Chalo bache, puja karo

Idhar aao beti

The Golden Temple is an all-ages pilgrimage site. And the kids are pretty damn cute. See below.

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Delhi street gang: Anti-social elements or utter cuteness?

Kids on the prowl

Last December, I explored some old, trash-strewn monuments and stumbled upon a rag-tag bunch of street hoodlums — anti-social elements, as the Indian parlance goes. Thye were running around historical sites hundreds of years old.

And they were up to no good.

Not really. They’re actually adorable kids who just wanted to play. So I decided to have a bit of portrait fun. See below.

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Messing around in the bay

Island goofing off

Crystal bay waters of the Galapagos make for a fun afternoon, after the catch has been brought in. Here a Styrofoam box becomes a makeshift boat. This was just before the kid got tipped over and went into the drink.

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Shuar baby on board

I love taking pictures of little kids

Day-care isn’t a widespread convenience in the Oriente. Many Shuar women take their children with them when they are working — in the jungle, the field or the kitchen. I’m amazed at the amount of work they do with an infant strapped to their back.

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Of masks and swords

Lopen's famous masks cast from mud

The highlight of my student’s cultural program early last month was a performance of the traditional Buddhist Mahakala chaam dance. I had seen the boys practicing but had no idea how elaborate the costumes and show would be.

Also known as the “Dance of Drinking of Blood,” the Mahakala is performed to eliminate obstacles in the Buddhist path.

The dance circle

More photos below.

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Walk jane chahiye!

My 2nd-year Albert (orange) leads Anurag and Phurba along.

I love that my kids are excited to go out for a walk in the woods. When I shout “walk jane!” no fewer than two dozen kids come running. They’re a bit like puppies responding to that command.

It’s also taught me appropriate crowd control measures. 1) Delegate to an older child who will be drunk with power and help you keep the younger ones in line. 2) Force everyone to hold some else’s hand. 3) Take toilet breaks. 4) Buy candy half-way through the walk; do not distribute until end.

It’s our chance to get a bit of exercise, singing and maybe some education together. Once we spotted copulating frogs. Another time, a flying squirrel. And I typically rail against litter whenever we’re out and about.

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Saturday night = momo time

Oh sweet Jesus

Every Saturday afternoon, the kids gather in the kitchen to crank out momos for dinner. It is a glorious sight, these traditional Tibetan wonders.

The students taught me how to properly fold a momo, to get that crescent shape and the bunched edge. I’m particularly bad at it, and they frequently laughed at the momos I made. More pictures below.


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And on the seventh day, they showered

Styled by yours truly

Sunday is the one day of the week that all the boarding school kids are forced to bathe. The school is also scrubbed down. And usually, it means an afternoon of hairstyling. (And checking for lice. Yes, the kids have it. Pray I don’t.)

The kids have tried to do my short hair up all fancy, but it never works. But they sure are fun to mess with.

Above is Yogita, one of the more engaged first-years who is also a good sport whenever I play with her bowl-cut.

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The kids put on a good show

The students put on a show with elaborate costumes and rehearsed dances for their parents, teachers and local residents of our valley.

It was an absolutely fantastic day. If possible, I was even proud.

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Tea time with Subadra

Kaise ho?

The youngest of the students at school and (though I’m not supposed to admit it) probably the cutest. Meet Subadra, a giggly but quiet four-year-old.

She didn’t speak to me until four weeks in, when I helped her say the words egg, nest and nose during an afternoon of English homework. She loved to play peek-a-boo and and hide-and-seek, but she almost always would never speak.

I also tried to teach her the appropriate response to “Kaise ho?” or “How are you?” But she usually just ran away giggling. Unless I pinned her down and forced a “Mai tik hun” (“I am OK.”) out of her, one word at a time.

Absolutely darling.

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