As November passes quickly, I figured out what they do at one of Avani's (NGO) remote weaving centers, found my balance in the words of Osho, the profound talker, welcomed a new volunteer, wolfed down a special meal in secret, and witnessed the local office heating method.
When Purunda, our weaving expert said he was headed to Sukna, a weaving center about 2 km from the nearest road, I begged him to let me come and scrambled to pack my bag with a toothbrush and a few books, including a new comic in Hindi that I am nowhere near understanding. After a packed jeep ride filled with the popular smell of lemon aftershave, we hopped out and descended down a trail, past a few homes and trellassed vegetable plots, meanwhile Purunda's radio blared the India-England cricket game. I guess the got a few hundred points and won. For more on cricket, watch "Lagaan" which I can't seem find a copy of.
At Sukna we were greeted with rice, which my already upset stomach happly accepted. I watched the spinners that afternoon as they transfered treads, dyed naturally back at my center, to spindles for easy loading onto the weaving looms, meanwhile Purunda examined the fabrics being woven. That evening we walked out to watch the sun set on a full Himalayan panorama, collecting acorns on the way back for a fire. I tried to talk to a tree as Osho had suggested. We ate yams, big mistake, and my night's slumber was frequently interrupted by freezing trips to the outhouse - higher altitute means lower temperature. After sleeping all morning, thus cancelling a temple visit, I helped sort scrap fibers, learning the difference between silk and wool threads and honing cross-legged sitting technique on the ground (or at least a tolerance numb feet). The next morning, our last, I sat in the sun with Purunda, reading the thinker, Osho, on Taoism and leaning left and right, to eventually come back to the center. Envy crept up on me as I watched Purunda sit idly, but content, in the sunshine, happy with his own thoughts or inner peace, or whatever held him in his seat, while I sought the distraction of texts.
Back at the main center, three foreign visitors had come and gone, and a new volunteer had come to stay for her three month tenure. Trying to help Jessica settle in, a recent textile graduate from southern England, I felt very established here in my habits and interactions, even if my stomach remained unsettled. I was even invited to an evening meal of chicken, cooked up in the machine shop, keeping the veg kitchen clean.
The official auditors, stealing my red pen for their two day visit, brought the rain with them, which caused the temperature to drop drastically. While my ground-breaking heater-radiator design goes unbuilt in our workshop, the office was heated with a pan full of coals and an open window to ventilate. The auditors took a break from work to watch an Indian war movie, peering through a smoky room into a smoky battlefield of explosions and gunfire.
Films have increased in interest tenfold since I discovered subtitles available for download online. Reading subtitles trumps reading body language like a full house to a pair of queens, I say, as I read reviews of the gambling James Bond's newest film I am unable to watch... yet. It's only a 60 km hike, or 100 km jeep ride, to the nearest movie theater and my feet are starting to itch.