Well, here I am in Bangalore. Cows in the road–check. The craziest driving I’ve ever seen in my life–check. Amazing colorful saris everywhere you look–check. And those are just the work-a-day cotton saris.
Today I tagged along to an alternative school, where most of the students’ time is spent in self-directed activities. I sat in on a geography class for some middle-school-age kids preparing for a big standardized test in a couple years. While they were reviewing their homework and helping each other improve their answers, some other kids were out in the yard playing non-competitive cricket, and another was in the music room playing basically every piano piece I ever used to know how to play (including that absurdly complicated Rachmaninov). Tomorrow is Raksha Bandhan, so some girls were fingerloop-braiding bracelets for their brothers. I sat down on a doorstep with a couple of them and worked on my knitting while we chatted. Inside, preschool-age kids were playing tea parties, and elementary-age kids were having one-on-one reading time with one of the teachers. At lunch time, the teachers gathered in the kitchen and traded idlis and dosas. Kids wandered in to ask for help opening tiffins and to wash their hands. In the afternoon, I showed the teachers and older kids how to do card-weaving. They were all really into it, and were watching very carefully to figure out how it worked. The kids were all very insistent that I have to come back tomorrow and help them set up their own warps.