Travel Bug

Visiting a village.

Sunitha and I spent a few days visiting her uncle and other relatives in a small village a few hours from her house.  Like the college in Kerala, I was the first foreigner to ever set foot in that little town.  I remember walking with Sunitha’s cousin down the street, and a little girl about as tall as my waist passed me.  She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw me, her jaw dropped and her black eyes grew as round as lollipops as she took in my light coloring.  She and her friends followed me down the street for a while, as Sunitha’s cousin led me to visit her high school.  The cousin, Ankita, was a beautiful girl of 14, with curly black hair and cocoa skin – she had dreams of being an actress too, and talked to me about auditions and movies and Bollywood.  We reached her school at the end of the day, when all of the students were gathered on the field to do exercises.  About 700 children, ages 8-16, were on the grass doing yoga poses and running in place as a teacher called out instructions.  Ankita introduced me to her English teacher, who was very excited to meet me.  We started to walk back down the street towards her house, and at that very same moment school let out for the day.  So it was purely by coincidence that I found myself at the head of a parade of 700 or more kids, singing songs and laughing, trying to get close enough to touch my blonde hair.  It was straight out of a movie  – and as if it weren’t cinematic enough, just then Ankita’s uncle rode up to us on a red motorcycle, picked us out of the crowd and carried us on his back back to their house.


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