Thursday, January 19, 2006

3rd Week of the Year

So this week was pretty crazy we had, Alana (just graduated from BW in Psyc), Ryan (Sociology-which apparently linked with the Anthro dept at BW- you would never find that at Emory) and Jeremy (Graduated from GW Grad school after a 5 year program BS/MSW-social work) now he's at Berkeley school of divinity. The challenge was to go out with them on my quickly diminishing funds.

I got up bright and early for my 9:30am Katak class. I’m actually getting better, and I’m just at the point where things start really getting difficult and I need to practice more than just while I cook dinner. I’ve learned the 4 basic steps, 4 different ways of doing chatkurs (spins), 8 specific arm movements, 8 bols (rhythmic variations), and 3 variations of step 4. I’m even starting to actually make a little bit of a slapping noise when I step. Hopefully I’ll be able to deserve to wear the bells by March. I got back home made lunch for everyone and we headed out (late) to the Kali Temple. We didn’t actually get in. There was some ceremony or sacrifice going on and the line was out-the-door and around the corner. So we went and walked around the Kolkata park instead and ended up at Fire and Ice (the one good pizzeria) for dinner. Avo, Karan and Sujit (who just got back to town) met us for dinner as well. A little later Neela and a bunch more came in for dessert. The crepes were great. On a random note we decided to make one of the folded fortunetellers like the ones you would make in grade school (or that Naima and I made for Robbie’s birthday last year). According to it I get to be Happily-ever-after within a year of Jan 15th 2006 and Andy gets to go home with someone fun. Unfortunately Neela ended up killing all of her pets.

We were supposed to go to Latin night on Monday (which is by far the best night at the live band club we go to called Someplace Else -read only live band club in Kolkata) But they switched the nights to Saturday. Great for the band crappy for us, we ended up at Roxy, a loungey-bar type place. Roxy has a pretty cool atmosphere (ice-cream spoons-or at least the shape of them on the walls, chain mail curtains, and little ritzy), expensive drinks and a pretty poor DJ. Ryan and I spent most of the night laughing about how he “acted like a DJ” but didn’t quite get it right. He had on headphones, but both ears were covered. He would do the little DJ dance bob thing, and shift around a lot behind the counter. Essentially he was just choosing what CDs he wanted to listen to and playing them with no transition whatsoever. Sometimes he would stop a song in the middle and re-start it.

I had a meeting with Pradeep Kashyap, the Executive Director of the America India Foundation who funds my fellowship. We met at the oldest and most exclusive club in Kolkata, the Bengal Club. His brother was the president. It was truly how the other half lives. Pradeep had just come from visiting CINI ASHA that works with Street Kids and the children of Sex Workers and couldn’t help pointing out the juxtaposition when his brother’s conversation turned to who would be and who wouldn’t be allowed into the club. Overall, It was one of those cases where you don't know exactly what to do because there was too much silverware on the table and servants everywhere. The worst part was I was the first one served, since I was a female and a guest. So I served myself some fish (which was the main dish) and when I looked at my plate I noticed that there was a small cockroach like bug in the veggies also steamed and sautéed to perfection. Now, do I make a scene right next to the president of the club or try to conceal it until I can brush it on the floor with my napkin. I opted for b and I can say it wasn't easy. He invited us back to his place for dinner, which turned out to be a huge celebration for his uncle turning 79. Open Bars and the who's-who of Kolkata. I met the executive producer of a documentary film company and a concert pianist from Slovakia on tour. It was definitely how the other half lives, but much fun anyway.

We went dancing at Shi Shas, which I just found out, was a hookah bar. The real reason we went out was it was Jeremy, Alana and Ryan’s last night in Kolkata and we wanted to have at least one good dancing night. Unfortunately, the DJ really kinda sucked for the first 1/2 and played old 1980's power ballads, Avo and I theorized he just went through a breakup. When the ballads stopped he moved onto the early 90's music, everything from “I saw the sign” to “Like the Dessert misses the Rain” and “Let’s talk about Sex.” I got so frustrated I started going back and requesting song after song that he did not play. After about an hour of ½ filled dance floor he played Maghelena (one of my new personal anthems, and we all know what happens when they play a song I really like). Then he, finally, just gave up and played Bollywood, so everyone was dancing. Even Jeremy had a dance before the night was over. Alana, Neela, Avo, and I were up for most of the night. Andy and Ryan definitely made their presence known on the dance floor as well.

Yesterday was a normal office day. Alana, Ryan and Jeremy left and I finished the indicators for Youth Friendliness and got them into a viable checklist for evaluation of projects. When Andy and I came home we found a sweet card left from the guys.

Today I'm exhausted; I started doing Yoga and ended up almost sleeping on the floor. Thank heaven the weekend is in sight.

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