Friday, April 30, 2010

Prepping for a Special Visit

The Sarpanch has agreed to speak with the residents of Shreeji ka Kheda. Though the meeting is scheduled for next week, we wanted to meet with everyone beforehand to sort out which issues discuss. We arranged the pre-Sarpanch meeting to be held today evening by the mandir. At 6 pm, I wasn't surprised to find just 4-5 men sitting by the temple. If there's one thing I've realized about these people it's that they don't mess around with dinner time. This was no exception.

A few women joined us and we proceeded with the "meeting". Some things required immediate attention like the water issue and a few women not receiving pension. A veiled woman looked on from afar. I nodded toward her, indicating that she join us. She was still veiled when she sat next to me. The woman slowly lifted her gunghat, her face still hidden from nearby males. It was Sita Bai, one of our students. She spoke in a hussed voice. I have not received my palanhar payments for the past three months. Sita Bai seemed worried. I told her to speak up at the Sarpanch meeting next week. You'll have to be loud, even if men are there. Her sense of shame amongst the men would not help her in getting what she needed. She quietly agreed.

It wasn't a long meeting and quickly transitioned into an informal chatting session. As I got up to leave, Meera Bai tugged my braid from behind and pulled me into her home. She's a spunky one, that Meera. After a few minutes of Banter we headed home.

The stars shone bright and a cool breeze whipped in the darkness. This was in stark contrast to the windless heat that taunted us in the daytime. Now, the pleasant wind carried the scent of wet earth, often a precursor to rain. The sky lit up periodically from what appeared to be lightning. It was raining close enough for us to relish the whiff of soaked land, but I heard no thunder. Soon enough, it will rain here. Until then, I'll satiate my craving for cooler weather through nights like these.

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