What We Take With Us: End of ICEP India 2017 –from Midori

Red Fort/Lal Quila

Sites visited on 29 December
Sannidhi School, Najafgarh, Delhi
Embassy of Japan, Delhi

29 December – from Midori

Now back in Delhi, we are all down with a cold. We have an ensemble of coughing and nose blowing accompanying the music. Traveling in a van always together, always staying together, we also are sick together. A fantastic collaborative spirit.

Today was our last day. It’s time to say goodbye to India and to each other, at least for a period.

Jendrik and I started the morning bright and early, with a visit to the Red Fort. It was an easy ride from our hotel on the Metro. I always love taking public transportation, and I extremely enjoyed the experience as it was calmer than I had ever expected. It was spic-and-span, and there were no fumes to breathe, which would have been the case had we taken a tuktuk. The Red Fort was beautiful. Unlike the Taj Mahal, most of the inlaid decorations have been taken away over time, but the grandeur of buildings, the historical significance, and the majesty they exude are unforgettable. As it was early in the morning, there were hardly any visitors and we had the place almost all to ourselves.

Back to the hotel to pick up our belongings, we went off to Sannidhi School. It is only about 45 minutes from Old Delhi (probably much less than that without traffic) and completely in a different world. Here, there were no paved roads and no tall buildings what’s-so-ever. We got pretty lost getting there as there were not many people to ask for directions once we got off the main road. We did arrive, of course, at one point, and the staff of the school ushered us into their building. They had decorated  the floor to welcome us with flower petals.

After the presentations was over, we had still much to do including our final private short concert for the Japanese Ambassador and his guests. By this time, all of us were creating cocophonic sounds with our coughing, wheezing, and blowing the nose. One often says, “it’s a good thing you don’t have to sing.” This actually isn’t true because we, as instrumentalists, must breathe like singers in order to play a phrase. But alas, it is our last day and we had no time to waste. After the performance, we need to get dinner, do last-minute shopping, and I, shower, brush my teeth (basically get ready for economy-seat sleep), etc. and get to the airport to fly out.

We were bombarded with new experiences in the last 11 days. There were new tastes (Punjabi, Tamil, Parsi, Kashimiri cuisine in addition to northern cooking of Delhi), various Chai, new perspectives of urban and rural life through different walks in towns and villages, new attention garnered (many gazing eyes and perking ears of the children and adults), new sights (Taj Mahal, Red Fort, books sold by weight, “buy 2, get 3 free”), new sounds (Indian classical music), new concept (time), new awareness of the depths of issues (human trafficking, feticide, stigma and discrimination, etc.) etc. We now take them all with us, to nurture them inside ourselves as we share them with others, to keep learning about them, and to challenge ourselves to be open and curious for continued development.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so it is said. A meaningful experience impacts a complete life. A character in the making.

inside Metro



2017/12/29 – 五嶋みどりより











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