Wednesday, March 19, 2008

India Rubber Bel

I'm back again in the land of silly head gear and beaming smiles. It has been nearly a week filled with the not only familiar, but expected intensity of events and emotion. I came out, mainly because I could, having a break before my new job starts, but also because I arrogantly assumed that the prospect of disappointing me would spur the old folk at Keelalathur not to let me down but to create a garden.

The first weekend here was spent with Arun in a hill station in Andra Pradesh, peculiarly called Horsley Hills. I had never heard of it, but of course that is the benefit of being friends with a tour operator, they know the best destinations. We stayed on a beautiful hilltop on a finger of Andra pointing between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka overlooking the adjacent state's plains. The drive there was wonderful; the red dust proving a perfect foil for the lining of neem trees along the road; powerful wafts of jasmine causing heart-stopping distraction from the companionable conversation. Every now and then Arun would sigh deeply and longingly as we passed either a Toyota Innova or a 17 wheeler truck (don't ask me, it's mystifying. Must be something to do with the Y chromosome). I guess he was equally mystified by my visceral delight in the bluely blooming Jacaranda trees and their heavy furry seeds.

I arrived at RUHSA on Monday. It has been wonderful so far. I have an enchanting new Canadian neighbour, this time called Laura. Obviously being staggeringly nosey I interrogated her immediately as to what she was doing, why she was here etc etc. She explained that she was an independent volunteer who came out on the off chance and is working on a project for eldely welfare which started as a pilot project in Keelalathur. How exciting is that? Here is someone who is working on the project and it is nothing to do with me. I felt so proud I thought I would burst. In fact I think I scared her a bit with the intensity of my enthusiasm for her work. Eventually, after I had stopped babbling and was able to explain more calmly why I was so excited, she stopped looking so terrified.

After I dropped my luggage off I went to see Immanuel as usual, who was charming as usual, giving nothing away as usual. Jebaraj came bounding out to tell me that he had been waiting for me all morning. Another elderly welfare centre had been started and he wanted me to come to see it. As if that weren't enough, Kalaimanai asked when I would be going to Keelalathur because they had a surprise for me. I was in seventh heaven, the project is getting bigger and bigger and it seems to have it's own set of legs which are running furiously in a great direction. Totally and utterly thrilling.

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