Let me preface this post by saying that the more and more I’ve traveled, the more and more I realize that we inhabit a very, very a SMALL world. More often than not I’ve noticed that the universe tends to work it’s strange magic in my life (though tend to be on the fence about the whole ‘things happen for a reason‘ gig, sometimes things happen that just make me wonder…).
Let me explain:
I struggled for a while in applying for the Fulbright.
I knew that I wanted to do something with gender in India, buttttt…how do you even begin to tackle that!?
I did a lot of reading on the hijras, but the topic was too loaded and political. I shifted gears to focus on the sadhin, but my entire summer of research resulted in a warning from the state department not to travel to my proposed locale due to political turmoil (minor technicality). A dead-end.
What do I do now?
I was already back at Marist and the October scholarship deadline was looming. Kelly, one of my beloved companions from Florence and Poughkeepsie (and beyond!), nonchalantly asked one day “Well, what about rugby in India? Do they play rugby there?”
BINGO. That’s it! That’s so obvious! How did I not think of that in the beginning?!
Cue the googling of “women’s rugby india”:
BAM. And I was all like, “YO. HOLD UP. …’Rugby India: Women better than men…’ What’s that all about?” In a society where women are usually of significantly lower social status than men, even the simple the headline hinted at some big-doings:
That was it. I was sold. Utterly perfect. This had to be my project!
The day — and proposal — was saved. Butterflies of nerdiness froliced about in my belly. This video subsequently blew up a few facebook newsfeeds (I’m looking at you, Pat Taylor and Laura Litwin) and I set off on a whole new direction.
Now, fast forward a year.
I’m half a world away, getting settled in India and running amuck with the Pune team as I go. Every time someone asks “Women? Rugby? in India?!” I refer them back to The Infamous YouTube video I watched that one time. But now, it’s all become real, live and in the flesh. The girls have been wonderful and pretty excited, especially my friend Ketaki:
We met at the press conference and instantly hit it off.
I’ve been a constant fixture on the back of her scooter for the past two weeks zooming about the city as I’ve gotten to know her, her teammates and her family. She’s filled me in on the local gossip, advised me on how not to get hepatitis from street food and the taken me out to the most poppin’ places in town (if you EVER told me I would end up at a place called the Leather Lounge while in India…or in life in general…)
After taking me across town to a back-alley orthotics shop earlier tonight, she, Aaron and I went for dinner. Afterwards we schleped our stuffed, lethargic bodies back to our flat where we had a pot o’ chai. Ketaki was on the computer e-mailing schools in the UK about graduate programs in rugby management (that’s real.) when she asks us, “oh, do you want to see something funny? I’m in a video on youtube!”
Haha that’s cool, we say, pull it up.
You know what video that was?
THE VIDEO. SHE IS IN THE VIDEO.
WHAT?! I almost keeled over and died. We have been hanging out almost every single day and I had NO IDEA THAT SHE WAS FEATURED IN THIS VIDEO THAT GAVE BIRTH TO THIS CRAZY PROJECT.
But here she was on the screen, and here she was, in the flesh. Basically, yanno, a living legend or something in my head. Mind blown.
And so it all comes in full circle.
The world works in strange, strange ways.
I’m not at the point where I am throwing out the whole ‘but what does it all mean?!’ question (no existential crises for this girl please), but I do think that maybe it’s a sign that I’m on the right track to something…