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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Carnival in Vellore

Bagayam, actually. Saturday was the annual medical student carnival, and it was held on the medical school campus in green, verdant Bagayam. It had all the usual trappings--game booths, a jumble sale, fast food, a loud DJ blaring pop tunes, and lots of people milling aimlessly around.

There were some familiar faces in the crowd, and a few packs of children, but mostly it was medical students taking part. How young they are; mind you, they start medical school at 18 in India, so it was not all just perspective. Their dress was interesting, ranging from full beautiful silken saris to tops and jeans. Some of the young men had kurtas with sashes and jeans. A generation before, all of the women would have been in traditional clothes, saris and salwars. This generation has grown up used to western clothes; one wonders if the next will become fully westernized.

We arrived much too early, while the sun was still in the sky. It is hot in Vellore during the day, 90s and above, with little cloud cover. Evenings are another story--cool, breezy, tropical nights are an absolute pleasure.

There was not much to buy at the jumble sale--mostly Prasad's donated old books. But Avinash had fun with the games, stuffed himself full of all sorts of snacks, and had a dragon painted on his face. I had a flowering vine hennaed onto my right hand, and enjoyed a chikoo shake.

Baby Tarun enjoyed everything, and remained awake and alert, escaping occasionally from Jiji and his constraints.

Freedom is a beautiful thing.


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