Hi my name is Kabir and this is my confession….my ability to grasp the Hindi language is garbage, but we’ll get into that later.
‘Twas a hot day and all was bright, we started the day off right: chai, breakfast, and going to Setco. After arriving, we headed to Dolatpura where we met the toilet contractor. Thanks to Natalia and Nisha we were able to easily convey to him what needed to be altered with the design and what further work we needed him to do. We detailed covering the husk pipes inside the toilet, covering the ventilation pipes with a fine mesh, digging 10 foot deep holes to compare soil samples, constructing a filter for the drainage water, and opening up the bins. The ladies met up with Sumitraben afterwards while Parth, the stove R&D specialist, Rajeshbhai, and I chilled outside. We came back for lunch and sat down with Salmaben to clarify a few points regarding the meeting with the Sarpanch yesterday and also planned the rest of the week.
This is where the confession starts, but first some background context: ‘Twas the winter of 97’ and a young boy (me) was born into a Hindu household. In this Hindu household, English was the primary language but the boy foolishly thought he had an understanding of a language that his parents had grown up with, Hindi.
So there we are, we just arrived to the guest house and Nisha, who does 99 percent of the translating, goes to take a nap. The caretaker, Narayan, pulls me aside and starts speaking Gujarati. Being the chivalrous gentleman that I am, I decided not to wake Nisha up and asked if he could speak in Hindi. This was my first mistake. He spoke and I understood it as “I am going with the driver to get food (I thought for us) and won’t be back until 8pm”. I conveyed this to the group, Narayan left, and finally they all agreed to let me teach them Euchre, a card game. This was my second mistake. The game is partner based and as a result Nisha and I were together so obviously our team name would be “Nibir”. Well let me tell you Nibir lost every round to Rachel and Sarah.
It was 8 pm and no word from Narayan. Nisha called him up and asked him where he was. Apparently, he left with the driver to get his own food and wouldn’t be back until 8 in the morning thinking we were going out to dinner. But don’t worry, a painfully long conversation and twenty nine 50-rupee notes later, Domino’s had arrived and everyone was fed. To quote the great Hannah Montana, “Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days” and what really matters at the end of the day was that we are all still friends, friends who will continue to do stuff for the next 25 days together. Also we all came to the unanimous decision that I can’t open my mouth unless English comes out.
P.S. I was already attacked by the rest of my team so please don’t yell at me in the comments Mom.