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Showing posts from June, 2010


Riding the train back from Shimla yesterday, a carriage attendant began distributing Hindi newspapers. When I asked him if he had the paper in English, he exclaimed, "No!" My friend and I looked at each and began laughing. We almost never hear the word, "no" and never spoken as emphatically as this youth spoke. It was almost as if an English-language paper is an affront to Hindi. And, somehow, his enthusiasm and honesty was refreshing. (Btw, that's my traveling companion in the photo, not me.)

sometime i wish i had a camera

Driving home from my friend's house last night, a few vivid images flashed in front of my car. I will try to capture them in words. Driving under the newly completed metro, I passed a woman standing on the divider in the middle of the road. Headlights from the oncoming traffic back lit her salwar kameez-clad body and shown through her dupatta as she raised it to cover her head. Though drivers are very responsive, cows are not. I swerved to avoid a (small) herd of very large cows as they jumped the divider and landed on my side of the road. The wind cleared the air yesterday afternoon and a waxing moon hung over the sky scrapers of Gurgaon. Believe it or not, Gurgaon was beautiful for the moment.

good cries

Do you ever find that by crying, you are clearing you mind, heart, and spirit all at once? My teacher used to say, "crying washes the windows of your soul." I concur.


This weekend was a first class weekend from start to finish. This was my first time traveling alone in India by train and the only class left was first class (summer is high travel time around the country) so I bit the bullet and splurged on first class tickets. The experience did not disappoint. Here are some highlights: The crotchety old man called on our first class carriage attendant (yes, we had our own attendant) to fix our reading lights and give me an untorn sheet. I declined the untorn sheet. What I originally had was perfectly useful. The same man called on me to lock the door to our four berth compartment, citing me as a foreigner who needed to protect herself. Perhaps we were more vulnerable traveling first class than in sleeper class. Perhaps he had a good point but I really didn't want to be awoken to unlock the door when our fourth inhabitant boarded in the middle of the night. I lost that battle and locked the door. The fourth person never showed up. As I b

slowing down

my blogs are slowing down, power's slowing down, work and life around delhi are slowing down. with this heat comes a general slow-down across the NCR (National Capital Region). BUT, we have triumphed today because the power has not gone out. for the past two days, we suffered prolonged power outages, so long that we burned through the stored power in our inverter. one employee told me yesterday that he was working from home today because of the outages. i told him he had to report in and IF, and only if the power cut out, we would discuss if he could go home. personally, i'm glad the power hasn't gone out today.

106 feels like

wait, i just had a thought. what if i try to convince myself that this heat is necessary to produce mangoes? i really like mangoes; i'm eating one right now. i just have to make the mental leap to believe that, without, very high temperatures, i could not enjoy mangoes. Well, I just researched , and found that mangoes grow best between 23.9 o C and 26.7 o C (75 - 80 degrees F). Alas, my research didn't convince me. I can be thankful that I get to sit in an air conditioned office rather than hauling loads of rocks in a basket on my head in order to build the VIP roads in preparation for Delhi's Commonwealth Games in October. How do I feel about living on one of those VIP roads? And how do I feel, knowing that I have a nearly continuous power supply because I live on said road? And how about those who live outside the city with a couple hours of power a day because their supply is being sent to Delhi to provide power to build for the Games? Hmm, what a life of para

some things i like

Daniel Lanois ' album, Shine, with lyrics such as "hard to have and then have not" India's Search for the Unknown Christ which is also a useful survey of India's main religions gratitude I was inspired this morning to begin a thankfulness journal. One way of getting into a positive frame of mind is to dwell on the positive such as rainbows from my prism which I haven't seen in a year b/c the sun only hits the prism for minutes each day the neighbor's guard's smile our mali delighting in helping me back the car out of the driveway this morning Maybe, just maybe, things are beginning to look up.

my aversion to some Indian men

Case 1: While at the gym, I received the following text: "Miss you this morning while at the gym and breakfast." As a bit of background, this came from the producer who gave me the DVD of My Name is Khan that I mentioned in an earlier post. Last I checked, a 20 minute professional conversation in an airport does not create a relationship wherein the other is "missed." Perhaps I'm the one missing something here. I try to not "blame a guy for trying" but in this case, I kind of do. Case 2: While leaving the gym, the trainer approached me and told me he can put me on an exercise plan. And I quote, "Your cardio is good. I will give you exercises to tone and there will be weight loss, also. I will teach you how to use all the machines and will give you a diet plan." I raised my eyebrows at the lady behind the counter and wondered, "He thinks I need to lose weight? Why does he think I'd be interested in his training, anyway?"

