my last few weeks in India, the hectic tragedy of exiting a place that I wasn’t ready to leave overwhelmed the usual news I like to report; but the usual newsmaking carried along nicely. Our remaining solar-powered flashlights winged their ways out to reach rural communities in north Andhra through a network created for an innovative library system. In order to serve a widespread population, a single library collection is divided among multiple communities, and the segments are periodically rotated so each community ultimately makes use of the entire collection. And when I say winged, I mean travel by train, then car, then by foot to reach these villages, along the same routes as all those books.
To my astonishment, delight, and surprise (it was hot out) our plants began to catch from their cuttings and sprout or survive –
As our last art project together, I asked the children to draw muggulu for me. Muggulu (or rangoli) are the geometric designs drawn as a symbol of welcome or celebration in front of entrances to homes, shops, schools… and sometimes inside too… and they’re beautiful. Traditionally, the dots and lines are formed by sprinkling rice flour, but in the city I usually saw them drawn with chalk or white paint. On special occasions, they would sprout sprinklings of red kum kum, yellow turmeric powder, or delicate flower petals that never blew away in the hot still air –
Chalk, white paint, crayons, stickers, pencils, and markers actually.