Monday, December 29, 2008

Preemptive love

I'm not familiar with military slogans and jargon, but I have heard of the 'preemptive strike'. So this strategy for peace and a world filled with love instead of war caught my notice. I think it must make God smile.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I wish you and all those you love a very Merry Christmas holiday.
May you be blessed.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Here are some of the faces I've seen in the last few weeks.
Some I said goodbye to after knowing for a long time. Some I'll never know other than in passing. But they've all left their impression on my life.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I have a camera again. Once again I can take pictures whenever I like.
I am very happy about this.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I was on a plane flying to the US when I overheard a conversation.
"Are you heading home for the holidays?" said the lady.
"Oh yes, can't wait for that cranberry sauce," said the man.
"Yeah," she laughed, "back to reality."
"That's right, heh heh heh."
And their conversation went on to complain of some of the deprivations their stay in India had included, how they couldn't believe the way people lived, and what modern conveniences they were about to enjoy upon landing.
Wait a minute, I thought, cranberry sauce and people speaking American English, that's reality? This experience that people are living by the billions on the other side of the world is not real?
Life for the guy sleeping beneath the Ambedkar statue isn't reality? There are thousands of people homeless and living on the streets. And, yeah, they bother you knocking on the car window at the streetlights, begging for money. But they're not imaginary, and flying to the other side of the world doesn't mean they cease to exist.
I don't think the goatherd's little girl--or anyone she knows--has ever heard tell of a cranberry, but her reality is just as meaningful as my own.
She puts a little sweater on her baby goat and brings him to graze in the shadow of the Taj Mahal--if that's not other worldly! She may never go to school, but all she experiences is still real.
I'd have to say that it's we here in America who think life needs to include instant messaging and drive-throughs that need the reality check. Since when do we need these things as if it's the only way to live?
If you've seen it, it's only fair to at least acknowledge that it's really there, this other place where people live and work and love and die.
Because it is. Real.

And be careful what you say on an airplane. Because someone might overhear you and form unflattering opinions of you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Eid sacrifice

Eid Mubarak!
Today is Eid. A day for sacrifices.
I went out to a friend's house today and she said not to be alarmed when I saw her street. It was covered in blood from all the goat sacrifices. Actually, by the time I got there it was only puddles of water and a few people out hosing down their entryways. But the smell of fresh blood was still in the air.
The day before, we'd seen goats festively attired in garlands and bows. They were dressed for death.
And before that we'd seen sheep and goats lined up along the street outside the slaughter house. All in preparation for the big Eid celebration.
Camels, too. There were camels for sale to those who can afford a sacrifice of this size.
And they, too, were painted and decorated for Eid.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Taj

I visited the Taj Mahal this week, where I took a lot of pictures and where we wore our Taj-protecting-shoe-cover booties.

Oh, me. There were a lot of pictures to take--how exhausting.
And here are a few more of other things to see near the Taj.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Out of place pieta

Through the gates of annunciation, there is a church.
A church which bears striking resemblance architecturally to Hindu structures--
as usually found in Hindu temples.
Here, you can also find The Pieta (not Michelangelo's original, though a good imitation) garlanded just like any other Hindu shrine.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Old timey photographs

I went into an old photo shop today and found some old photographs taken in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. The exact dates for each picture are unknown, but they make for fun viewing.
The older man who ran the shop said their store has been open since 1915 and he is the third generation to work there. But he has no one to take over after him. How sad that his historical photography shop will have to close.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

From the airplane window

There's a pretty good view of the Himalya out the window of the airplane as it flies over.
Especially this time of year when even the lower peaks are snow covered.

Monday, December 1, 2008

As seen from a cycle rickshaw

I rode through the old city on a cycle rickshaw this week. I did it twice, even. There are a number of interesting things to see from this point of view. The cycle is right there in the middle of everything and yet slightly separated, in the way that you don't have to maneuver traffic yourself but are free to look around.
So here are some of the things I saw:
Shirts being delivered somewhere.
The uncle who sells paneer.
Lots of traffic.
Bangle shops.
Crowded streets.
People on the steps of the mosque.
Pretty trinkets hanging from shops.
And the Fort just as it was being lit up.