cars, gyms, and no chai

Here are three vignettes from daily life in India . . . 1. Yesterday, I concluded that cars are preparation for pets which are preparation for children. To give you a sense of where I stand on that spectrum, I'm barely able to care for a car. When the car overheated Saturday, it must have been God who encouraged me to check the coolant levels. Someone at church helped me by pouring 2 liters of H2O into the car. Clearly I had been "low" on coolant. I proceeded to a petrol pump to get coolant. I snapped when three different men attempted to sell me the same car scratch repair service (which they do every time I go to this particular petrol pump). When the third man responded in English, I realized perhaps he was a friend and not a foe. I lost my temper a couple more times as he tried revving the engine to get the water out. Finally he managed to loosen a hose and drain the water and re-fill it with coolant. Praise God for random angels like him. 2. As I mentioned i

My Name is Khan

It's been awhile since I watched a movie worth recommending and this one comes highly recommended. My Name is Khan is a complete diversion from the typecast of the artist known in India as SRK (aka Shahrukh Khan). Kajol (lead actress) comes through with a brilliant performance as usual. Besides the stellar acting, however, are multiple themes interwoven to prick consciences around the world: autism, racial discrimination, sibling rivalry, cross-cultural living, politics, religious fanaticism. I will admit that I cried my way through most of the film (which is a rarity for me) which also seems highly correlated to whether I would recommend a film. When something touches our very souls in such a way, we feel compelled to share it with others. I won't spoil the plot at all (you can visit the imdb link if you want more info) but simply encourage you to find and watch this. As a fun aside, the DVD was released only last week and I received a copy from one of the film's pr

and one more thing

While writing the last blog, I forgot the story I had intended to tell. I was at lunch yesterday with a colleague who commented on Al and Tipper Gore separating. He exclaimed, "Wow, if even they can get divorced then any couple is vulnerable." Umm, no ?!*%, Sherlock! Hello-oh?! Perhaps I am one of the few who believes that any couple is vulnerable AND that couples need to proactively protect their marriages. We live in a world where we are told from a very young age to do whatever makes us happy, where we are told we need to do whatever's right for us, where our egos are nurtured and supported to such an extent that we don't think about others. We don't consider that pain and struggle can also result in triumph. While I approach this from a spiritual perspective and believe that a very real enemy exists in this world who would like nothing more than to see every union shattered and commitment stolen, I would also make my appeal from a moral perspective. C

writing to get it all out

I find that I am a prolific blogger when I have no one with whom to share my daily goings on which means you, my reader, benefit. As my apocalypse blog may have indicated, Delhi is now shrouded by a heavy layer of dust. When I entered my bedroom, my feet left tracks in the dust on the floor. The dust-free zones on my bathroom shelf mark where my floss, lotion, and soap resided in my absence. Dust fell from my brittle plants as I watered them this morning (ought I pay the waterer if my plants now resemble Charlie Brown's Christmas tree?). On the upside, 108 degrees doesn't feel so hot. Maybe it's the dust shielding us from the full effects of the sun. The outlook is for a cooler 103 degree weekend. Perhaps I brought a bit of the pleasant New England late spring weather with me to Delhi. AND my office got a second A/C unit in my absence which means my office is workable. On the trip to Delhi, I armed myself with some girlie mags like Marie Claire and Glamour. While t

Back to the Apocalypse

I'm back in Delhi and sleepless from jet lag so I went running under an apocalyptic sky. I looked up at 6:30AM and saw a very faint white circle in the sky. Hmm, must be the sun. Dust doesn't begin to explain the thickness in the air. I'm chalking up my burning eyes and burning lungs to the particles thickening the air, reducing the amount of oxygen that reaches my needy lungs. Should I run in a gas mask? On a whole, however, this return is going well. God knew that it would be hard to return this time for personal reasons so He's smiling on me in little ways. For example, the neighbor's guard opened my gate for me when I returned from my run. And I went to the local produce market this morning outside the park after my run. I bought mangoes, apples, grapes, bananas, tomatoes, onions, lemons, a cucumber, oatmeal, OJ, eggs, and milk for $7.60. Gotta love India! In another funny incident, the cab dropped me off last night and there was a huge hole in the s