September 14, 2010
There are few things I enjoy more than watching the Indian countryside go by from my train window, a mix of village dwellings, rice paddies, and raw jungle. Smoggy factories and muddy rivers too. The chandani of the full moon watched over me as I slept. The train provides meals, tea, and a morning copy of The Indian Times, so needless to say I am happy as a clam.
The Hindu calendar is based on the lunar calendar. There are several calendars that vary slightly by region. Every month is 28-30 days, and begins at the day of the new moon. There are twelve months per year, named after the zodiac signs. The Indian ancients had calculated that a year cycle was 360 days, with an extra month every five years. Now the Western calendar is used more prevalently, but many Indians will at least know at least the date of their birthdays in both the Indian and western calendars.
Nights of no moon and full moon are considered auspicious. Two mornings ago I took prashad with the Aroras of milk, fruit and a sweet mixture that is sort of like ground cookie crumbs, only more sugar and less cookie. They eat this every full moon period.
Vikas and Arti Arora
I said goodbye to the Aroras for the second time; more gracious hosts I could not have asked for. I reached Pondy late last night and was happy to come to work today and be reunited with all of my colleagues. Today was an especially good day to return, as there was a delicious South Indian feast organized by some of the society staff. We all ate on the floor off of platters of banana leaves. Home sweet home.