We celebrated our wedding anniversary on the 19th in separate locations. Friends brought a cake to our home, but asked me to wait until my husband returned, so that we could feed each other, a sweetheart ritual combined with prayer (in our friends’ tradition.) Raj, while in Trivandrum, took a celebratory cake to our friends at the software company (they developed our internet software.) Last year we celebrated our anniversary there by doing the same. They are a close-knit bunch of enthusiastic software engineers and developers. They also like good food—any occasion is enthusiastically celebrated with food! My husband returned this morning at 4:00 AM, and of course I presented him with the anniversary cake and our friend’s prescribed anniversary cake protocol. Later at the home-work-site I shared the remaining 10 pieces with the carpenters, mason, helpers, and the well diggers.

We consulted with the carpenters on various subjects. They completely took the front bedroom door frame out of the cement wall, and reassembled a new one, and put it back. The doors were hanging perfectly. I showed them a few cabinets that will need doors, such as the “fancy box,” a locking glass cabinet that is used as a display case for precious keepsakes. I might even have it wired up for light.  I have asked the carpenters to replace the old beams in the front in the same way that the other beams were replaced. There had been a little communication problem, so our site manager suggested we wait for Raj so that he could translate for us. This works for me, as I want our site manager to completely understand what I have been saying. I’m so happy that this has been a very stress-free experience, even while my husband was away.

While I was in America, my mother and I watched a documentary called Buck, which explains a natural form of horse training that is not only a sensitive art form, but a practice that can be used in everyday life. Lately I have noticed that my stringent ways of communication with people—the “systems” that were put in place in childhood (as a survival mode) through family relationship—are very outdated and archaic. And recently I had asked for a change in these “systems” so that my interactions with people be more positive. Yes, I made a few mistakes recently that have alerted me to the need for this change. Buck Brannaman is an American horse trainer who was able to overcome and thrive, despite his childhood history. I was deeply inspired, and have seen Buck twice. He emphasizes that people can become sensitive to their horse, and can become a better horseman when s/he learns how to practice with a  gentle, yet firm way, giving and allowing for reciprocation between both participants—which is a beautiful metaphor that can be translated into other aspects of life. I’m thrilled to be learning, even though I don’t have an interest in riding horses. He was the closest person emulated in the movie The Horse Whisperer. Thank you, Mr. Brannaman!

Yes, the well diggers have arrived. They stood idle for an hour, or that is what it looked like to this “time is money” mentality. I was very casual about it—keeping myself in “check”—and asked our site manager about the well diggers. “They are waiting for 12:00 PM to begin digging. Auspicious time to begin digging, madam.” But of course! Everything is considered here in India, from the logical to the spiritual.

At 11:55 AM the assistant well digger produced a packet of camphor wax that is used to burn during religious offerings, or used to clear away evil spirits and such. With his right hand he piled ten small pellets or so in the center of the circle, lit it, waved his hand through the flames, and touched his heart and face. He said his prayers, and then continued to use a pitch fork to loosen the soil around the perimeter of the designated well size, which is a small width of a little over three feet. And a mere forty-one minutes later, they are well on their way to digging towards America. Forty-five minutes later, when they had stopped for lunch, there was a five foot (or so) hole.

My husband is coming back with more supplies and food at 1:30 for all of the workers. Everyone sits around and eats, taking a half hour to talk and converse—and rest. We then serve tea around 3 and work finishes at 5 PM. This is the basic routine, and they are hard working. A lot is being accomplished, and our goal is to finish most of it in ten days. Keeping you all posted. Warm greetings from Achanakal, Tamil Nadu!