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  • Writer's pictureVoita

Prep Day (APd6)

Each of us got woken up by a heavy monsoon raging all throughout the night, which seemed to have decided to pull the curtain down on all of humanity. Its homicidal fervor lasted most of the morning, but it didn't seem to affect the local froggos at all. The day's order was the annual, male-only get together in the village hall.

Several generations back the local hills have witnessed a medium sized migration, when many from the hill tribes descended into their foothills. Over the subsequent fifty or so years they've moved even lower, eventually founding what today is the local metropolis, Pasighat. The village, where I'm staying in the house that once will become Katon's parents retirement abode, is one of those in between encampments. Hence the nickname I use, the halfway house.

dog days outside

cozy inside

a-typical breakfast

Each family has to send one or more representatives, who'll bring in a symbolic contributions of two bamboos longer than an average house. These become the hall's repair material. Mostly the floor gets repaired, but other minor damages just as well, in preparations for one of the major local celebrations. Material and helping hands aplenty, the work goes quickly, accompanied by a light chatter. Today's theme number one was the magical land 'Czech Republic'. What a coincidence...

bambooworking

pepper it up

unroll and place

For communal lunch, we were provided with beef and whisky. Katon doesn't drink, smoke, chew tobacco nor eat meat. In his school years he played football and saved up his allowance instead. I think it's one of the reasons why I respect him so much. One the downside it separates him from the collective and occasionally, like today, leaves him hungry. I at least ate the meat, with the aid of one particularly persistent fly.

chance to see all the neighbours

catching up on the latest

do what you will

simple lunch

Katon circled back to his morals and how the decision to start his own business - and hire his family - has brought him further away from others. It's becoming more difficult for him to have a straight conversations with his cousins, especially when they mess something up. Mone often functions as a bridge and a translator. Like every self-employment, I'd say, even running a factory is composited from a thousand small tiny professions and challenges, which test one's character and skills better than an exhaustive background check by the FBI.

In Katon's case more so as no-one around knows, what's he doing and there are no support groups like Open afternoon for starting CEOs with free coffee, cake and shrink.

When he later played Czech hits from 19sixtyfive, I longed for one such group myself. That was a trip stronger than any drug could induce.

electronics installation

no electrocutions so far

ABSOLUTION

We followed Katon's other passion in the evening; listening to old stories of even older locals. His grandma is 97 and could fill with stories a book or two. So long as the listener can follow a narrative in Tibetan.

Another uncle is well into his 80s, but speaks fluent English nonetheless; quite like Mone's similarly old mom. That had me trying to recall if there are any equally educated elderly in my country. Somehow, I doubt it.

Katon isn't alone in his reverence and visitations of the elders. Other family members call on them just as often, respect them, bring them gifts of food... all the things that went out of fashion in our corner of the world. Even though I got introduced to a portrait of uncle's dead first wive thrice, I didn't complain at all. Because family ties are one of the strongest and most powerful magical bindings humanity wields.

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