Living by Giving through India (Ch. 22 – Shooting the Breeze)


I notice the women are using old metal blades to cut the grass from the cracks in the big limestone bricks of the temple. I’m curious to see if I can continue the experiment by offering my help with a little of the labour.

I slowly climb down the wall into the casual worksite and just sit with a smile at first. The ladies look, smile back and continue on their work. I then decide to get a little closer to one of the women working away and I attempt to open conversation with her. She looks up and replies to me in her local dialect. I have no idea what she is saying and she has no idea what I’m saying. Ahhh I love a bit of friendly confusion.

I decide to flip to speaking gesture, can I try? I signal. She raises her eyebrows and looks at me in a funny way then hands me the blade. I try to tap away at the rocks at what I think is exquisite technique and all of the ladies burst out laughing. I’m obviously doing it wrong, the lady takes the blade out of my hand and demonstrates the motion I need to go through in order to cut the grass right at the roots.

I try again this time to a collection of warm, positive approval sounds. I hack away for 15 minutes, thank the ladies for the experience shake hands and say goodbye. I drive a few metres down the road only to have a man with a million flutes dance his way over to me.




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