Dec. 1st: The First Day of Advent

I woke up and went to Hennur (slightly North-East) to meet with Shenelle and Anaka’s family for their Advent breakfast. I discovered my haggling trump card. It takes a hard-nosed person to pull the auto prices down. The drivers have all sorts of wild stories to “justify” inflating the price by 5x. When I speak Kannada the auto-drivers are so delighted by my cute attempt to sound stern that they smile, “Kannada Super!” My pitiful whimpering Kannada melts their hearts and lowers the price. Friends propel me into the city. My time left here feels microscopic already. After a bumpy start I met the family at Anaka’s apartment. The family was large and had all sorts of foods on the table. The family is Anglo-Indian so they have British names such as Windsor, Alistair, Kenneth, Abigail, and Jackie. They all pumped me full of food. I talked with various uncles and then sat in a separate room with the younger members of the family.

After the gathering thinned we watched Shenelle and Lyell’s Youtube videos. They are musicians. Shenelle has gigs throughout Bangalore and even internationally. She is building her celebrity on the side. She reminds me of my sister. Pursuing a masters while performing gigs and working with special-needs youths.

Here is a video they made together. If you ever had a Skype Date with a long distance lover then you would pick up on the theme of the video. I’ don’t know if that was the intention, but that was what I felt.

After Youtube time, we watched some Bollywood videos and Kal Ho Na Ho. I had actually rented KHNH in Japan, but couldn’t keep up with the Hindi to Japanese subtitles. The movie has a really silly representation of America. During the movie the seven of us, Anaka and Shenelle’s relatives included, were served lunch by their maid. The maid culture is still a bit new for me. I feel really decadent having someone wait on me. I understand that this is the culture in India, so I tried to silently assume that the situation wasn’t new for me. For economic reasons it makes sense and it benefits both parties. I just wonder what it teaches children. They are left dependent on others for little tasks. If I had had a maid, I wouldn’t have learned to modestly cook, fix my toilet & sink, sew, or do all sorts of little things that make my life run smoothly. If I lived in a country where maids were affordable, I wouldn’t have a maid until my children moved out of the house. I would want them to learn the skills and patience of chores. Thanks Grandpa

In the middle of the movie two of the uncles returned from the church with a guitar. Then the entire family had a prayer meeting. They asked me if I would be comfortable attending or if I wanted to go out with Kenneth (Anaka’s boyfriend). I was so charmed by the consideration that it made me want to attend even more. For roughly one hour we sat in the living room and listened to one of the uncles play guitar and lead the family in simple devotionals. The experience was very relaxing for my mind, but not my stomach. I had had some very Indian food for breakfast and lunch. Gas was building up in my stomach. I had to jiggle and dance not to release any. This slight discomfort probably translated onto my face.

After the meeting, I volunteered to go with them to distribute blankets in the streets on Friday. They are doing all sorts of things to prepare for Christmas, charity included. I will enjoy hanging out with them and seeing Bengaluru through their eyes. So now I am hanging out with the Christians. One of the first days in India, I visited a church in Mumbai. In that church I felt in my gut that I would find friends in Christians. It was written.

The Grandma packed me a dinner and I went home by auto to write this. My day was really marvelous. It took me months to build a community of friends in Japan. In chill madi (chillax) Bengaluru the community came to me. That’s marvelous because I don’t have the time to build one of my own. They will show me and attach me to Bengaluru more than I could have  on my own.

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