|Awkwardly accepting flowers on stage for a God’s birthday|
Our neighborhood seems to be a very close knit group of 3×3 streets, of which we have not seen any other non-Indians. There are lively market streets, sports fields always full of kids playing cricket and people are always on the street celebrating something, anything from a dead politicians to monkey gods. Anytime we are walking around, the people are friendly and like to practice their English on us, usually saying “bye”,”hello” or “how are you?” not knowing the response but happy with a wave from us.
However our status suddenly rises when there is a festival taking place (recognized by blaring music, drummers, fireworks and parades all night long). As soon as we are spotted, we have no choice but to be escorted to the community president’s seat or table, usually on a stage, for the best view of the activities, where we are introduced to the community, welcomed to India and serenaded with flowers and treats while people give us their children to take photos with!
We are now getting used to the celebrity routine during festivals and welcoming all the flowers to decorate our apartment. It’s also nice that more people are recognizing us as part of their neighborhood since they now know we are here for a while!