I'm thinking about hands. My hands don't know these rhythms, they don't do this work so well, but theirs do. my hands know other things - like how to find a library book, drive a car, flip a Spanish tortilla, make a mix CD. All these hands here were made in wombs separated in likeness only be genes of ethnicity and their physical location. How is it that my white hands know so naturally how to type or tie my shoes, yet struggle so much where their brown hands pick up the work with ease? I'm holding a different Indian woman, a massi's, hands while she stands in the basin and mixes the soap in with the clothes. It's like we're doing a secret washing dance with her hands in mine and her feet gently stomping in the water. We don't know any of the same words but her hands organically came to mine as I helped her into the bin. When she's content with the mixing she steps out and we go back to scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing. The sun is hot. It's only been an hour, and my fingers are swelling up with dehydration and yet also pruny from the water. Is it possible to be two opposites at once? If it is, that might be what Kolkata is - a bunch of opposites.
I'm on the roof and there are colors everywhere with the sheets we've washed waving like flags. The women move methodically to hang and point us with our buckets of clean, wet laundry. I look out onto Kolkata from the roof. This city is a lot of colors, but so far to me it's mostly blue, yellow and brown, although this morning from the rooftop I'm overwhelmed with a lot of green - just not the Vermont kind, and it reminds me how far from home I am.
love & namaste,