A new neighborhood, an old feel

The effect in the photos below reminds me strongly of photos my mom took on her first trip to India in 1979, six months after my parents were married. Most of them depict my cousins and Mohana, food, painted trucks, street scenes, water buffalos, and travels she and my dad took by train from Delhi to Agra to visit the Taj Majal. You know, things that would fancy a 32 year-old, blond Philadelphian newlywed traveling to a completely foreign place to visit her brand new in-laws. On that trip my mom famously - for the benefit of my dad, her future offspring, and anyone who has eaten at our house in the last 30 years - sat on the floor in Mohana's kitchen and wrote down all the recipes that were whizzing by. This was mostly done based on hand gestures, sight and smell. 

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Anjuli in a salwar

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So y'all know I meditate, right? Twice a day. It's a practice called Transcendental Meditation (TM) that my dad and mom have been practicing since '71 and '72 respectively. It's a simple, mantra-based technique, but it differs from quite a few out there in that it's not concentration-based. That means, you don't sit around and stare at the wall, trying to bore a hole through it. And that's not to ... View Essay »

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EssayEn route to Nagpur

While cabs come in all shapes in sizes in India, privately rented vehicles seem to come in two varieties: those where the driver uses A/C and those where he does not. Our trip last Friday from Nagpur to visit the Brahmasthan (meaning center, near Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh) was of the latter type. We like the freedom of open windows. In the Indian countryside, though, there are a few setbacks to fresh-aired freedom. In addition to the burning sensation that travels from your nose to eyes to throat coming from the pervasive diesel exhaust, the dust is incredible. Our driver had smartly decorated his seats with cream-colored faux leather covers, successfully hiding the permanently caked layers of fine dust while also preventing us from ever being able to use our seat belts!

It's remarkable just how much dust can exist while still providing sufficient moisture for life to survive. Here in Madhya Pradesh, it only rains a few months out of the year. Trees look scrappy and thirsty, their leaves shiny and hard like stiff paper. View Essay »

GalleryA bout of lag

Mohana making <em>adai</em>

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EssayA bout of lag

Matt working on the TM redesign

When we arrive at our destination and meet with people, the question is always asked "What do you want to do?" Immediately, my type A kicks in and I ramble off all the categories of things we want to accomplish, beginning with language, culture, humanitarian efforts, etc. But after a moment I feel sheepish, as though I am justifying my endeavor with a busy-bee list of things. How do you explain ... View Essay »

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For a visit

Seeing friends is the best part of coming home. Much love to Brian, Alicair, Fiona and baby Wendy. We'll see you soon. 

It's mah 40th birthday

Matt has decided since I turned 30 on the 31st, he needs an epic birthday. So today is Matt's honorary 40th.

It was a good one, by all accounts, and he testifies to feeling nearly a decade younger. There was birthday cake for breakfast, men doing some hardcore tree climbing, a 2 1/2 hour wintry hike through People's Forest (strangely there were no people to be found), and homemade free range burgers and sweet potato fries. Unfortunately we followed that up with Eastern Promises, which Matt somehow remembered as NOT being (bloody) depressing. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. We're going to go get a pint to wash it away and then listen to the rain pitter patter on the roof.

Tomorrow we're off to meet baby Wendy in Boston and then on Saturday Mama Arruda. In a few short days we're ... View Post »

GallerySweaters, rockets and old firefighters

We attended our first ugly sweater party on Sunday in honor of Papa, Matt's grandfather, who died last year from cancer at the wise old age of 93. He was a wonderful, sweet man who valued family above all else. This photo with him and Grammy was taken in 1942. They were in their early 20s. View Gallery »

GalleryA bombardier ride in Yellowstone

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