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Published: March 12th 2005
The children of Kini
and Rani flashing the peace sign
We arrived in Solapur, a city of about a million southeast of Mumbai, early yesterday morning. Raju, the sister of my friend Mahesh, and his father picked us up at the bus station. They immediately put us up in a nice hotel, probably the nicest one we've stayed at in India and took us out for breakfast. Mahesh's cousin, Rani, also joined us for breakfast, too. Raju and Rani were our main hosts and the showed us around the city and introduced us to many of their friends and family. They treated us to some wonderful home cooked meals and we ate until our stomachs couldn't take anymore. Raju knew english very well so we mainly had to communicate through her. She was a very lively woman we spent a lot of time talking about the differences in our cultures and her views of Hinduism (which were suprisingly unconventional). Mahesh's family were extremely nice people and made sure we had a wonderful and comfortable time in their home. Today we all piled into their uncle's jeep and made our way out to the village of Kini. This is where Mahesh's mother grew up and her family still lives in the main
village house. We had one of the best meals for lunch and then we explored the village and played cricket and volleyball with the children. We may have been the first white people that many of the villagers had ever seen, especially the children. In the late afternoon we drove out to the Hanjagi's farm and their little farm house where we met Mahesh's older brother, Pramod. He showed us around the fields of corn, sugarcane and sunflowers. He also showed us the irrigation systems and the cows and buffaloes used for plowing and milk production. We met mainy more of the extended family and many of the farm workers. Everyone one was extremely nice and made us feel at home. After the peaceful day in the fields around Kini we headed back to the city to make a mad rush to the train station. Mahesh's father was the head cashier there for 37 years and he was able to pull a few strings to get us on the train to Mumbai at the last minute. We were happy to be on a train again, where we could get a decent rest during the night journey to Mumbai.
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