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The title of today's post comes from my current foray into the world of colon cleansing. I drank a glass of charcoal today, all in the name of improved health. My teeth felt gritty afterward and I'll ingest in the capsule form hereafter, but I needed to determine how many capsules comprised one teaspoon of activated charcoal. And that's how I ended up drinking charcoal.
Now for some culture shock fun. Since returning, I have likened India to a gopher, a basketball poll, a light bulb, a window pane, and probably many other random objects I cannot presently recall. I have strange urges to embrace random Indians I see walking in the parking lot at Home Depot. I post pictures of a chat wallah in Lodi Gardens to remember Delhi. I successfully drove around the block and to a store but I still have an impulse reaction to correct my family when they begin driving on the right side of the road. For that matter, I have to picture myself sitting in my friend's car in Delhi to recall what side the driver sits on in India so I can then reverse that to determine where the driver sits in America. My brother laughs when my head seems disconnected from my neck, wobbling to and fro in nonchalant agreement. I do a double take when I see "Connecticut" written somewhere (which happens to be EVERYWHERE in the state of Connecticut). I become exhausted after 10PM (tonight being an exception) and rise at 6AM, despite my best attempts at sleeping in. Here's a list of other "shocking" experiences:
-People probably do not understand that "ji" means "yes" in Hindi. That doesn't stop me from saying it.
-From the airport, Mom, my bro, and a friend of mine from CA went to a Spanish karaoke restaurant. I realized how assertive, to put it nicely, I have become in service establishments as I explained how I wanted tap water (but soda water if I had to pay for still water anyway), no olives on the salad, seating far away from the karaoke singers, a Diet Pepsi to keep me awake, etc. I was relieved to drink a fresh lime soda which tastes pretty much the same here as it does in India.
-The "organic" method of recycling is gone. Now I have separate my garbage into the appropriate recycling receptacles because it will not be done by people picking through my trash.
-Drivers here shut off their bright lights for oncoming vehicles.
-I have to wear a seat belt and traffic rules are no longer optional. Yeah, I actually have to stop at red lights and stop signs.
-I still avoid drinking water in the shower even though it's now clean water. I also think twice before rinsing a utensil in the sink then reusing it without thoroughly drying it first.
-When I first returned, I assessed the toilet situation to determine if I would use toilet paper, a hose, or a water jug. That's before it occurred to me that there's toilet paper in every toilet here.
-I miss being treated well. I'm ashamed to admit this because I think this royal treatment comes, at least partly, as a result of my white skin. As I fumbled for proper change in Grand Central Station in New York City (seriously, I don't recognize nickels and dimes as quickly as I used to), I sensed the cashier's impatience. I realized that most businesses I patronized in Delhi were extremely patient with me, whereas here I'm just another American.
-While I'm at it, I miss Aunty's chapattis and paranthas (& the people that go along with that too, of course!).
-Daily, Dad asks, "So, Sarah, is it good to be home?" While I have many homes, it is good to be home here!


i told a friend today that's my motto of the week -- simplify -- if it doesn't have to happen this week, don't hope for it to happen. i've got my list going, organized by location of activity and tagged by day of activity. in case you didn't hear, i'm shipping out sat early am for nyc. while such transitions send me into manic mode, "simplify" is an attempt to enjoy every last moment.
on my auto ride this morning, my mind raced through the items already residing on my list then i realized that i've already recorded them so why not enjoy the sites and sounds around me, instead? i vacillate between exhaustion and extremely high energy. unfortunately, the high energy levels tend to kick in at 1am. perhaps that's the result of my body subconsciously preparing me to shift times zones.
i haven't listed anything out for you recently, so here's a top (fill in the blank) list:
  • i've been to bangalore, delhi, & hyderabad all in the past week and loved each of them
  • i'm ditching the "buy presents" plan, (remember: simplify). i hope my presence is presents enough.
  • i was involved in a high speed race to the airport monday which involved my friend jumping out of the vehicle and urging a bus to make way for us. it did.
  • i'm listening to a david crowder band cd right now and determined to finally make it back to church tonight after a lengthy, travel-induced hiatus. oh, i just realized the cd has been looping for 10 min, waiting for me to select play.
  • i'm planning to return at the end of summer so i get to pack up & store lots of stuff with a friend
  • i'm in exhaustion mode now, so i think i'll stop

#1: india's like . . .

this is the first in a potential (currently undetermined) series titled "india's like . . ."

during our endpoint meeting last week in corbett national park (where we observed a liger with our very own eyes!), we discussed what we were NOT looking forward to facing in the US. topping my list was the unavoidable question to be posed by many well-meaning friends: "How was India?" you, my dear readers, can help me in advance by cleverly disguising your curiousity with other words. and i am planning how to stage my own inside joke. i will begin my answer with, "india's like (then fill in the blank with the first thing that comes to mind)." when practicing with a friend, she began, "india's like a bubble bath." the onus is then on her to make the connection so the inside joke goes undetected.

i KNOW, you don't have to tell me, how cruel this is in the face of genuine interest. but imagine, "india's like a gecko." this was my favorite of the day and put a smile on my face as i forced myself to make the mental leap -- "india's like a gecko, darting in so many directions that you can barely follow it. fearful at first, i came to recognize the innocence and intricacy of this crazy creature . . ."