Monday, 21 September 2009

Maya's adventures in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka

41 hours of rail travel (including 3 overnight trains),
15 sticky oranges,
12 parothas (similar to chapattis but thicker and naughtier),
9 tantrums,
7 days of swimming in the sea,
4 cups of chai,
2 cups of strong coffee,
1 swim under a waterfall,
half a glass of Tom Collins
and about a quarter of a vegetable later...

Maya has made it safe and sound back to Bangalore!

In one day we will be leaving for England for our two and a half week stay, so I don't have time to go into the details of all of Maya's adventures on holiday, but I shall give you some of the highlights!

At the Kings World Trust:

* At the school, Maya joined in with a class of five year olds for a couple of days running, completely unprompted by us. When we were reunited with her, the teacher informed us that Maya even got up in front of the class and sang two songs to them all! Hang on, is this the same child??! When we heard this we were, in a word, flabbergasted!

* Maya enjoyed sweeping the yard with the boys and because of the homely lay out of the boys' village, she would often wander away from the room and we'd find her later with the boys or helping the cook sort vegetables.

* One day, when Andy, Lily and I went for a walk around the town and Maya decided she wanted to stay behind, it seems that she later got scared when she forgot where we were. We were alerted when somebody came out to tell us, turned back towards the boys' village, only to find that one of the staff there had hoisted her onto the front of their motorbike and she was on her way to find us! This is completely normal for India, but we got her down pretty quick smart.

* One afternoon we visited somebody's house where Maya was fed strong, black, sugary coffee. Seriously. When I asked our host if it was normal for children here to drink coffee he said 'Of course!', produced a tumbler for Lily and she glugged it down before I'd had a chance to protest! He told me that coffee is very good for children as it contains so much calcium. Hmmm.... Unsurprisingly, after her second cup Maya was bouncing off the walls and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening dancing, singing and jumping off tables. (See photo above of Maya with her tumbler of coffee and plate of biscuits)

It was wonderful to meet Kings, the boy that Andy sponsors (see photo). He is a wonderful, gentle young lad and we really hope we'll see him again sometime.

At the beach:

Maya turned into a little beach bum. Plastered in factor 50, she braved the waves (amazing to think she was still quite scared of water before coming to India), made castles and holes in the sand, collected marooned starfish and interesting shells and by the end of the week her hair was well and truly dreadlocked like a proper little beach hippy (well, to be fair, all of our hair was). We didn't wear shoes for the entire week and that freedom that I talked about in my posting 'Last child in the woods' that I so crave for Maya could truly be realised at the beach. I had to swim in my clothes which was quite a bizarre experience as the ladies here go into the sea in their sarees. But once I'd got used to that (and having to dodge the occasional fisherman poo on the beach - yuck!), the whole week was seriously relaxing and lovely and we were all horizontal by the end of it. Oh, except for the night that Maya necked half my glass of a Tom Collins cocktail that I'd ordered while I was distracted with Lily. She thought it was juice! We found her later in the bedroom turning round and round in circles singing a jumbled up version of baabaa black sheep - oops!

But now - back to England! Maya is one excited little girl. I'll report back at some stage from the UK how she's getting on with the cold (though I'm sure she'll love it - she's a wellies and woolly hat girl at heart) and the food (request for first meal back: fishfingers and sausages. As I said, she ate all of about a quarter of a vegetable whilst we were away. Hope the girl doesn't get scurvy....)


  1. I love the coffee story! Hope all goes well in the UK. Look forward to hearing all about it.

  2. Hi Rebecca ! I am waiting to hear all about Maya's return to UK as well :) - you must miss home, food, friends, and family so badly - I did! I hope you got the SMS that I sent you on your last day here - had no time to call, and I didnt think you would have the time to talk either. Take care, and look forward to seeing you back again ! - Anitha.