Thursday, October 29, 2009

A puzzling characteristic

As I sat on a bench outside the chemistry Lab, I observed a behavior of two students with a senior teacher that left me puzzled completely. It is not the first time I am observing this. It has happened many times in my class, and at first I used to think it was of course the "new/foreign" teacher aspect that made them believe they could behave that way... ["You mean you've never been a governess before?" ... "the Sound of Music", of course!] But now I am observing this everywhere and many teachers talk of it. So what was the incident? Revenons à nos moutons! The teacher is taking her class somewhere and two students want to have a drink of water before going. They just passed a water fountain. She says no, they must follow her right away. They stood there for more than 5 minutes arguing about it without any resolution. In the meantime the rest of class is long gone! People here have a way of insisting when asking for something that is mind boggling in their perseverance! One of the ways of dealing with a misbehaving child here is to ask them to stand at the door of the class for a while. That child can drive any respectable person insane in just about 3 minutes! (in the picture, my latest victim!) He/she will say "I'm sorry, Mam/Sir" nonstop the whole time he's standing there. No matter what you say, they will just keep repeating it till you either give in, and let them come back in (...and they start again whatever behavior got you there in the first place!), or you suddenly from a calm human being become a totally frustrated person with thoughts of vengeance coming in your mind! OK, you are going to love this one because it so totally out of alignment with all educational philosophies, I've made threats to them that I KNOW I cannot uphold!! Looking at them straight in the eyes, I'd say "If you say it ONE more time I will not allow you to ever come back to my class!" Once after I said this, I did crack up laughing right there in that child's face and poor him not knowing what to do, should he laugh with me or cry, just stared while I had the best laugh of my life ("Laugh till I cry" ... "Bucket List")! A lovely colleague of mine in the Chemistry department told me "they do it to irritate you!" Well, if that’s the objective, they succeed every time! No really, it is a strange situation. The thing is both teachers and students do it! Once they have something in their mind nothing will get it out! Many experiences of that I've had. And it’s like you’re talking to a wall! With the least bit of expression, they will repeat their point till you eventually give in. You feel, there is a communication gap somewhere. I mean this teacher stood there arguing with the kids to march and they had their own thoughts to drink water and nothing was going to make them march and she was not about to allow them to do so. How did it all end?... The teacher went back with the kids to the fountain! Yes, this is why they insist, they know in the end they will get their way!
When a child asks you for money in the streets, she will stand there and repeat the SAME words over and over again as long as you are standing there. She won’t change her expression, she won’t change her line and will NOT leave! “10 Rs., Mam, no food, no Mama” over and over again in the same tone. (The interrogation in “The Lives of Others”!! Is she lying?!) Some of you are thinking, why not just give her the 10 Rs., she sure can use it, and be done with it? Because if you do, no matter how you may think this child was alone, as soon as you give this one person, a dozen of them immediately surround you for their 10 Rs.!!!
The puzzling characteristic here is the often inability for people to understand the word “no”. It feels really that it has no meaning for many. I would really like to understand!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

