Christmas in India was a very special family time for the Rivers family this year. In mid-December, Grandpa Richard and Ayah Heidi, the girl’s great-grandmother, joined Kristina, Nic, Indi and Ele in Auroville India. Auroville is a special place with lots to see and do, including good places to eat (Tanto’s!) and a very special connection to the people who live there through the community of children in New Creation – an Aurovillian community.
This was Indi’s second visit, Nic’s third , the first time for Richard and Ele, and Kristina’s sixth visit. Kristina has many friends as she has known the “kids” in the boarding house that have now grown into the house parents, Tixon and Vanitha, and one of her closest friends in the area, Sathiya was also a child in the house when she first visited India 20 years ago.
For Grandpa Richard it was a very special ten days to get to know his two grandchildren a bit better. The families stayed in adjacent apartments and in the morning Grandpa Richard would come down and be a part of the morning rituals including a cup of coffee (and water) from Nic.
Then Grandpa Richard plus whichever parent was on that morning would set off with Ele and Indi on a morning of adventuring, perhaps to the solar kitchen, or down to the playground or to the Bakery for breakfast. Naps and quiet time would punctuate the day halfway through and then more adventuring or playing in the afternoon. A few times Grandpa Richard got to to take the kids away to the playground or have 1:1 time with them, hanging out with the other kids at the boarding house.
The ten days went fast but the Rivers stayed on another three plus weeks, spending more time with Ayah Heidi and many afternoons playing with the kids at the Boarding house.
Here are some of my photos:
Christmas Eve barbecue and bonfire. We sat and enjoyed great food and watched the flames and the kids dance in and out of the firelight.
Post Birthday lunch the birthday couple lead a walk down the Pondicherry Promenade.
Look who is 40! The birthday boy enjoys his libations (and the company) on the deck overlooking the ocean.
The family on scooter, heading out for another day of adventures. Grandpa Richard took this photo from his bicycle as he followed the family out adventuring.
Sometimes we packed Indi and Ele into the pram and walked into town, often to the Bakery – a rather fabulous well-stocked local eatery, for a morning breakfast and coffee.
Indi enjoys her new gifts, including the handmade super-girl cape and headband from Abuela Allison and her Aunt Rose.
One of those gifts, from Aunt Anna, can be seen on the bed, and quickly became one of Indi’s favorites and a place to treasure some of her other special gifts.
Ayah Heidi reading to the kids in the boarding house.
The regular family dinner on the porch of Grandpa Richard’s house. Most afternoons, Indi and Ele and their parents would make their way upstairs to enjoy dinner together. The apartment sat right on top so in the morning grandpa Richard could make his day to visit and Indi and Ele could make their way upstairs for some one-on-one time.
Geetha was one of the former kids in the house and a friend of Kristina’s who adored the kids and they her.
Indi and baby Pragna had much fun together and that bond only grew during the week.
Ayah Heidi and Kristina did get some quiet moments together to catch up. So much to talk about!
One sure way to put Ele to sleep is to put her on the back of the scooter. In one memorable afternoon, Richard, Nic and Ele went to Pondicherry by scooter and Ele slept most of the way, waking to pop in to a few shops with Nic and Richard.
Coffee and breakfast with the family in the morning at the Bakery was a great joy. We loved our almost daily outings….
And of course, a family photo in front of the statue of Ghandi – three generations…
Respectfully submitted, Grandpa Richard Jan, 2019