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!