one who has to deal with them. In Slovenia I would probably be totally nervous and  stress but here the ‘carefreeness’ (!) is so contagious.
I have started to love the noise and crowd of the city, but it was still so nice to escape to the mountains where you can sit with farmers, talk with donkeys and eat apples on the high of 2500 meters. Each fresh peak ascended teaches something. Manali, actually a collection of three adjacent hills which each has a village, was one of my first breaks in the North of India, Himachal Pradesh state.
I also spent one weekend in a small village, Kiguli in Punjab state. People here are known for their fearlessness, strength and

Punjab is Pretty!
Punjab is Pretty!

combat skills. This could probably be linked to geographical and political landscape. Through different NGOs and also certain religious and social groups, the awareness of the importance of education is increasing. You feel here a simple peace and tranquility.
After a month I moved to a new home. I was not initially excited about the empty room without furniture and with all the work to move things around. But then I start to think – man, what freedom! My first thought was – do I need a bed? Do I need all these ornaments? No. Less is more. And I love this freedom of choice. I found my own small independent space in this huge city, with a home and with  work that has a sense and I like it. I couldn’t ask for more.

Katja Polc

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