Saturday, March 8, 2014

Govind Godham

On Wednesday evening outside of the candy store, while waiting for me to finish at the print shop, poor Eduardo fell again and twisted his ankle even worse than before so he needed to stay in the hotel with his leg elevated.  Kazu and I were picked up by Jasminder (the driver and computer dealer) at 10am to pick up Mr. Kumar Maheshwari (our client) and Rupah (a young woman that works at Kumar’s house) and headed to the Hindu temple that we visited on our first day with our client (Tuesday February 11th) Govind Godham.  We arrived at 11:55, just in time for our blessing before they were closing and doing the final prayer.  Our client was very excited as he had never made experienced this final prayer ceremony so we stayed and experienced it with him.  For the blessing, you walk up to the priest (part of the Brahman caste) and he puts this bell shaped metal instrument over your head and speaks some words and then hands you a flower and puts a cloth around your neck and then you circle the shrine.   You don’t have to be quiet or demure as you would in a typical western style church, people walk in and out laugh, etc…while worshipping in a Hindu temple – much more relaxed (I liked that as you didn’t feel as nervous!).
I took a few videos to try to give you an idea of the closing prayer ceremony, but it was definitely different than any other prayer I have ever experienced.  First one of the priests blew on a conch shell and then proceeded to light gee filled lantern, added some marigolds and (maybe) some holy water and then waved that towards the two gods in the shrine(I believe they were Hari Krishna and…?) and ring a bell, he used multiple items and at two different occasions he handed off his lantern to the other priest who waved that over two other gods that were photos on the wall and then he brought it to us and we waved our hand over the flame and touched our faces and our heads.  The very end was to be sprinkled with water and a last blowing of the conch shell.
The god Krishna and his consort Radha -------- the gods behind the curtain

Miniatures of the gods

The priests chair                                                                      The pigeons also come to pray

We then went to say hello and feed the sweet cows and get covered with cow slobber, like I probably mentioned before the cows have much longer tongues than I would have thought!  While there a young woman who is studying engineering asked to have a photo with me and for my facebook name…later that evening she even Facebook messaged me! 


My new facebook friend
We then went to the Swami Vivikenand School that we have been working with and said a quick good bye to the children.  When we arrived there were more of the NGO members at the school and they asked if we would like to visit another of the schools that is run more directly by this amazing 70 year old woman.  This woman (I feel terrible, but I cannot remember her name.  The names here are very long and with the accent, I can never seem to get them right without seeing the spelling first.) is a retired medical doctor and professor – she started a school in the slums and she also runs a clinic there for the children and their families.  The school was very nice and the children there also seemed to be happy and proud to be there; it’s amazing that this group of individuals is spending so much of their time to make these schools and facilities a success.  You can give all of the money in the world to these causes, but without proper management (all of the time that needs to be invested) the money won’t be used wisely and this group is doing an amazing job – they are changing a generation one child at a time.  This spry 70 year old woman is also trying to start an old age home for the poor as well, I am sure she will do it!
For your every catering need

Wild marijuana

The street outside the school

The founder

Look for the middle left advertisement...Turban training center.....
 Our last stop of the day before getting back to the hotel to prepare for our final presentation at 4pm was Anubhav (Kumar’s son) university – Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, 3rd best in the state of Punjab.  It was a beautiful campus, grass and trees – there were chipmunks running everywhere and parrots!  We met Anubhav’s Dean, Dr. K.S. Mann and he actually asked to have IBM contact him to see what they can do together at the school (I think they want IBM to come in and help plan curriculum in order to teach the students skills that would enable IBM to hire them in the future.
Kumar then dropped Kazu and I off at the hotel in order to allow us some time to freshen up before our final presentation to his NGO, as I was saying my farewell he said, see you at 4:30 and I said, no the meeting is at 4 and he said, I will see you at 4:30…so the meeting time changed to 4:30pm J  At about 4:20 a pigeon flew into our room!  We called the hotel staff and as they were working on removing the pigeon, Kazu and I went down to meet our guests, but the majority did not arrive until almost 5:30pm…so our meeting started close to 5:45pm…I think that is 4:30pm IST J
I believe that our presentations went really well, the information was well received by our audience of 10 in the team room 711 over chai and cookies. The quality of the packages that we provided not onely looked good (thanks to Gargan printers – the largest print shop in Ludhiana), but the information we provided is key to help Swabhimaan NGO achieve its goals and grow and teach India’s underprivileged children.  

We ended the meeting with photos in the lobby and then our team had our final dinner together and close-out discussions. 

What a great time this has been, I can’t believe that we leave Ludhiana tomorrow – it’s bittersweet as I have had a great time and love the new friends I have made, but I also miss my hubby, animals and friends back in Colorado!  Looking forward to Saturday night when I pick Rick up from the New Delhi airport.

1 comment:

  1. I love the cows! So cute. Was the slobber up to Sancho-like levels? Or even beyond? Also love that you fed the "sweet cows". We had a sweet cow send off with Rick- he's really excited to wear his sweet cow shirt over there :)