I've been to Delhi and back. My niece is attending the American Embassy School and has been there for almost three years. In a nutshell, she hates it. Can I blame her? Delhi is intense. The pollution is inhumane and you are asked to stay indoors at times. The sun rarely can be seen. The energy is aggressive and intense. If you are young, white teenage girl you get hassled. I mean, it's that way everywhere but here you aren't sure what is friendly and curious and what is devious. She is afraid to walk alone on the street from the School to the Embassy for fear of getting kidnapped. Before you judge, I think her fear is both crazy and not so crazy. If I were her parent I too would keep her locked behind the security gates of the Embassy School . But life is then surreal and she never learns to appreciate where she is. She hates the dirtiness, the clamor, the noise, the food...you get the picture. But then again her school does nothing to integrate them into life outside the gates. They get no education on holidays and don't even learn functional Hindi to get around. She spends most of her time behind the school or embassy gates. It was the first time I had been on embassy grounds, I found it really weird and surreal.
So, I took her out of her comfort zone. We went to Akshardham Temple, a massive Hindu temple complex all hand sculpted by 300,000 volunteers in 2004. It looks like the inside of a faberge egg. There is a boat ride, dioramas an imax movie...It's an amusement park Hindu style. There is no way to describe the evening laser and water show with projected animation. I can not even do justice to how the water changed shape, texture and was choreographed into a dance that wowed the audience into screaming outbreaks. While pressed close in a line at the security desk, my niece said while considering the fact that she was going to have to turn in her phone "this is out of my comfort zone." I got three people to confirm it was safe and she had no choice. 1/4 way into the show despite the school boys who innocently asked us for coins and the family that stood in our way of seeing the show for a moment, she leaned over and said, "this was totally worth it." She had her limits and partaking in the avenue of snacks available she said "no way!" If you are in Delhi this is a MUST.
Before our temple adventure we went to learn Bollywood dancing. We had more fun watching the teacher act out the seductive and coy characters of the dance and then transform before our eyes into a more masculine expression in the Punjabi dance. We arrived late and despite my pleadings that two was plenty, they were determined to teach us all three required dances in less time. This meant they barked the instructions at us and piled on more steps and more moves for us to memorize and we were drenched by the end. "Perfect" "Ok!" "COME! You DO!" And we just laughed because how the hell he thought we could do it on our own was beyond us. So, we pleaded that he continue to lead us. A shy smile crossed his face and then "With me?....ok!" I have no idea what we looked like but watching our teacher was worth the price of the show. Also, a must in Delhi. Super fun!
Unfortunately, my brother who I haven't seen in more than 8 years decided not to see me. There must be reasons of which I can't imagine would extend beyond me making a trip to India and the small chance of changing the tide but that was his choice. I can't say I was looking forward to it but like medicine I was willing to swallow it for a hope for a better future. I do think my niece preferred to keep her rivaling relatives out of the same room. I see how this has affected her and how it affects her own relationships and it pains me to be a responsible party in this ridiculousness. I just don't see a way out of it that isn't extremely painful. Each way I turn, hurts. While I know on an intellectual level that one can not control another person and that trying to water concrete as someone wise told me, is useless...it still hurts. Perhaps I didn't communicate as clearly as I could have, perhaps I was playing the same old game when I thought I wasn't.
There is always something I could have done better but I believe it's time to let myself off the hook and move forward.
Why do we care so much what other people think? How can this be managed in situations of family or in our method of teaching that requires others to assess your skills? When the thoughts start to spin they stir up almost every pain listed in the yoga sutras including the killer of the all, doubt. Prashant says we care so much because of a lack of self-integration. I plan to ask him more about this.