Archive for November, 2007



Yesterday I went to the corner store to buy salt. Despite my best efforts to speak clearly, I ended up with a bottle of “sauce” and blank stares when I shook my head no. This is not the first time I’ve had this experience. Every time I get into an auto rickshaw, I state my destination slowly, pause, and then repeat. Usually on the second attempt, the driver is able to understand my accent and will take me to the right place.
I have developed a deep gratitude for the experience of being misunderstood, as I let it open my heart to become more understanding and patient with others. I wonder how many times a friend or loved one was trying to tell me something and felt like I did at the corner store. With each interaction, I am becoming more adept at the skills required for clear communication: Identify the most important information and say that first; anything else will just confuse the message. Eye contact and gestures go a long way. Have a sense of humor and be willing to try again. A generous heart can overcome some of the most daunting obstacles.




A few days after my arrival in India, my husband lovingly reminded me that I was “F.O.B.”, “fresh off the boat”. I found myself slightly disoriented, trying to be myself in a place that allowed and demanded me to change. Stripped of my usual distractions- possessions, internet, cell phone- I was able to see myself with new clarity. I quickly realized that in order to thrive and embrace the richness of this experience, I would have to surrender to it. So here are some of my impressions from the first month in India.

Kal. “Tomorrow.” That’s when everything is done in Bombay. The electrician will come tomorrow, the internet will be fixed tomorrow, the air conditioner will be installed tomorrow. Here I am, into my second month in India, writing my first blog post about my first month. “Tomorrow” is an easy habit to adopt.

After 21 days in India, I have been to the mall ten times and eaten three plates of cheese & gravy fries at the local coffee shop. I think of it as honoring my inner Jersey Girl.

A few weeks ago, my husband Sam & I purchased a new car. In the display case at the auto showroom, next to the floor mats and bumper guards, is a neat little shelf with assorted Hindu gods. “Would you care for a divinity?” our Accessories Specialist asked. “For a small fee, you can have one permanently mounted on your dashboard.” Flashing lights cost extra. The other day I saw a taxi that sported a Jesus with a flashing sacred heart.


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November 2007
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