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March 07, 2008

Story telling workshop - a story

We attended an interesting workshop at Sita school recently. (I was only able to stay 1 of 3 days). The workshop was about story telling.

It was quite interesting, each of us started with an object, spending a half-hour with the object so it can tell us it's story. Jyoti had kept an assortment of things - shells, stones, thread, etc on the carpet in some bowls that create the psychedelic environment. I decided to pick up the lit candle next to these :).

Turned out that my candle was very laconic and all I could eke out from it was a couple of sentences and had to build a story around it:

It is said that when you decide to find yourself the entire universe conspires to help you (kinda the theme of Paulo Coelho's - Alchemist). So there is a young man (perhaps an engineer) who is not so sure he believes it. He travels to a Zen master and asks him this question.
The Zen master told him that he had travelled a long distance and should rest the night, such questions don't go anywhere and it can be discussed the next morning. The Zen master then hands him a candle and shows him his quarters for the night, but before leaving warns the young man to be careful of a snake that has been seen in the quarters sometimes.
Thanks to the last comment the young man does not get much sleep and stays up looking around with the candle, slowly he gets tired and just starts staring at the candle. In the darkness the man feels that the candle is talking to him. 'Why do you burn my dear candle' asks the young man, 'so you can see' answers the candle. Watching the wax melt around the flame the young man asks 'and why do you weep, dear candle', the candle answers 'because you still can't'.

The stories people told were interesting and we concluded with Jane sharing a version of 'The Magic Brocade (Puppet Show)'. In the afternoon we did the opposite of what we did in the morning - we used the story that Jane told and picked up something we liked and made object/objects out of clay. I liked the puzzles that were thrown to the young man as part of his adventures. One of the puzzles was 'how does water get into wood', asked by the ice sprit to let the boy pass, the answer he choose was a wooden bucket that the wise women was using when she sent him on the journey. Again there were different interpretations and interesting discussion around them.

A year in India

It's been a little more than a year since we moved to India and our plan of exploring what we can do/want to do.

A few things did change from what was planned, but what is life without change. About a month into our travel plans I rejoined the company I was working for (which had been acquired by NXP), but since I had no plans of moving back to Austin I was given the opportunity to join the Bangalore design center instead. This is where I am presently working. We live really close to work so I don't need to deal with the commute though it makes travel for Ani a little difficult in the things she has picked up to do.

Apart from the Thulir experience the most interesting experience was organizing the asha-fellows conference. It was not only great to learn about the many development efforts, but also wonderful to get to know the people; now my friends. The other interesting happening is that we've managed to buy a house for mom. The house is in Bangalore near my sisters place. It will be a little difficult for mom to leave Chennai and having to stop volunteering for Seva Chakkara, but I hope she will be comfortable.

I was also able to visit a few places (though only for short times) Timbaktu, Navadarshanam, Sita School, Bharati Trust Resource Center, Valley School and also got into the habit of reading (a lot) after I move to India. We also attended the learning network conference organized at Deenabandhu Ashram in Chamarajnagar.

At Bangalore we spent some time building an asha runner group and attending the meetings. We also took out the kids from the government schools we work with to Bannerghaeta zoo.