First you Make a Square…

As I sit on a couch at Barista Lavazza typing away, listening to music, staring out at the lazy Sunday Park Street shoppers, I can’t help but feel so at home. I’ve grown comfortable and quite fond of my daily routine in Kolkata: my commute to work; my monotonous but healthy meals consisting of rice, daal and subji; grocery shopping and bargaining at the neighborhood market; and constantly cleaning our apartment of the dust buildup. Time is flying by and while I feel like I haven’t seen enough or done enough around the city, I’m secretly enjoying the pace of life I’ve set for myself here. My parents arrive in India tonight and in two weeks time, my cousin will also be visiting me. It feels a little unreal that by that time, I will already have been in India for almost four months. India has been both persistent and unchanging and full of surprises at the same time.

A cultural exchange with co-workers

The holidays are around the corner and as such, the Kolkata Krew has been busy getting into the spirit of it. We spent a couple nights cutting paper snowflakes out of magazines and plastering our apartment walls with them. What began as an I’m-feeling-creative-session, soon turned into a cathartic exercise, enabling me to look back on the last few months in Kolkata and make fresh plans for the coming new year. Our previously bare walls are unrecognizable now – they’re decorated with snowflakes in a range of colors, sizes and shapes (yes, we have some rectangular blobs as it took us a while to figure our how to give them a circular shape. Lesson learned – you have to make a square first, thanks Margy!).

Inspired by success from the night before, we took a brief snowflake-making break at Anudip on Friday. I talked about the holiday season in the States and demonstrated to a few co-workers how to cut a snowflake – first you make a square out of the magazine paper and keep folding it into triangles. Then you cut various designs into the folded paper and voila, there you have your masterpiece! It was encouraging to see my co-workers wide-eyed as they watched me unfold the tiny triangle and see it turn into a beautiful design. They have taught me so much about their lives and culture that it felt good to share something with them in return. Happy holidays everyone!

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