Friday, October 21, 2011

Hellos, Review, and Bondas

Every morning I give mental "hellos" to the dhoti boys. They don't realize it but they have become a part of my daily routine. Today was particularly adventurous, because as I stood on the balcony of our guesthouse I saw a cluster of them running toward the roof. Perhaps they were late? The pre-teens scurried up to the rooftop and retied their loosened dhotis. It was like watching a silent Chaplin movie, but in color. The same jerky movements, the same hyperactivity, not quite as much action, but entertaining nevertheless.

We didn't go to the field today. Instead, all the teams met up and reviewed what they had found in the past three days of visiting settlements. It was interesting to hear not only the findings of each team, but the approaches they took. While Naveen and I had more or less stuck to the questions given to us, some teams had simply conversed on any connections that came about. As a result, they had developed much deeper connections with certain individuals, who then led them to other IDP settlements. Tatha and Tejaswini spoke about one girl in particular, who was studying in the 10th standard. She had written a letter to the government detailing the problems in her community. Such drive toward positive change was refreshing, since I had encountered only those that chose to accept their pathetic condition instead of attempting to better it.

Today was Karthik and Chetana's last day, so after the review meeting, they treated us to Bhajji and Bonda. Initially, I labelled all the snacks as pakodas, since it was simply items dipped in a batter and fried. But Bondas were much more than just pakodas. They were crispy on the outside and wondrously soft and doughy on the inside. I concede that Bhondas are not pakodas, but Bhajjis still fall in the pakoda category.

Bondas, the non-pakodas (Photo Credit:

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