For the second time since arriving in India, I am on “house arrest” due to political turmoil. The Centre has gone back on their promise regarding Telangana statehood and as a result a 48-hour bandh has been called throughout the Telangana region. School is closed, businesses are shut down, and public transportation is not running, everything has come to a standstill. From the newspaper reports it sounds as though areas of Hyderabad are quite volatile at the moment. The protests, which are largely student led, have turned violent in some areas, targeting buses and private vehicles as well as forcing shops to close down early. There is talk of possibly instating President’s Rule if the situation isn’t resolved and the U.S. has even placed a travel alert on the state.
Out here in Matendla village, we are relatively unaffected by the bandh. Liza and I have the school mostly to ourselves, along with Puroshatam who sleeps here, a couple alumni, and the kitchen help. We were reassured that as soon as the bandh was announced the kitchen stocked up on petrol and vegetables, so at least we won’t go hungry. Boredom is another matter, however, since we actually have five days holiday now: two days for the bandh, Saturday for Christmas, Sunday as usual, and Monday for a state holiday. I expect that Liza and I will spend the next days detailing our program for Kalleda School, initializing Operation GRE, improving our abysmal karam technique (a board game version of pool), and wandering the surrounding jungle in search of the ever-elusive peacock!