THERE IS A WAY OF BEING HERE THAT I LOVE


There is a way of being here – in India, in my mother’s house, in this city teeming with my family – that I do not experience in the US. When you live the kind of isolated life that most Americans live – just Payson and me, for example – you have so much time on your hands that you feel that unless you are being ‘productive’ with it, you are wasting it. I for one end up doing too much in the US, or fretting about not doing enough. But here, in India, I spend wide swaths of time just sitting down being with someone, mostly my mother, and with other members of my family. You simply sit and watch the children, chit chat, eat, lie down if you feel like it, since in my family at least a lot of interaction happens on or besides beds. Payson, for example, when he first visited my family, was amazed at how in the mornings I would take my mug of tea, go to my parents bedroom, get under their quilts and just hang around telling each other our dreams, going down memory lane, listening to kirtan, Sikh religious music, on the radio, or being silent. My father, unlike my mother, who has for most of her life been phobic around touching, loved cuddling, so often I would lie with him and he would stroke my hair as we chattered. This still happens in my sister and brother-in-law’s house, where her grandchildren clamor all over them in the morning and evening.
What I want to say is that there is a different sense of time in India, fast disappearing in the capitalistic  — time equals money and money equals life and success –lifestyle, or disease that has infected the globe.   

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