Right now, all of Mumbai is celebrating Ganesh Chathurthi. Basically, it is an 11-day long festival honoring Lord Ganesha (the elephant God). To help the kids partake in this festival, a family generously invited the entire school to their bungalow for prayers. In Bombay, people either live in “flats” (the equivalent of an apartment/condo) or “bungalows” (large houses/mansions). Generally, only very wealthy families can afford to live in bungalows (celebrities, industrialists, etc.), so it was quite an experience getting to see one.
Anyways, we all piled up on the school bus and set out for our field trip super excited. We reached the house and the kids were instantly entertained by the family’s chubby golden lab! The family that invited us built a temple inside their home (on the third floor… there were 5 floors total!), so that is where we all worshiped and said prayers. The kids sang songs about Ganesha that we taught them at school, and it was honestly the cutest thing!! After that was done, the family offered all of us a full lunch (how their cook managed to make all that food in just half an hour still baffles me!!) and then sent each one of us home with gifts. I was so blown away by their hospitality and generosity! On top of all this, they donate a lump sum of money to the school at the end of the festival each year!! So nice of them…
We got back to school slightly tired, but there was no time to rest because another celebration was underway. Today was the principal’s birthday, so the staff and students threw her a surprise birthday party. The senior students baked her a gooey chocolate cake and decorated it with candies, and the junior kiddies gave her a huge bouquet of flowers and a few dozen hugs and kisses
After I got home from school, I napped and unwound a little, and then in the evening, dragged my uncle to the beach for some fun in the surf (my aunt and uncle live on the beach, in case I haven’t mentioned that before). It started to rain while we were there, which turned out to be a really cool experience! The rain was warm, the ocean water was cool, and the sky was gray. Never had a beach day quite like that, so it’s something I’ll always remember.