School Activities

I tell you, I will go back to America a changed person!! (How many of you believe this?! How quickly we forget!!) No more complaining about too many activity hours that takes away from teaching time!! We don’t know the beginning of this issue! At Daly College, I don’t think I have ever had a full class of students any given day that I’ve been here. They are either gone for Shooting competition, Cricket match, Squash, NCC (which is something like a J-ROTC but that is compulsory for all students, I think?! I’ve asked about it so many times, don’t fully get the idea but can’t ask anymore!!) It is mind boggling! There are a few girls in my 9th class that I haven’t seen in class for about three or four weeks. So in the higher classes, they miss school like that and the parents hire tutors to keep the kids up to speed with their classmates! Now that tutoring job is not so bad when you consider that for a couple of hours a tutor can make 500+ Rs, while at a school, they will make about 4000-6000 Rs a month! If they have a few students they can make that and then some without the aggravations of working for a school and all the side duties that come with that!! An interesting article in the paper not long ago, was talking about this issue and it was mentioned that teachers in the KV schools (schools for the Government workers’ children) were not allowed to do private tutoring, because apparently they were not doing their jobs in the schools because they know they would then have these kids to tutor privately and make more money! (Clever!) What about those who can’t afford the tutor?!
So next week, we actually have only two days of school. Tuesday and Wednesday. Monday is a legal holiday “Guru Nanak Jayanti” who is a major figure in the Sikhs religion. At DC, though there is an important Cricket match in the morning that the whole faculty is required to attend, from 9 to 11ish. Then starting Thursday it is one event after the other for End of the Year Prize giving ceremony. Now the school year ends in March… don’t ask!! I did many times, and still don’t get it! We have students’ work exhibition, in all the fields. A major concert. I know they can’t be better than the Coral Reef’s band! A tea party for the parents. The Old Dalian Association is participating heavily in all the activities. So classes have been suspended for all those days. It gets better. Since we will be working so hard for all these activities, next Monday was declared a holiday by the principal!! Please, don’t think I am complaining, now!!
Another aspect of teaching here that is different from the Sates. I said already how they did not have substitutes. When a teacher is absent from school, they break her schedule among her colleagues. And whoever gets the substitution continues with the class as best as you can. If you have a substitution that is not in your field, you can actually teach them your subject, allow them study time. What is not allowed is free time to talk and play! I’ve done a few substitutions for the French teacher and that has been fun! But what is another interesting thing is that if you are falling behind a bit with your subject you can make “arrangements” with another teacher in another field who is caught up with their topic and take over one or two of his/her class for your subject!! Isn’t that interesting? So I was starting to panic a little of not finishing with my 11th class chemistry as I had to cover Redox and Thermodynamics before the Half Yearly Exams at the end of November, well after a few arrangements, I am all caught up and progressing without any pressure! That would be a novel idea at Coral Reef or any other school in America, I think!! Now hold on to your seat! Which is the subject we are told will be most willing to make arrangements with us?! The English department!! Supposedly they are the department with the lightest curriculum!! Again don’t ask!!
The beauty of this arrangement situation is that it has to be simply between one teacher who needs more time with her students to cover her curriculum and another who is caught up with said students and can afford to miss a class or two. There is no memo to be written to the principal, attendance office doesn’t have to be notified, department chair doesn’t have to give her/his approval. This is simply between two colleagues who have a common goal of giving their students the best that they have. If it is for me to teach a couple of classes extra, so be it, I will do it without feeling I am being cheated. I will actually look for it, because the students need the extra hour or two. And the other teacher will do it not to get out of teaching an hour or two but because it will be beneficial to the students. It works simply and smoothly. One characteristic of the Indian teachers I have observed, at Daly College anyway, is that they have a level of professionalism that is not seen in many in the states. The amount of duties that they have outside of their teaching duties leaves me speechless. They do it without complaining because, “the students need it” and that’s the end of that. But then there is a level of trust from Administration that makes me green with envy! Next week with all the activities, all teachers are expected to be present in school and participate. On Saturday, (yes, remember we teach on Saturday!) one of the administrators, just came in the Staff room during tea time and simply stated that. And that’s that. No one will be checking your name off in the auditorium, we don’t have to sign anything and I can guarantee you, everyone will be there at their post. I love it!! In the beginning of my stay here, I went through a nightmarish situation with my school because the administration wanted me to send a timesheet of sort to show that I did go to work in order for me to get paid. I don’t want to get into too much detail, but it was really very absurd! Until the district stepped in and said enough, we have the Fulbright contract that’s that! My apprehension was to have to go to an Administrator here and ask them to take my attendance daily and send it half way across the world when my presence is good enough for them here!!
Teaching is a respected profession in India while back home sometimes I feel it is considered a second-class profession!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Now, for those of you who don't know me well, you don't know that my passion is guavas! And unfortunately it has to be an unfulfilled passion because in Miami, guavas are always filled with worms. We actually had to cut our guava tree because it was always infested with worms. Poor Guilene got her bad experience with that once at our house! Unpleasant memory! Well, if someone can explain to me why don't guavas in India have any worms, please do so! Jacques, help here! So another passion fulfilled. And as the DC ground is loaded with guava trees, I have died and gone to heaven! I eat guavas as if nothing! Everyday on my way home from school, I just have to reach up and here is snack when I get home, desert after dinner and late snack before I go to sleep. In the street, you can have them cut it for you and add a little masala to it and then it is the fruit of the Gods!!

