I’ve started spending more time with the ladies who are in training at Sari Bari. The “Training Ladies” start each day with some basic education – reading and writing, and basic math. I was sitting upstairs with them, playing a letter (Bengali letter) recognition game. I’d show them a letter, they’d identify it, and then we’d shout out different words that start with that letter. I’m actually not very good at the game (because my ear can’t always distinguish between the different letters that are similar, and my Bangla spelling is horrible – thankfully I’m not alone. Some of the ladies who sew for Sari Bari are our teachers – and they can fix my spelling mistakes!)
So we were playing the game, we were going to do 2 more letters – when morning tea arrived. Morning tea is a crucial part of any office in India. The ever-efficient American, I thought it was a great idea to drink tea AND finish the letters we’re working (I mean, we’re so close to the end). But tea time is not about efficiency – its about a few moments to rest, to have a snack, to drink some tea and enjoy one another’s company. So there I was, plowing ahead to finish the activity, and one of the ladies declares, “Oh Moushumi-Di, Half-time, amra cha khabo” which translates to, “oh sister, Half-time, we will drink tea.”
So we laughed a bit about her using the actual phrase, “half-time” and we drank our tea, enjoyed each other’s company…and then we finished our lesson.