Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Captain Geography (AKA Miss India) Finds Cake

And now for something completely different. My new beautiful friends at Navdanya made a special going away present for those of us leaving the farm in the coming days: a scavenger hunt!

I am pretty sure the whole point was to get us to dress up in silly costumes and do silly things so that we could kill ourselves laughing. Well, they nailed it. Our costumes, on the orders of our scavenger hunt masters, were to be collected from one article of clothing from all the interns. Mine consisted of a cape with a map of the world on it (from Hannah) and a turban (from Raquel) which I tried to wear like the women from heaven in Garhwal. Glasses from Abhyudia. Sweaty sock from Julia. One sandal from Kamal. One flip flop from Rachel (who has very small feet). I named myself Captain Geography, but Sunil, bless his heart, said I looked more like Miss India. The treasure at the end of the hunt was a banana spice cake that my darling friends had lovingly and secretly prepared earlier in the day.

We made it to the cake just in time for the dinner bell to ring. Since I had already made sure there were plenty of Indian sweets to go around, we proclaimed it saved for breakfast.Yes. Cake and chai for my last breakfast here. I couldn’t ask for anything more indulgent.

Part of the reason for our late start was because Sunil and I took a late afternoon stroll to the Indian sweet shop to get a kilo worth of sweets for everyone on the farm. Indian sweets are like nothing else in the world. Almost all of them are composed of milk that has been boiled until solid, sweetened with cane sugar and studded with pistachios, almonds, cashews, etc. You get the picture. They are pretty hard to resist.

I think the best Indian sweet came from him though. He climbed a tree and picked two guavas, perfectly ripe. Sweetest of all sweets--shared with me by a new and loyal friend, picked fresh from a tree organically tended and enjoyed on my last walk through the mango grove.

And so, my time at Navdanya ends as it began. In the kitchen, sitting in a circle sharing food, lots of jokes and laughter and genuine affection. We cross many geographies and histories, all of us brought together over a meal and a shared passion for the doing the right thing with food, the earth and each other.

Good bye, Navdanya. I miss you so much already.

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