WE ARE FINALLY HERE: INDIA!
We have adjusted to the jetlag, the heat and fast clip of the first initial days of the trip. Indian food for breakfast and lunch then… you guessed it: Delicious Indian food for dinner! We had better start getting used to spices as there are plenty here. SUNRISE LAUGHTER!: This morning many of us got up very early to catch the Laughing Yoga Club. These were amazing group exercises done in a circle of people. Part of a modern yoga developed by an India doctor who discovered the health beefits of laughing. 5 Laughing Yoga clubs in the Chennai area are part of over 3000 clubs in India, 14,000 internationally. This morning there were about 20 people ( 8 were from our group. What does it have to do with storytelling?: Making Peace in the world, one of their clear tenets. We too believe that by understanding our human stories and cultures we bring all people to a peaceful humanity. How appropriate that the Club meets not far from a statue of Gandhi! Click on this link to hear this unique style of yoga) laughing-yoga
OPPARI SINGERS: We also experienced a presentation in Oppari lamenting songstory. These lamenting balladeers (hired for funerary services) blend a performance singing and chant-like vocalization, honoring and lamenting over the loss of the deceased. Through their grieving songs they tell the story of someone’s lost loved ones, often recounting their lives at sea and importance to their family. We heard from two different ensembles, one from the local fishing community and a second( shown above) from farther south in the region. The group shown are from a transgender community, a well organized society in India who honor the transexual/ transmorphic nature of certain gods in the Hindu pantheon. There singing was so engaging and emotional that it moved many of our storytellers to re-experience grieving and loss from their own lives. An interesting day: starting the sunrise with laughter and ending the daylight with lamenting. More postings later now that I know how to blog. However the challenge will be to find the time!