Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Turning Indian, I Think I'm Turning Indian, I Really Think So

For those of our readers who have lived, or are currently living, overseas, I think you'll agree with me when I say that there are moments where you catch yourself doing something that is so out of character for your home country, yet so inline with what people in your adopted country would do, you can only marvel at the experience. Let me explain.

Last night, I was sitting at my computer listening to a lecture. Over the sound of my professor's voice, I heard quite a bit of shouting coming from outside. We live on a busy thoroughfare, and there's often shouting, so I ignored it for a little while. However, as the sounds persisted, my curiosity mounted and I started stalking from one balcony to the next in an attempt to discover the source of the noise. I realized, after a few minutes, that the argument was coming from within our apartment complex. I was so excited by this that I ran outside the front door and stood watching as the fight moved down the stairs and out into the parking area. I watched unabashedly, discussing the possible motive for such screaming with my neighbors. Brad eventually wandered out and he stood with me for awhile while the argument carried on. As the gentleman in the middle of the dispute turned back on the building, I gazed down at him with curiosity, damning my inability to understand Hindi or Kannada. It was like Desperate Housewives: Bangalaroo and I had a front seat for the action, which was oh-so entertaining, even if the subtitles weren't working.

Now I want to be clear about the difference between how I would listen in on a fight in the US versus this one. In the US, if one were to hear a fight going on, they would of course take notice. One may even come up with some sort of ruse to move a bit closer. However, to be caught listening in would be the height of embarrassment. Americans don't want to look as if they are poking their noses in someone else's business. In India, there is no shame. If you're going to get in an argument, you better believe that the people around you are going to listen in and perhaps even take sides. By the time this argument hit it's peak, there were at least 20 people involved. I'm certain that those people didn't start out as part of the altercation, but they decided to help out, as best they could.

One of the best things about living in a foreign culture is watching the ways in which the society permeates in your everyday life. I'll never be an Indian. But I may end up an American with a dash of spice.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Gobble, gobble, gobble,

Sorry we have been so net-absent lately (OK, more than lately). We have a laundry-list of excuses, none of which shall I bore you with. Well, maybe one… Elizabeth and I are in the old USA right now. We've been here about 6 weeks. We surprised a bunch of people – the last of which was Kathrin last week in L.A. So, we couldn't exactly blog about surprising everyone until we were finished. Too bad we can't surprise Josh & Megan in Durham.

This will be a short update with hopes for a more regular series of posts in the future. So, I published my first book! It was published by Dharmaram Publications in Bangalore (associated with my school) and is entitled The Quest for Postmodern Ethics: A Phenomenological Comparison of Martin Heidegger and Sri Aurobindo Ghose. It's not on Amazon yet, but I am hopeful. I am thrilled to say that it is going to be reviewed by the Journal for Hindu-Christian Studies in their next issue! Even if they hate it, at least it will get some exposure. It is also going to be reviewed for the Journal of Dharma.

In other exciting news, last year I had an article published by the Journal of Dharma on the eco-pneumatology of Raimon Panikkar. The exciting thing is that last month I received a hand-written letter from Panikkar! How groovy is that?

Elizabeth also has big news. She has been offered an internship at a hospital in Boston! I am very proud of her – though it does add a tiny bit more pressure for me to get into Harvard's doctoral program.

Unfortunately, our journey home was not under ideal conditions. We came home several weeks earlier than planned because we wanted to spend extra time with my sister Cathy, her daughter Caylyn, her son Evan, and her husband Tully. Caylyn's leukemia relapsed following a bad bout of pneumonia (as opposed to a good case of it?) and she has only spent a handful of days out of the hospital since then. Please visit her website and leave my sister a note if you get a chance:
and also her fundraising site:

Elizabeth and I are in Connecticut right now with her family for Thanksgiving. We are going to drop by church in New Jersey on Sunday on our way back to South Carolina to see Caylyn and family more before we head back to India on Dec 4th.

Let us know if you are out there. We are both going to try to be better about postings. We wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle

Madeleine L'Engle, the author of one of the best written children's books that I have ever read, has died. A Wrinkle in Time has remained one of my favorite books, even as an adult. If you've never read it, or if it has been a long time, please go out and pick it up today. She was an inspiration to me as a child, through her characters. And she remains an inspiration today. May the world be blessed with another writer who speaks to children in the way she spoke to me.

Monday, August 27, 2007

To the Most Beautiful Woman in the World

From the luckiest man in the world…

Thank you for making everyday extraordinary.
Thank you for making me laugh everyday.
Thank you for coming to India with me and supporting me in my dreams and sharing my passions with me.
Thank you for supporting me through years of unemployment as I pursue my dreams.
Thank you for your passion and compassion for others.
Thank you for loving me no matter what.
Thank you for dreaming with me and imagining the life that we want to create.
Thank you for the hard work and efforts of our wedding and for learning our vows in Sanskrit and making our wedding so very special and unique – a day I think of often and fondly.
Thank you for giving me something to wake up for every morning and for making everyday an adventure.
Thank you for showing me that philo-sophy is not just the love of wisdom but also the wisdom of love.
Thank you for two years of sheer joy and the promise of many exciting years to come.
Thank you for keeping me in a blessed state of 'started dismay' J
You are my sacchidananda… my being, my life, and my bliss.
I love you more than words could possibly express.

यदिदं हिदयं तव तदिदं हृदयं मम ।

Happy Anniversary,

Monday, August 13, 2007

Strange Reactions

This week, I received a package from home. My mother just finished reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and felt that I would like it, as we have very similar tastes in literature. After a few mishaps of delivery, the book arrived on Saturday. I opened the book and began to flip through it, like we all do when standing in a bookstore. I flipped to the last page and saw a few words my mother had looked up while reading the book. After a year of not seeing my mother, the mere sight of her handwriting, for the first time in a year, brought tears to my eyes.

It's strange, the things that remind me of home. We had a party over the weekend to celebrate our niece's marriage in the US. (Go Chelsea & Shawn!!!!!) While preparing, I found myself thinking that I was preparing for a Thanksgiving feast at our house in New Jersey. I had to remind myself, actively remind myself, that I was not in the US, but instead in India. It was such a bizarre sensation. It was more than a mental game I played on myself. I physically felt that I was back home. I don't know how else to explain it except to say that it was one of the most powerful moments in my life. And all I was doing was sautéing garlic!!

With my one year anniversary of being in India looming, it's difficult to ignore all that I've missed back home. It's not just the large events that have taken place, but the minutia of life. The dinners that my brother has with my parents every Sunday. The lazy afternoons that Brad's family spends around the pool. Shakespeare in the Park with friends in NYC. All the little things.

I wonder, when we're back home, what things here I'll miss. That, for me, is one of the most exciting things about coming back home. Something that I am anticipating. What memories will be evoked back home? Will I be more forgiving of the things that drive me insane here once I have the perspective of distance? What are the things that will strike me when I'm driving on a back road somewhere?

More than anything, though, I would just love to see more of my mom's handwriting.