Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Beyond BACAS: Familiar Faces

For those of you who have been around Riding in Rickshaws lately, you are by now familiar with our Guides and Gurus series, where we feature people who play a significant role in the lives of ISP students and staff here in Coimbatore. We also wanted to take an opportunity to introduce you to some of the familiar faces we see around our fair city who we don't have the language skills to interact with our know well enough to ask questions of.

Introducing our first ever Beyond BACAS: Familiar Faces post.
Our friend the cigarette- and- candy- walla
We see this familiar face almost every morning on our way to school, and usually every evening on our way home, too. He sells packages of cigarettes, small candies and some other things in packets that we haven't quite identified yet. Every time we see him, he greets us with a smile and an exaggerated namaste. He waves at our staff, our students, our friends. We love it. Once,
Program Assistants Kandyce and Jonathan Pinckney, a friend and the cigarette-walla holding a photograph of himself we had given him earlier in the semester
In fact, he's such a significant part of our walk to school, we find ourselves a little sad if we don't see him and most definitely always notice if he's not there. We occasionally try to make conversation with him in our limited Tamil, and usually are able to establish the fact that we've all eaten (a common greeting here in Tamil Nadu: have you eaten?), but not much more. He once invited ISP Program Assistant Jon to temple with him, but sadly, nothing ever came of that (brief!) conversation.
ISP student Jake Maude poses with the cigarette-walla
Indian hospitality is, as you've read in our homestay posts, world renowned. ISP students and staff alike   enjoy a smile, a wave (and once, even a sweet!) from this gentleman who shows us hospitality even in a small, small way.
Look forward to more Familiar Faces posts coming soon!

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