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What I love about India

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Happy 70th Independence Day India! Photo not mine, just grabbed from google images.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that I’m incredibly in love with India. I have been to India only twice (2015 and 2017) and have set foot only in four states (Karnataka, Jaipur, Delhi, Calcutta). But my love affair with India started long before 2015.

Let me pay homage to this beautiful country which I love as my own. How do I love India? Let me state the ways.

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Van verses

red earth

On the six-hour van trip from Mondulkiri to Phnom Penh this morning, I got bored listening to music and decided to write down some thoughts that have been in my mind the past few days. What came out are four simple verses which I can’t really call poems, lest my real poet friends disown me, if they haven’t already. I have not been writing poetry for some time, and (spoiler alert: brandishing rare bragging right!) although I personally got praise for my poetry from Herminio S.Beltran, editor of Ani, Cultural Center of the Philippines Literary Anthology for some of my works published there ages ago, I let my literary sword rust for years. Everyone knows there’s no excuse for writing bad poetry, so I’m just ranting here.
Lastly, three things: first is that these are about and not about Cambodia. Cambodia is just a trigger because I’ve been here four weeks already and trying to soak in as much as I could, but as I started typing on my cellphone, I realized its about many places, Cambodia, Philippines, India, and other places I have read about or seen in pictures, generic places I have created in my mind; second, simple as these verses might seem, I invite you to go beyond the first level of interpretation, and if you find something, let me know; third, I encourage you to write your thoughts. It doesn’t matter if you don’t consider yourself a writer. It doesn’t have to be a poem or essay in their strict sense. If you feel passionately about something, just write about it i the language you are comfortable with, never mind grammar and rules, just write, and see where that journey takes you.

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How I met my new brother Manik (or the end to a series of unfortunate events)

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Kolkata road to the airport. View from taxi. Sign of things to come.

 

Last week, I came home to the Philippines after my second visit to India in 1 ½ years. The trip was so terribly eventful, that after the first week, I broke down in tears wanting to immediately come home. But after I have cried my eyes out, I resolved to finish what I had started, a training that I wanted too much and invested so much into. The second week’s unfortunate events did not let up, but I had a respite in the good company of Lorina who was training coordinator in the 2015 workshop. She graciously invited me to stay with her after the training.

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Incredibly in love with India

The rocky mountains of Kolar. Photo taken by Marion Ivy Guillermo

The rocky mountains of Kolar. Photo taken by Marion Ivy Guillermo

I wanted to give this post the title “The Story of Me Falling In Love With India And Its Hospitality”, but then I would have to add, Apologies to the German Girl who wrote an article of the same title.

http://thelogicalindian.com/my-story/the-story-of-me-falling-in-love-with-india-and-its-hospitality/

Trying to keep it simple, I came out with this.

The story of me falling in love with India is the story of ‘I knew I love you before I met you.’ Since I was young, I have always been fascinated by photos of starkly beautiful women with piercing eyes, wearing wonderfully coloured sari. It has always been in my bucket list of countries to visit: England, Egypt, and India.

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Children need trees

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Field work at Chickabompalli, learning from the community. Photo by Shaiju Chacko

An amazing thing (among many!), at least for me, happened during the field work our group had for The Workshop 2015 (19th Praxis Commune for Participatory Development). The facilitators wanted at least each of the four foreign participants to join different groups. I was luckily made part of this awesome group composed of Shaiju, Nidhi, Nancy, Nitin and Afsar. Shaiju proposed for the group to be named Phil-Indies, marrying the names of the two countries represented.