Saturday, October 14, 2006

It's Not Diwali Until the Ash Hits Your Eyes

Last night we attended the AISC Diwali celebration. Diwali, the festival of light, is not until next Saturday, but if the school party was held then it would be like holding it on Christmas Day. So we took part in Indian dancing, Indian food and Indian fireworks last night.

The Indian dancing was fine, a large ciricle of school kids, parents and teachers doing the same 4 moves for 45+ minutes. Two steps forward, two steps back, two steps forward, spin. Katherine kept it going for over half an hour, I did a lap, and Jonathon and I paired up for a round. The rest of my crew must have been in a trance after 10 minutes of watching the circle go round and round (spin, two steps forward, two steps back...) and round and round again. They didn't move, they didn't join, but they didn't leave either.
The Indian food was palatable. Actually quite nondescript, which is strange for this area of the world. Nicholas was steadfast in his search for noodles and we eventually found which pot they were in, a cheesy gooey noodle and vegetable combination. Ian's only question was where the meat was. Typical for India, we were offered and ate pure Veg.
The fireworks were last on the schedule. The school soccer field is a good size, but there aren't the same, uh, safety guidelines here as we're accustomed to. The brisk breeze and heavy smoke from the fireworks resulted in a sometimes thick layer of ash landing on the spectators. Several of the canisters misfired, sending a wave of fiery sparks all over the field. It was exciting!
When we weren't being entertained, the kids ran free and we people-watched. I know the girls felt let down, I hadn't bought then holiday sarees and all their friends were dressed up in silks and linens, sarees and tunics, scarves (dupatta), glitter and gold. Next year I won't have any excuse. If I'd only found a tailor and had their outfits made, though we've agreed that first they'll get a tunic and pants (aka salwar kameez). A full saree will come much later.
Katherine hung around with her friends, wandering the playground and field, giggling about this and that. Jonathon preferred to stay at the playground while Nicholas ran around with his friends, Sean and Jack, playing tag. Rebecca, for whatever reason, spent a good part of her time with us. Though Ian and I don't often mix with the other consulate families at these functions, I know that I felt quite content just being in the mix with waves of kids and flurries of activites all around. It helped that the weather was gorgeous and sitting on bleachers watching the world go by was nothing short of relaxing. Yes, it's good to be in India.

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