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Showing posts from 2009

the real india?

i hope you visit india someday. and i hope you love it. and i hope you leave, still loving it. i'm reaching a point where i wonder if my formerly rosy perspective is redeemable. 2+ years in this emerging market has made me cynical. we were in gulmarg , kashmir this past weekend and it was a respite from the pollution, from the touts, from the traffic, from the deception, from the ad hoc - ness . we returned monday afternoon, descending through a thick blanket of brown. we purchased a pre -paid taxi voucher inside the airport and proceeded to wait outside in the very long line. the taxis were not queuing; instead, they were waiting down the street for permission to queue. when we pushed our way to the front and demanded a taxi assignment, the taxi drivers refused to take us because our proximity to the airport meant they would not earn much money on the trip. my boyfriend stopped one taxi by blocking it with his body while i hopped in and dragged my bag inside. the tax


today i decided to focus, to not get distracted, and to not multi-task. i want to test the theory that multi-tasking is actually LESS efficient. i reason, "i can be DOING something while waiting for this ppt to open," and then i end up on my friend's blog when the ppt opened minutes ago. living a 5S life may not be so pleasant for those around me and i'm not striving to achieve that. i do wonder, however, if the frenetic, multi-tasking lives we have become accustomed to living inform the exorbitantly stressful lives we experience. i've been thinking about stress a lot lately. i recognize that i've become stressed out. i listened to a podcast from "speaking of faith" defining stress as a natural, beneficial response to danger. prolonged periods of stress, however, weaken our immune system which may result in illness. after trying shorter work days, prayer & meditation, ballet, getting outside, taking quiet evenings for myself, and rem

when i'm bored

i find that, though i have more work to do than i can possibly hope to accomplish, i still get bored with it sometimes. a rich (wo)man's dilemma, i know. i'm not the office assistant sitting in the next room, searching for something to do and awaiting chai serving time so he has something, ANYTHING to do. but today i decided to blog in hopes that it would inspire me to do my real work. so, what to write about? oh, this just in (well, "in" two weeks ago): yours truly is going to be a professional ballerina next week. what that really means is that i'm getting paid to perform ballet, swan lake (to be exact). this belongs in the lengthy list of things that are possible only in india. i abandoned my professional ballet dreams at the tender age of 14 but now that my age has doubled, it's time to turn dreams into reality.

something that annoyed me, a lot

i was at the grocery store yesterday and the cashier didn't have change. this was the first thing that started the annoyance feeling. she wanted me to buy something else so she wouldn't have to give me so much change. she wondered if i wanted more biscuits or maybe some chocolate. i finally relented and bought raisins. then, before i realized what happened, she swiped the preferred customer card of the woman behind me in line. no, i didn't reap any discount advantages BUT the woman behind me got a significant boost in her customer loyalty points. i asked the woman, "did she just swipe your card?" the woman responded, "well, if she did, that was her mistake. it doesn't make a difference to you." i replied, "no, you GAVE her your card, BEFORE it was your turn. that's dishonest." really, who cares if she got my points? but i was amazed that she tried to blame it on the cashier AND that she didn't even ask if i minded befor

something to blog about

it was friday: the end of a long week for the yuppies gathered around the table at a local watering hole in delhi. as we enjoyed our (turned out afterwards to be falsely advertised) two-for-one drinks, conversation turned to pornography. "how," i queried, "can you consider pornography to empower women? how would you feel if your sister or mother decided to partake in modeling? and how can you say it's fine when all three of the women gathered around the table are not smiling?" did i miss the joke? has playboy suddenly become acceptable? or did i miss the boat? perhaps playboy's always been accepted by the masses as empowering and respectful of women, led by a purely enterprising man. while i was surprised by my passion regarding this issue, the flippancy of at least one male at the table infuriated me. i know there are gray lines everywhere we look and one can argue for many degrees of decency (or indecency). i'm simply blogging about it b/c it

Thanks, Diwali

Owing to the Diwali pataka (fireworks), Delhi's current weather is "smoke."

