I'm 1 in 10,000 - Ladan Takow

My teaching experience in Thiravulangandu Village

Before teaching my first class, I was so stressed out and started to panic when I saw 70 students in one small classroom. Luckily, I was not alone and the health team were there to help me teach and get to know the kids. Firstly, we introduced the health team to them and gave them some background information about Restless Development. We talked to them about Malaria prevention and general health related issues. The kids also come around after school and we use the Youth Resource Centre to teach them different things.

Visiting Pondicherry

It took us 5 hours to travel from Thiruvalangadu village to Pondicherry city. The town offers a unique experience with its mix of modern heritage and spiritual culture. With a predominantly historical background, Pondicherry goes centuries back in time. Though very small, it was the largest French colony in India. The city has a long and interesting history of trade and war. There is a strong French influence in the city, especially in the old quarters, with Rues and Boulevards lined with Mediterranean style houses and bakeries, although the city remains very much Indian. French is still understood and the whole city has a rather pleasant mix of East and West.

I’ve also spent some time in Tamil Nadu, especially in villages, so by the time I approached Pondicherry, I experienced a mild culture shock on discovering French architecture and restaurants serving steak, classic French croissants, Italian dishes and wine. Pondicherry is very much a city with a dual personality. Crossing from East to West of the central canal reveals two cities with two very different characters.

We were attending a wedding in Pondicherry which was fascinating and unique. As soon as we arrived, we quickly started getting dressed and looked for anyone who could help us with our Saris since no-one knew how to wear one. (Hijab friendly Sari for Ladan, thank you).
On our way to the wedding, I remember asking the driver to play some Tamil songs. (Why not start the party early eyy?). With Indian weddings, wide array of vibrant colours, food and rituals are all blended together in a large and long celebration.

Fortunately, there is no specific dress code at Indian weddings. I dressed modestly with a traditional sari to show respect and even got my henna done. When it comes to colour, I like to choose bright colours  to wear in India, which is always welcome during special occasions. One of the national volunteers in my village gave me a great tip for the wed-ding. He told me not to wear bright red because that colour is traditionally reserved for the bride.

Typically, an Indian wedding lasts at least 3 days, even up to a week! From pre-wedding rituals like Mehndi (henna) to the 2-3 hours long main ceremony and finally, the reception. There were a lot of events taking place and I was so lucky to be invited to one. The wedding was a success. Both the groom and the bride looked elegant and well dressed, MashaaAllah.

Copy Editor: Sawiya Ali


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