Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Pongal

Today is the second day of the 3-day Pongal festivities celebrated in the Tamil Nadu state. We are also experiencing a full eclipse of the sun today between 9 am and 4 pm. Most natives stay inside and fast during this time.

Here you see me helping to prepare the special sweet pastries for the first day of this Thanksgiving holiday. Today our cow is being decorated because it is the day to honour the sacred cows. Tomorrow is the day to visit the family guru. It is also our guru's birthday!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Welcome Home

The top photo shows the entrance to our community site as it looked a week ago. Everything is in flux as we continue renovating and planting.

Finally! Outside my apartment, it is still a construction site, but I moved in on Christmas Day. There is a bed (borrowed) and a mattress (coconut fiber filling, new). I sewed together a few strips of leftover material at the tailor shop to make do as sheets until I find the time to go to Pondicherry and get some conventional ones. I am recycling a few cardboard boxes as tables. One long narrow box, that was used to deliver the solar heating system is now upright and serving as my "armoire". It is fun to live so simply. The shower and toilet are working and today they started to put in he windows.....wonderful!

During my first week here, I helped to make this little Zen garden. We made it with bits and pieces that were left over from the stonemasons and bricklayers. I go by everyday to pull some weeds and sweep away the leaves. The second photo shows a flowering plant growing through a former wall decoration.

No matter how chaotic things may seem sometimes, visiting this garden keeps me stay grounded.