Tuesday, 4 November 2014

I am 1 in 10,000..

(Ravi's Wedding Reception, Pondicherry. India 30.10.2014) 

As much as I am enjoying the food in my new home in a small village called ‘Thiruvalangadu’ in South India, I do miss ‘Del Aziz’ bakery in Fulham, London. Capturing the flavours and scents of the Mediterranean, they offer a wide range of contemporary and traditional dishes reflecting the flavours of the French provinces to the Lebanese mountains via the souks of north Africa.

Who needs ‘Del Aziz’ bakery when you have a cheerful, smiley Chai Tea man? Business is booming in Thiruvalangadu Village, and the other international volunteers and I usually have to queue up just to get our grocery shopping done. The food is the main reason why I am enjoying my time in this village. The locals are welcoming and faithful to foreigners; I will definitely miss this environment. Thiruvalangadu village is famous for the Sri Vataaranyeswarar Temple, a very ancient temple which has big history. In my opinion this temple is such a great place to visit.

My teaching experience in Thiravulangandu Village

When I taught my first class, I was so stressed out and panicked after seeing 70 students in one small class room. Luckily, I was not alone and the health team were there to help me teach and start getting to know the kids. Firstly, we introduced the health team to the kids and gave them a little background information about Restless Development. We were teaching the kids more about Malaria prevention and general health related issues. The kids also come around after school and we use the Youth Resource Centre to teach them different things.

(International Citizen Service, Restless Development. 2014)

(Computer Class, Youth Resource Centre. Thiruvalangadu)
(Youth Resource Centre, English Class. Thiruvalangadu)

It took us 5 hours road trip to get to Pondicherry city from Thiruvalangadu village. As soon as we arrived, we quickly started getting dressed, looking for anyone to do our Saris since none of us knew how to wear a Sari. (Hijab friendly Sari for Ladan, thank you). Attending an Indian wedding in Pondicherry town was fascinating and unique. The town offers a unique experience with its mix of modern heritage and spiritual culture. With a predominantly historical background, Pondicherry takes centuries back in time. Though very small, Pondicherry was the largest French colony in India. The city has a long and interesting history of trade and war. There is a strong French influence in the city, especially in the old quarters, with Rues and Boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries, although the city remains very much Indian. French is still understood; the whole city makes for rather pleasant mix of East and West.
I have spent some time in Tamil Nadu especially in villages and by the time I approached Pondicherry by land, I experienced a mild culture shock on discovering French architecture and restaurants serving steak, classic French croissants, Italian dishes and wine. Pondicherry is very much a city with a dual personality: crossing from East to West of the central canal reveals two cities with very different characters. On our way to the wedding, I remember asking the driver to play some Tamil songs. (Start the party early eyy). With Indian weddings, wide array of vibrant colours, food and rituals are all blended together in a large and long celebration.
(Ravi's Wedding Reception, Pondicherry. India 30.10.2014)  
(Ravi's Wedding Reception, Pondicherry. India 30.10.2014) 

(Ravi's Wedding Reception. Pondicherry)

(Jen, Roberta, Cara, Jay and Me)
(Roberta, Mabel and Cara)
Fortunately, there is no specific dress code at Indian weddings. I dressed modestly with traditional sari to show some respect and even got my henna done. When it comes to the colour of clothes, I always choose bright colours in India, which are always welcomed at this auspicious occasion. One of the national volunteers in my village gave me a great clothing tip for the wedding. He clearly told me not to wear bright red, which is traditional reserved for the bride. Typically, an Indian wedding lasts at least 3 days, even up to a week! From pre-wedding rituals like Mehndi (henna) to the 2-3 hours long main ceremony and finally, the reception, there are a lot of events taking place and I was lucky to be invited to one. The wedding was a success; both the groom and the bride looked elegant and well dressed. (Masha allah)

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  1. Glad to know you are serving in rudimentary which is near tony place tiruvallur, curious to know what you do

  2. Glad to know you are serving in rudimentary which is near tony place tiruvallur, curious to know what you do

  3. Glad to know you are serving in rudimentary which is near tony place tiruvallur, curious to know what you do