Friday, July 15, 2011

crap, culture, and chai

India has been pressing on my mind since before the bombs. I was there just months after the attacks a few years ago in 2008.

It just so happened that I was there the same week as former President Bush, so I was told. I never saw the man, but I was always on the lookout for he and his posse. Somehow I've never seen a president in person and thought it would be ironic to see one of our own in Asia. Too bad for me; my timing was off.

I stood at this place across from where Mr. Bush supposedly stayed. There was a bomb scare that week and I was certain we might be evacuated.

India is not quite like you see in the films. I've never seen Darjeeling Limited but I always assumed Wes Anderson portrayed it as cool, spiritual, and beautifully toned. I guess I saw more of the Born Into Brothels side, or places like the streets Jamal ran down in Slum Dog Millionare, winding through cars and filth in his neighborhood.

The trains we rode on smelled of feces and contained no places to sit or stand that you could guarantee to be sanitary. Though it seems I miss this dirty, smelling place and count on returning someday soon.

In Mumbai, I met a wonderful young woman named Stephanie who started and runs iSanctuary. Its a place of hope and freedom; refuge and peace. After all my experiences I have so many more questions for Stephanie. We spoke briefly about how things work and talked over a "round table" with several nuns who help run the organization to discus the possibility of partnership. Sadly, I've lost touch with them since. I've always looked up to her courageous spirit. I'd guess she's around 30, single, and lives on her own in India. That's a woman to look up to. I guess this is just a reminder for me of my hopes, dreams, and aspirations. India is forever on my heart. I hope my new degree program can set me on the right path to bringing freedom to other women in this world. There are so many held captive but not only their men, but ideals, laws, and their poverty. It's going to be another long, tough road, but I feel as though in the past few years I've had enough practice to get through it this time.

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