March 18, 2006
We “slept” on the bus again last night, getting to Amritsar around 6am this morning. It took us about a half hour to begin to move our limbs. I had to go to the bathroom, having neglected to get up during one of our numerous stops in the middle of the night, but I was skeptical about my chances at the public toilets a half a block away. Indeed, the women’s side was locked. Vandana J. from Pune called at 6:30am. She had just arrived at the train station to join us for the rest of our postal delivery journey to Lahore. We picked Vandana up, and ran into Mr. Ramesh Yadev, President of the Folklore Research Academy, who had arranged our school visits and many other things for the duration of our stay in Amritsar, jogging in the early morning. Good thing too, because no one in the vicinity of where we were had any idea where Jagat Jyoti school was located, even though it turned out to be a few blocks from where we happened to have been parked.
We were served a full breakfast after our presentation at Jagat Jyoti Senior Secondary School – stuffed kulchas (sort of like parathas, except baked in a tandoor instead of fried) with chana and and a fresh onion and coriander chutney. We were running late for Spring Dale School, but we had no choice but to eat.
At Spring Dale, after our presentation in their multimedia room, a group of four girls came and asked respectfully: “Can you come for some snaps?” Sure, we can make time for some photographs… Or that is what my wishful thinking ears heard. What they actually said was: “Can you come for some snacks?” And we were ushered into a room with a table filled with platters of pizzas, sandwiches, chocolate cake, and coffee. And the girls saying: “Please have some sandwiches/pizza/chocolate cake/coffee” until we each had had a taste of every item!
Atam Public School had the full assembly set up by the time we got there, with the little kids in front fidgeting in the hot sun. One little boy kept flicking the ear of his classmate, which the classmate (unbelievably) completely ignored.
That evening, we made a brief stop at the Golden Temple, the most important sacred site for Sikhs in India.