Elias made a bell for this bike.

The kids are playing scrabble.

I just got a quiet minute to write the neighborhood news for April. We had a month without travel, with very few out-of-town visitors, and no sick children — nothing to keep me from spending hours in my neighborhood.
Lots happened. Our Hindu neighbors moved out. Our landlord had a boundary dispute with our immediate neighbors which involved surveyors, lawyers, police, and all the land owners spending long hours in our drive way, arguing, waiting, and measuring.

A mongoose was caught by a trap in front of it’s hole. All the boys under the age of 15 (there were about twenty of them), tied it up, poked it, and then ran screaming away as the mongoose would lurch to attack on it’s long rope. The mothers all stood in their doorways, yelling at the boys to stay away. (They told me that a mongoose bite kills!?!?) Faisal’s Mom told me that the mongoose had eaten 16 of her chickens and so she hoped they’d kill it. I think they did.

Once I was sitting on the low wall next to our house. Across the field were about ten guys watching IPL cricket through Faisal’s window. They had set up a table outside where for days they had watched the games, made bets, and cheered loudly. All of a sudden the crowd of guys dispersed with alot of giggling into their houses. I thought that maybe someone had lost a silly bet. In minute, down the little road came about fifteen men, all wearing prayer caps, all wearing long Muslim garb, a mixture of ages, and all walking solemnly in a line. They passed down the road and the crowd of laughing cricket watchers again congregated at their table. But a few minutes later, the scenario repeated itself: the cricket watchers all ran away, the long line of solemn Muslim men passed, and then the cricket watchers reappeared. Once the cricket watchers didn’t even bother to run home or go inside, they just hid behind the building like little children playing hide and seek.

Rohim’ma came by laughing and I asked her what was happening, and she said something like the guys didn’t want to be seen. That I’d gathered. I asked Jacob that evening and his guess was that it had been a Tablighi group. It’s a Muslim organization that only targets Muslims. People all over the country go on short-term trips, staying in mosques, eating from one serving bowl, and canvassing the neighborhoods. They like to shake hands very earnestly and encourage people to do the prayers and the like. I guess our neighborhood guys are not too keen. . they’d rather make bets on IPL cricket instead.

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