Today was our first day working on moviemaking with the kids - 18 disciplined, bright and creative kids who believe in their country and its promise in the future. There has been so much change in India in just the last few years that even kids that are fourteen or sixteen years old can recognize the transformation: the construction of highways, the development and expansion of a new metro system, and goverment's continuing efforts to help India's desperate poor. That hasn't lessened the sheer desperation we see everyday in the poor - and in old sections of Delhi, buildings seemed almost draped in haphazardly hung power lines. Still, the kids believe that things can and will change.
We developed with them the plans for short video about an Indian who returns to the country after several years, and is shocked at some of the changes that have occurred - and wonders why she has stayed away for so long. On Tuesday, we begin shooting.
After we finished for the day, we were invited to visit with Mr. Singh, a trustee of the community center where we're working. He spends a good portion of his time living in Calabasas in the San Fernando Valley, near whilch most of his children live. He's a true American success story, having begun small distribution company seling just cigarettes to a diverse company with an enormous warehouse. He's retired now, and can afford to keep homes going in both countries. At the insistance of his children, he gave up wearing the turban that Sikhs are known for. After 9-11, it became dangerous for a while to wear turbans in public - though Sikhs were not involved in any way with the attacks. Most less-educated people assoicated the turban with Osama Ben Laden. Several Sikhs, in fact, were attacked or killed for just that reason.
I continue to marvel at the wild cows and yaks that wander aimlessly throughout the city, and glimpses of child labor that also seems fairly common in some areas. Last night, we saw a team of young children helping to pave a road at 11:30 at night.
It's been a long day - I write again tomorrow.