little ol' lady

quick update: that lady I recently wrote about is alive and well. she's at least well enough to walk & hang laundry on the terrace. not sure why she's not sunning herself regularly, though . . .

life of bliss

i wanted to type out something while awaiting the Citibank Rep who's avoiding me these days (i may not be the easiest customer with whom he works). i've been thinking a lot about the emotional highs & lows that humans experience, based upon their outward experiences. For example, I leave for India after four weeks in North America and I have the "post-US blues." Or money's tight, work's slow in coming, and the world feels like it's crumbling. the interesting part is that faith pulls (or drags) us through these experiences but it seems that God fights for us in those moments. i surely didn't feel like a fighter, sobbing while checking FB updates in the middle of the night while missing the folks i'd just left in the US. but somehow God pulled me out of the literal night and into a new day. i write this because it's important to recognize that you are not the only one who feels like this sometimes. i've felt this and most peopl

funny old people

Poppi to me: Do you know any posses in India? Me to Poppi : Hmm , we don't really have those in India. Poppi : Really, no posses? Me: No, no posses . . . oh, oh, Parsis . No, I don't know any Parsis in India but I know there are many there. We went to visit Grandma Supple during the annual family reunion. When we arrived at the old folk's home, Grandma was telling the nurses about some terrible tragedy. We wheeled her into a sitting room and offered to sing her favorite song. We collapsed in hysterics as we sang, "White Christmas." That was her favorite song last time Aunt Amy visited. This time, Grandma was worried about missing the movies and said, "I'm not trying to be rude but I really need to get going," as she tried to rise from her wheelchair. We opted to wheel her down the hall to the "movies," aka the community room playing a movie conveniently set in the 1950's. Then Grandma wanted to pay for her movie ticket and bega

lost lady

I returned to Delhi after a month's absence and was saddened to not see the little old lady that used to sit on her terrace, head covered, reading through her prayers in the morning sun. She religiously sat there every morning from 7:30 to 9:00 AM. She had a dedicated folding chair that she sat in as her hair dried after her morning bath. Following a time of peaceful rest, she would cover her head with a white cloth and read her book. Perhaps they weren't prayers. Perhaps I imagined that. She wasn't on the balcony when I returned. A few days later, her folding chair was removed. Life at the home across the alley seems to go on, from all outward appearances. Clothes still dry on the lines, the house helper takes a moment to lean over the balcony railing and sip her tea as she gazes down the alley below. I want to know what happened. Maybe they sent her to another relatives home for the cold winter months. Maybe she was too frail to travel and she is no more.

Why Like This?

It wouldn't have been so bad except that we started around 10,000 ft. Then it rained and forced us to take shelter in a shepherd's lodge, under a rock, and under a piece of plastic. We took care to provide some exhaust outlet for the stove while trying to warm ourselves up during the rain. I fell in the river -- one of those, "God, I might be swept out of sight" falls. Bicky grabbed me, I slipped and went in again. The boots I took off in order to remain dry filled with liters of water. Too bad the boots weren't meant to retain water because they did a great job of that for four days. Then we began camping on ice. We made a flattish site from hacking ice with our mountaineering axes. My Therm-a-rest is too old, it's flat within hours and ice cold temperatures attack my hips. The moraine slipped and slid under our feet as we walked. "Why like this?" In what felt like a God forsaken moment (we huddled under a plastic tarp for two hours, s

india: a study in contrasts

today i offer up a couple links that provide some insight to where india stands as a nation. rather than rattle off my personal views, i'd encourage you to read and understand a bit more about this place in which i live. 1st: Economist article on yesterday's overturn of India's law banning sodomy 2nd: Reader comments on the above

