Happy New Year!

Heading off this morning with Jill, my yoga teacher, and his family (Janaka-teacher, his hilarious and lovely Yorkshire wife Billy, and their two daughters Ushani-3 and Jayani-1) for his village in the poor, rather unpopulated northwest of the island. Dry zone, therefore hot-hot-hot this time of year, and it’s a sort of no-there-there place, wells for drinking and bathing, wewa/tank for swimming (like a reservoir), no electricity usually, lots of relations, lots of new year games.

Sinhala And Tamil New Year is the official name of the holiday but in Kandy everyone just calls it Sinhala New Year. There is food (of course, and piles of it), new clothes are worn and exchanged as gifts, special drums played, special games organized. One ‘game’ is a sort of piƱata exercise, using a big clay pot instead of a charming crepe-papered animal. I imagine that the stick is bigger too, in order to break the pot properly. Anyway, the country sort of shuts down (except for Muslims, whose New Year it isn’t though they often celebrate too) so I’ll be off smacking pots and bathing in wells until Friday.

Am a little apprehensive about no-privacy conditions. I don’t care about material hardships like sleeping on a floor or cold well baths, but I mind being monitored or whatever all the time. Should be fine, though, as Billy says the village folks are used to her and Janaka’s nutty ways: yoga, for one thing! (This couple is sick: they do all the crazy backwards bendy balancing on one footy kinds of poses, and easily.) Thus, where usually it would be sort of rude to wander off with a book, we’ve been instructed to bring several. Hooray for books.

Currently reading World Revolution and Family Planning (oh, the suspense, the anticipation) and The Satanic Verses. I hope the extended family are not scandalized on both counts.

Haven’t been really up on my email (or blog) lately with all the holiday preparations. Making packets of cookies and sweets for gifts, shopping for the all-important New Outfit to Wear at the Auspicious Time, cleaning my kitchen before I leave so that the ants don’t demolish it entirely. In any case, my New Year’s resolution (they don’t have those here, content as they are) is to dawdle less, thereby making time perhaps for more communications activities.

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