Tuesday, April 17, 2012

K is for Kaleidoscope

Mood: Calm – for now
Listening to: Completely ineffective ceiling fans – it’s hot!

My housecleaner’s daughter comes over sometimes with her mom to help out. I actually hate it because this girl has gone to school and needs to find a good job and not get sucked into being a housecleaner, but it’s not my place to say. Anyhow, she was asking me today how things in the US are. I found it kind of funny, because non-Indian people ask me the same question about how India is. I can’t say that one place is better than the other – they both have their good and bad points.

The US is clean, it’s orderly, and downright boringly sanitized most of the time. I guess if you need that kind of environment, then it is wonderful. Life is a bit easier because Americans love giving instructions and helping other people figure out what’s going on. We are a nation that loves instruction manuals and posters telling people what’s going on.  I would venture to say that life in America is almost ridiculously simple.

The closest thing I can compare India to is a kaleidoscope. It is all lights and colors and chaos swirling around in a semi set pattern. It is dazzling to watch but very easily becomes overwhelming for those not accustomed to it. It is dirty, crowded, and most often smelly, but that’s what happens when you throw so many people with such a rich history together. If nothing else, India is as real as it gets, which is one of the reasons I love it.  There isn’t much about India that is simple. If you have a decent amount of money, you can get a lot of service, but it won’t come easily, especially if you don’t speak a local language or at least Hindi.

Being a simple US girl, the lights, colors and smells of India never fail to fascinate me. When we first moved in with my inlaws, I used to sit for hours on the porch and watch the hustle go by in the roundabout. It never got old. Even after almost 6 months of living in this amazing country, I still see something new and interesting every time I step out of my door. Even the people are complicated, which seems to add a depth to every interaction that you just don’t find in the US.

As I mentioned, the downside is that India is ALWAYS like this and it’s always on. If you get overwhelmed there’s not much to be done besides hide in your house, and that never lasts too long – you have to eat eventually. Occasionally, it makes you long for a simple farmhouse in Bumbledum Montana where you can sit in complete silence on the porch in a rocking chair and not contemplate humanity for 5 minutes.  

It’s still easy to see the pull of India though. Let me tell you, the kaleidoscope still has its hooks firmly in me.


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