I am filling up with the best fruit in the world for the end of time! Lucky me!

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Bucket List

A student of mine in her morning talk, spoke of the influence movies have on her. She said when she saw “Erin Brokovich” she wanted to be a lawyer, “Mona Lisa Smile” she wanted to be a teacher… well, after I saw “Bucket List” I wanted to see the Himalayas… and this past week-end I did! It’s a good thing I didn’t want to have a tattoo!! So for the Diwali break, Kahlil and I went to Leh in the Kashmir State. So another WOA experience!! Where to start? “Let's start from the beginning… it’s a good place to start” Anyone wants to guess at the movie? ...“The Sound of Music”!
The preparations for the trip were a bit worrisome. First, we had an email form the Fulbright Staff in India not recommending any trip to the Jammu - Kashmir States because of unrest in the Pakistan/India border! So I pretended to either not know that Leh was in Kashmir ;-) (where is Miami again?... in Idaho or Oregon?!!!) or not having received that message so we could go on with our plans! Then, the travel agency who was supposed to arrange my trip was giving me the run around and pretending everything was done when they had not made the reservations at all!! So in my superstitious mind, I kept on thinking, maybe it is a sign that we should not go!! But the “Bucket List” wish was stronger, so finally when we got our tickets, I said we’ll go. Since I am back to tell the tale, we can say it’s a good thing!
So we left Indore on Thursday night late, spent the night at the airport in Delhi and 6AM on to Leh. Leh is straight north of Delhi, closer to the China border; it is 3500 m + above sea level. First we flew over the majestic white Himalayas “in a hair-raising flight that weaves between the peaks” (Lonely Planet)! What a sight!! Looking down you don’t really know if it is clouds you’re seeing or the white capped mountains. No really magnificent! Then suddenly no more snow! Just incredibly brown totally devoid of any life form mountains! And from time to time a little patch of green, yellow, red trees down in a valley alongside a river! And around there a little village. Truly impressive! The whole flight over was truly breathtaking.

Then you arrive in Leh and the military presence is overwhelming! In the Lonely Planet, the army’s job was described as mostly a road and bridges repairing Army and keeping the mountain passes clear of snow! Well from the massive number of Army personnel we saw, there must be lots of broken roads and bridges!! No really, I panicked when we landed and could have made a U-turn right then and there if it weren’t for the image of the cool and collected Mother to keep in front of Kahlil! And then we crossed the town to go to our Guest House! What a sight! The mud brick houses flanked all along the mountains, the prayer wheels, which are round structures filled with prayer flags that you rotate clockwise and all the prayers get sent up to God; the many Buddhist Stupas, which are mud bricks structures laid in geometric patterns along the roads in Ladakh. They used to be funeral mounds built in honor of an enlightened person or a great teacher. Some of them will hold the relics of the dead person, but now more and more they don’t. They are everywhere. Big ones, small ones, extremely ornate ones and very simple ones! A quote about what a stupa represents: “The visual impact of the stupa on the observer brings a direct experience of inherent wakefulness and dignity. Stupas continue to be built because of their ability to liberate one simply upon seeing their structure” - Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The Shanti Stupa was built to promote world peace.