when i'm mad

When I get mad, I generally like to spew forth the sundry incidents that put me in such a state. Today, for example, lustful, reproachful, confused stares from young men and old women, alike, threaten to undo me. And if the stares don't send me into hysterics, it might very well be two groups of "fresh off the plane" Americans, marveling that we drink the water and eat the vegetables here. I want to scream, "I live here. This is my normal life, just like you live yours in America." But then I hear, "And, oh, aren't those cows darling and wouldn't it be nice to have them in Manhattan?" and I realize screaming would be both uncivilized and misinterpreted, to be sure. Amazingly, we actually do not live in two different worlds; the stare-ers, fops, and I all live in exactly the same world. They have their angry moments and triggers, just as I have mine. The real point, however, comes from John Eldredge's recent book, Walking with God, in

in trouble

While talking with Mom the other night I was reminded to post stories like these. I'll tell the tale in reverse. Saturday night, CJ & I ended up at home, watching a movie. Seems rather unlike the two of us but my one request for the evening was that we not do anything that might get us into trouble. That ruled out rappelling into some ruins we discovered. Now you need to understand the reason behind my request. Two weekends ago, we traveled to Mussoorie, a former British hill station that serves as a nice retreat from Delhi (especially when it's 100+ degrees!). We wanted to trek, too, so we set out on a paved path then quickly descended down a mountainside through nettles on steroids, across a garbage-strewn stream, up a hill/cliff side of shrubbery, to a nice sunset outcropping. After a time of reflection and cloud-watching, we proceeded up the hill, down another paved path, past a local man intent upon us NOT climbing an unmarked path, down the paved path, and up s

haircutting in India

Saturday, I came the closest I've come to the traditional male head massage I hear so much about. I hear of how wonderful it is, how people miss it when they leave, how they'll pay just for the massage -- forget the haircut. It all started when I missed my US appointment with the only person to cut my hair (save the rockstar cut exception) in the past 5+ years. I sat down & was promptly told I needed a shampoo because I have dandruff. After the shampoo and conditioning, the hairdresser came back and announced I have grey hair. Only much later did he ask if my hair color was natural and comment that he liked it. Humans can be so vain, can't we?

one more story

My roommate reminded me that I should amend the previous blog to include another event that occurred the day before the pigeon/light incident. I received call from my boyfriend, asking, "up or down?" I answered, "up," to which he replied, "good choice." I wondered what was going on; he explained that he was in my apartment, wearing my climbing harness, attaching a rope in preparation from climbing up off the balcony. The alternative was to rappel to the ground. You must understand that apartment doors in India enable one to be locked inside, unknowingly, until they attempt to leave. My roommate accidentally slid the bolt across the door and padlocked CJ inside. After many attempts to raise a raucous and get someone's attention, he decided to climb onto the roof and walk down the stairs to unlock the door by himself. Thankfully I got a call five minutes later that he survived.

some funny stories

Today I learned how having a boyfriend is viewed in India. Suffice to say, fiancees are preferable to boyfriends by all popular accounts. Since that recent discovery had me downcast, I decided I needed to reflect on some humorous incidents. Last weekend, the aforementioned boyfriend and I traveled to Gulmarg in Kashmir for a ski weekend. Kashmiri people believe their land is occupied by the 6 lakh (600,000) Indian troops that serve as "protection" against the Pakistanis. This background is necessary to understand why there is such heavy security on every street corner and in the airport. First we passed guards at the door. After showing our snow-soggy flight confirmation, we proceeded to scan our checked baggage. Then on to the check-in counter. After signing out of the occupied territory at the next counter, we grabbed a bite to eat. We then proceeded through security in order to identify our checked luggage out of a line-up before it got loaded on the plane. Befor

my life in indiahhh

i've had plenty of REALLY good stuff to blog about lately but i'm finally getting on it tonight. i had an excellent day. it started with quality time with Abba then my first day in our office. at first, i felt like i'd traveled back in time to the days when i lived in cubicle-land. then i realized the value of daily discipline & being with co-workers for immediate feedback, strategizing , and positive peer pressure to get stuff done. for the first time in 1-1/2 years, i returned to a proper ballet class this evening! i sweated , i laughed, i LOVED it. & THEN i got to enjoy Cocoberry -- think Pinkberry in Delhi. And now i'm talking to my boyfriend, reliving the day -- life doesn't get much better than this.