Friday, October 20, 2006

#59 India or Indiana

When I type “India” on my laptop, Microsoft Word suggests “Indiana.” Maybe that’s a sign. In Trying Really Hard to Like India, Seth Stevenson wrote “Back home in the States, it can feel like we’ve got life figured out, regulated, under control, under wraps. But here in India, nothing seems even close to figured out. Nothing seems remotely under control. You’re never quite sure what will happen next, and you’re working without a net.”

And Mark Twain wrote, “So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked.”

As hard as it is for this Missouri girl to side against Mr. Twain, I must admit that I fall more in line with Mr. Stevenson’s sentiments on the topic of India. And in the earlier post, Kelly didn’t even mention the 100-degree temperatures (as opposed to snow in Indianapolis), the fire in a students’ hotel room, or the insane traffic. And their postage stamps don’t even have any adhesive! But, on the other hand …
• One of the most fabulously beautiful sights in all the world has to be an Indian woman wearing a colorful sari. Even when traveling India by train in the oppressive heat of the afternoon, these women are beautiful.
2263f Saris at Fatehpur Sikri
• We safely returned to the ship from our 3-day adventure to northern India with all 68 students. The two students from the burning hotel room have a great story to tell.
• I like the Indian head waggle and I intend to try it out back home again in Indiana. Its meaning fits somewhere in between our head nod and our shoulder shrug – and I’ve been needing a gesture just for that.
• Indian food is good.
• And for a more positive, well-written, heartwarming experience in India, be sure to check out Erika's adventure - India is kind of a big deal.

Yours in wondering if that Hannibal native may have been right after all,

Current location: off the southern tip of Sri Lanka
Latitude 5 degrees, 58.8N Longitude 79 degrees, 56.4E


  1. Your comments (and Erika's) about India really surprised me. I had probably heard about it before but I guess it was off my radar. I mentioned it to Jenn and she said she's always thought it was amazing that anyone could survive there. I suppose at her young age, she realizes more than me.

    P.S. Congrats to Andy and Brandy!

  2. So if the Indian head waggle has a meaning between our head nod and our shoulder shrug, is that to say it means something between "I don't know" and "Yes"?

  3. Mychelline FiadhiglasOctober 23, 2006 at 4:25 PM

    Hi guys,

    The outfits worn in your photo are actually salwar kameez, not saris, but I agree with you that saris are incredibly beautiful.

    I'm strangely fascinated by Indian culture (esp their long and illustrious textile history), but I'm not entirely sure I want to see India myself.

    ~Mychelline Fiadhiglas

  4. mapblue,
    India wasn't my fave, but we were locked in to the tourist areas. Others who visited more rural areas had better experiences, so I'm trying hard not to give up on India.

    I'm told the waggle means something between "who cares / whatever" and "Yes" with the stipulation that individual usage may vary.

    Thanks for setting us straight on the clothing terminology. We saw a small silk fabric manufacturing operation in Myanmar but didn't get a glimpse of the creation of Indian textiles.

    We'll talk when we get back, but I suspect you'd find plenty to like about India.