We stayed at the Snow View Guest House. That was an experience of itself. The owners were incredibly kind and helpful. Their cook just amazing! We had the best vegetarian foods one could ever imagine. I thought of my cousin Stephane. What a joy that would have been for him to eat there! The hotel was already closed for the season, so we had their 100% attention! I tell you royal treatment all the way. All was not so well, though. Kahlil got sick because of the altitude. I talked about in my last blog what it costs to have him taken care of! Incredible!
We visited many of the monasteries of the region. Pictures of the trip and comments can be seen by clicking on the link. Pictures of Leh.
I mentioned in the beginning that we went during the Diwali break. Well, Diwali is a very special season for Hindus. It is a bit like our Christmas and New Year, when everyone wears new clothes, get together with families, and fire crackers are a major part of the holiday! Well, Buddhists don’t really celebrate Diwali. Leh being majority Buddhists, we missed the whole “crackers” (this is how they call fire crackers here!) part of the celebration. Must admit I didn’t miss it! It was peaceful and eerie. Now when you add to that the snow falls that we had the second day, the Fairy Tale had just begun! Kahlil was on cloud 9! First snow experience. How lucky does one get! Suddenly all the brown mountains were covered with snow. Magic! Everyone was amazed. First time it snows so early in the season! Ha! Ha! Lucky us.

As we travel around India, all of you back home are always very present in our minds and from time to time one of us will say, “this reminds me of Sole”, “Carol would love this”, “here is Nael, Mom”, “that’s pops alright!” "Mommy Yole would walk like this." Well, this trip for one reason or another, my brother-in-law, Jacques Cassagnol, was extremely present with us. From the moment we started flying over the mountains, it was as if his ghost was right there with us! Why? I have no idea. As we landed in Leh, I asked Kahlil, “who are you thinking of?” Immediately his response was “Jacques”. To tell you folks, we take you all along with us everywhere we go.

Mr. President, a new Health Plan Proposition!

We’ll call it the 5/55! This is what it has cost me tonight to take my son to the hospital, have an X-Ray and a sonogram!!! 5 Rs. for hospital registration, 55 Rs. for the 2 procedures!! I’ll let you do the math, $1 is equivalent to 46-48 Rs. And I tell you folks, he had the best of care! It felt like we were in Miami, going to Jackson South and being given the special treatment we always get there, with Lenny and Marie-Maurice! The owner of the hotel we were staying at, knew the right people, so we went right in, were seen by the Senior Doctor, had the two procedures done in a flash, and we were out of there! Now the medicines cost quite a bit! 124 Rs.!! I don't think anywhere in the world can beat that! The whole thing costs about $4!! Crazy, ne?!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

