Journal: Before breakfast we gathered in the dining area in one's and two's as we normally do. Today those of us who were early got to see a sari dressing demonstration as Sheeba dressed Maria in her beautiful white and coral polka dot Sari.
After breakfast the teams dispersed for their regular scheduled assignments: SEAMS construction, Assissi Allam Team, and
After morning assignments we drove to Stephen's parents where his parents took us into their home. We were treated to a a beautiful lunch prepared by Stephen's mother. Here we had the opportunity to meet not only Stephen's parents, but also Rebecca and Monica, Stephen's brother's wife and daughter.
Later in the day we returned to our evening assignments. And this evening we were in for a special treat. Stephen and Sheeba took us to the shopping area of Chennai where locals shop ~ the Las Vegas of Chennai. Our first stop, Saravana was a riot of colors as beautiful saris in every color and design and Fabric caught our eyes. Rich silks woven with gold, soft silks and cottons and rayon blends in every shade from gentle pastels to intense purples, fuschIas and gold, hung fan like from the ceilings. And stacks of boxes and piles of clothes. On the basement level were sari blouses and skirts. Upper floors sold chudidah, men's clothes and food stuff, all manner of wonderful things.
When we left the sari shop some went looking for gold in the gold store,while others went to the silver shop. Earrings bracelets, anklets. Anything anyone could want.
The evening ended with a sometimes too thrilling auto rickshaw ride back to the guest house.
On Saturday morning, I was driven to the massage center with Steven, our fearless driver at the wheel. (Brother of our Steven Raj, our Global Volunteers country and team leader - yes, two Stevens, and that is another story!) While we are on a personal note here, we have two wonderful and wonderfully-married couples: Steven and his wife, Sheeba whose arranged marriage of 9 many years has bestowed on them a very smart little boy, Roshan; they work together, sometimes around the clock, for GV., and almost around the year.
Our other couple, J and M, met online - the opposite of an arranged marriage? Another story! We will not suggest there is a boss, but M. has garnered great respect managing the construction team... And we have seen her in action, when the team had to do an emergency removal of about a cubic metre of sand one night before dinner, to prepare for an inspection; she forged us new construction workers into a smooth machine in minutes.
We have yet to meet the family of Steven, the driver, and it will happen on Wednesday, when we visit the parents of the Stevens for lunch - yes, all of us: a most anticipated event!
I cannot resist a few comments about two fascinating elements of this country, through my eyes - the chaos and the color.
And so to the colors of
If not the sari, a practical chuvididar may be worn. In an infinite variety of fabrics, we find it very desirable, as witnessed by buying dozens for ourselves at the so convenient MetroMart just around the corner!
At the other end of the spectrum, in the 'neutrals' column, are the cows, most revered; the goats - prettiest; and the dogs, inbred into a homogenized body shape; all in all shades of beige, gray and not-quite-white. We learned the cows do have homes with owners, get milked every day, and go home to calve. It is good to know that they are not interminably wandering the streets searching for food.
Here's to the great movies: Water; Earth; Fire; The Heat and the Dust; Slum Dog Millionaire; Best Marigold Hotel (an actual fantasy of mine!)