For the past three days I have been teaching Hindi to the girls who work the night shift at the brick-making factory. The number of students ranged from 2-4, out of which two strike me as dedicated. Jasodha, Nandram's daughter and Bali, our neighbor's younger girl. They are constantly striving to fix their mistakes, especially since I've invented a "game" called Let's-see-who-makes-the-biggest-and-prettiest-letter. It could use a better name, but it helps them recall the different vowels without the banal drone of alphabet recitation.
In the afternoon, Nikhil and Shantaji went to the NREGA work site to speak with the women. Many had indicated they would attend literacy classes, but hadn't been doing so. After a short discussion, the women decided to hold the classes at the NREGA site itself. At noon, under the shade of a large tree, our rescheduled classes start tomorrow.
We got our charpai re-weaved in the evening. A few days ago, we purchased 3 kilos worth of patti, which Nandram put in today. Sitting on a firm bed seemed like decadence after nights of sleeping on old patti, weathered and weighted down unevenly.
While Nandram was re-weaving the patti in our room, his family was sitting against the walls, curiously observing our belongings. The marble chakla we roll rotis on was one of the first items Shanti Bai noticed. Jasodha pointed out both the doli I carried the matka on and hte one that supported our clay water pot. She's got some sharp eyes.What are you going to do with this? Nandram was looking at the two empty water bottles lying in the dustbin. I can carry water in them for work. We offered the 2 litre bottles to him, bringing much excitment on Lakshmi's face. The younger daughter rolled one bottle in her palms, the hollow plastic crackled. Her mother sharply barked at her to stop. Such wonder at simple things. We possess more than the majority of India's billion.
Living with limited resources makes each addition feel like a treat. Take for instance, achaar. Usually, I down the stuff by the spoonful. However, I am carefully saving the two jars of mango and garlic pickle we purchased from Baneda. From now on, it comes out on special occasions.