Monday, March 30, 2009


I know I know my poor little blog has been neglected and as a result so have its three and a half loyal readers--one of whom is partying in Amsterdam as of this writing but never mind that.

Truth is, I didn’t ignore my blog, was just going through a sort of mulling phase for the past two months, much of which I spent in India, ostensibly vacationing. But really I was at my parents house, thinking. We’re moving back to India next year after all. I needed to look at my homeland with different eyes than that of the annual visitor.

I thought what better time to mull over things than when a life-changing event is about to take place. The main question that kept coming up then was “is this the right thing to do, move back?”

And the answer that kept coming back was yes. Because this is what matters, isn't it? My mind played upon the “what matters issue” and the answers were, I found--very few things do.

It all seemed so surprisingly simple.

On my trip one thing I noticed was that my 72 year old father seemed a bit withdrawn from us, from things in general. Maybe its just his gruff personality playing out this way.But seeing my father withdrawing from us a little I felt a cold chill. I have to be here with him, for him. My son has to be here close to this wonderful, precious man enjoying his company, playing with him, talking, learning from him while he still has the heart to give of himself. For once that chapter closes, its gone. Forever. That matters. So much.

Then there were the smaller things, more minuscule worries. We’re spoilt by America. The place that invented “May I help you”, the land of plenty, the richest country in the world. Can we cope with living in India, which is such a different world? How much does this comfort, this ease of life matter?

As I mulled over this, I thought of a woman in India selling lemons from her small basket whom I'd encountered some years ago. She sat on the sidewalk in the rain hunched over her basket, a tiny frail old woman. I bought some lemons and handed her a fifty rupee note. She started to make change for me when her basket suddenly overturned slightly and several lemons rolled away onto the road. I was mortified seeing what might be her next meal or three squashed by the vehicles driving by. I thought she’d swear, be indignant, or at the very least, sad. But no! All she did was wave her hand in a 'let it go' gesture, and smile.

She looked at my face and began consoling me! “Never mind them,” she said. “What do I have to do with so much money?” I wanted to cry. I gave her the fifty and whatever money I had left in my purse but it wasn’t nearly enough for the wisdom she’d given me that day.Perspective. I think of her whenever I feel like complaining about any lack of comfort or convenience. Perspective. That matters.

Life can be simple or complicated wherever one is. Happy or unhappy. Contented or marred by discontent, I’ve realized. Simplify, simplify, Thoreau said. Reduce your wants, lower your expectations and suddenly everything seems easier, the air becomes lighter.