'Tis (II)

(As written on 15th November 2013)

It’s only been a little over three months of living in Ladakh. But it feels much longer, perhaps that is because I have managed to find good friends in such a less time. And I have an awesome neighbour that I enjoy good conversations with, and who feeds me good food. I look forward to going to school not only because there is never a dull day with the students but also because my friends will be there. The past couple of weeks or so some of the teachers and I had been working really hard at giving our students a memorable Children’s Day. The day has come and gone now. We performed a couple of dances for them, one Tibetan and the other Ladakhi, and had a blast while at it. And of course there was an encore for the Ladakhi dance because kids rarely see a male teacher twirling around a female teacher, holding her by the hand. Except my partner was a student, lack of male teachers willing to dance, you see. Anyway, engaging in this activity has been a good break for us from the ‘teacher’ drill, and hence all the seriousness that has to accompany it. One is never too old to have fun, one simply needs to be wise about when, where and how to have it because there is that image to maintain, love it or hate it. And the fact that I live in a conservative society doesn’t exactly help. Anyway, I’ve realized I never want to grow old. By that I mean I never want my spirit to grow old, the physical body I couldn’t do anything about. I want to keep having fun. And by fun I mean I want to not take myself or my life too seriously all the time. I want to keep remembering to give myself a break from common expectations, from propriety, and just breathe; laugh till my stomach hurts, and not care what another might think. If life were a person, she would be impressed by that.

Moving on to practical details of life here I often go broke, partly because I forget I’m supposed to “manage” my money and mostly because I have been preparing for the winter, which is finally here. I love it so far. I celebrated my debut snowfall hopping around solo inside the house in excitement, and often stepping out to feast my eyes on what I had admired only in movies until then. Perhaps I could have rung up somebody but it was still early in the morning. I suppose I am rich in experiences here, so it doesn’t bother me too much that I always end up struggling to make ends meet. Irrespective of my financial condition this is the most free I have ever felt in my life, and the most happy. I know I will miss this time of my life when I am older. I will not get it back so I must make the most of it. Make the most of my time in this beautiful place loved by God, and make the most of my time in the school particularly. The kids I carry in my heart, although they are often on the verge of breaking my vocal cords. One tactic I’ve now learned is to sit quietly for a while and stare at them, see how long their uncontrollable fits continue. It eventually ceases. I suppose they’re used to being screamed at, but not stared at. Bundles of mischief and joy. Okay, I do really sound like a mother. I keep thinking about how they will be leaving me soon, moving on to the next class and the next class teacher. Perhaps it’s hard because this is my first time. I will learn the tricks of the trade soon enough, maybe. And anyway, I will have a new class and perhaps fall in love with them the same.

I am going to be away during the winter vacation this time; the deal is to spend time with my family and I look forward to seeing them and other old faces. Besides there are these friends who after a long wait are finally getting married (yippee!!); but I am nervous about leaving Leh. Funny how you fall in love with a place. You could say I am too much in love these days, in love with the kids and in love with Leh. God knows how this is going to turn out. For now this is my happy little world, but perhaps the family world and the “expectations” world are going to catch up and burst the bubble soon enough, if you know what I mean. Honestly, I am dreading that possibility. But I better just go with the flow. Anyway, everything is alright and everything will be alright. I believe that. 


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