By Meg Malafronte,
Profugo was holding a ceremony for the implementation of the Children’s Club. The community of Prashanthagiri gathered on the front porch beneath a soaking wet tarp that’d been set up earlier that week. Whenever you made eye contact, it was accompanied by a genuine smile. I went inside the Profugo house to find at least fifteen women inside of Emily’s bedroom. They were all getting ready for their performances. It was a feeling I’d experienced as a little girl before a dance recital. Red lipstick surfaced the room, braids, Bindi’s, henna, black eyeliner, brushes, blushes. Visually, the colors were stimulating. There’s something about traditional Indian dress that radiates beauty. While none of us spoke the same language, I came into contact with the universality of human emotion and connection. Despite the gesturing and laughing in communicating with one another, the girls sat me down and began to brush and braid my hair. I felt apart of their ritual. They included me and didn’t treat me as some foreign visitor. The interaction was so authentic and that’s all I could’ve asked for.
Between the harmonious comfort and hospitality, right-handed meals, shoeless cups of tea, green placemats of homemade Indian meals, Aneesh’s hot-pink beet juice, Savitri’s front yard, the boy and girl who delivered milk in the morning, sunrising hikes up green mountains, the stature of Mr. George, and the timeless imagery that lies in my head – I felt as apart of the culture as my soul allowed for.