School Issues

Yesterday morning, an unheard of incident occurred in school. Unheard of in America, that is. at Assembly time, most days, after the prayers and chanting of the Om, one or two students will present a talk on a topic previously assigned. Well, that morning, two young men were to talk about the Indian flag. And they were horrible! I mean, they really were bad. First of all, the speech has to be memorized. These two young men couldn't even properly read what was on their paper! They made mistakes after mistakes, they muffled their words (is there such a word?!)
I mean it was a real disaster! Well, one old bird on the staff, (whom I admire tremendously! Will talk of her again I am sure) got on the stage, after their presentation and told them flat out, I am paraphrasing here, “You were taught better and you ought to know better. You will do your presentation again because you had some very valuable information to give to us that will help us all learn.” She went on to explain very clearly what was wrong with their speech, what had to be changed and that was that. Now this is right there in front of the whole student body! Brilliant!! I can’t imagine this happening in the States! No way Jose! What about the child’s ego?! You would have those parents demanding your head on a platter! But you see it wasn’t made in the mind to hurt the child’s ego. It was an open and frank way of calling a spade a spade. The day after, those two young men came back on stage and said their speech the right way; she congratulated them on a job well done. And that was that.
The Indian school system has its good points and some terrible bad points. Now, let me make sure I state unequivocally, that this is MY opinion and MY experience only. This is not going to be a “Good Points – Bad Points” writing. Because, often I find what they have that works in one way doesn’t work in another. The way that they do their lab practical, I’ve mentioned before is totally cookbook. The kids prepare the labs they are responsible for the year, and when you come to that part of the curriculum, you come with them to the lab, it’s all prepared for you, they follow the recipe and leave. They write up the results, you collect the notebooks, check what they’ve done, no grade is assigned for it, or is there?! I am not really sure! Lab safety issues are non-existent. No goggles, aprons, teachers could be in sandals. As they walk in the lab, if they are to use the flame, all Bunsen burners are turned on by the lab assistant and left on throughout the lab whether they are at their station or not. On the other hand the students have a confidence about handling of the equipments, analyzing a result that I hardly see in the American student! Shouldn’t we expect the opposite, since in America, the curriculum is much more inquiry-based? They should have much more ownership of their work. To the end of the year you will have students who will not touch the Bunsen burner if their life depended on it (or their grade, for that matter!) I know I am going to make less of an issue about safety. Not to say I will do it like they do it here, but I will try my best to not let them have this unhealthy fear of everything that touches the lab. Am I heading for disaster?!! I don’t think so. Time will tell!
Let me go back to a comment I made earlier. I am not sure if a grade is given for the labs the students do, that’s after 2 months working in the system! What I think happens is, in the 10th and 12th grades, where they have to pass the States’ Exams, there is a practical portion for their final marks and that practical will be one of these labs that they have done. What about the other grade levels? I have no idea. The Indian system is not very friendly to outsiders. Notice I said, the “system”, not the individual teachers. You see they were born in it! That’s all they know. So they truly don’t get what my questions are! When you couple that with the fact that they use different terminologies, we’re talking major communication issues!! So after I’ve asked 2-3 times about the grade given for the lab and they’ve answered about the marks, I feel totally uneasy asking again!! Because of the exams, you really have to teach the students the proper materials. Again they’ve been teaching the same materials over and over again, so they know it also by heart! And they have apparently old students’ notebooks that they use as back up since the curriculum doesn’t change much. A few times, in the beginning, the department Chair asked them to find me one of these old notebooks. That has never materialized. Now I’ve put it to rest and go through the book, meticulously, hoping I will touch upon everything I have to teach. It will be interesting to see how my students fare at the end! Actually, not to worry really, because they check from time to time my students’ notes to make sure I am feeding them the right stuff!! As I haven’t heard any comments, I must be doing it right! See, it is totally a close system, made by Indians and for Indians. Again and again, it seems to work for them! According to teachers here, it certainly works for the 2% minority that has it all and can afford the numerous tutoring hours to prepare them for the exams. The rest, oh, well, they’ll continue what their parents have done for years and years and their chances for advancement are nil or close to that. Is that fair? Not really. Are they complaining? Apparently not. One student, the other day, was telling me how unfair it is that according to the caste they are from, their salary will be different and that wasn’t right. So they’re thinking about it.
Complicated, India.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Pre-Conference tour

It's been a while!

I just got back from a week long trip with some members of Daly College and different delegations of Round Squares Schools from Canada, Australia and France.

…small interruption to walk over to the DC Hospital to check how I was to take the medicine prescribed to me by the Doctor this morning. OK, let’s start there! While on our trip, I caught the most horrible cold. Got back into town last night. This morning before going to school, I stopped by the hospital, which is right behind our Residence, to ask the Doctor about a cough syrup. After a brief 2 minute examination…”Open up wide, Aaaaaaah, Deep breath, again, again…” he writes me a prescription of 5 medicines which he writes in the stereotypic unreadable handwriting of a Doctor and tells me to send for them at the Market. When I get to school, I give the prescription to one of the Lab assistants with a 500 Rs bill, telling him if it costs more, to let me know. Since they had already arranged for substitution for me for the day, I was feeling so bad, I ended up going back home. A couple of hours later, Nahran shows up at my apartment with all the medicine for the incredible cost of 174.50 Rs (a little less that $4!) How crazy is that?! I did not pay too close attention to the Doctor’s direction on how to take the medicine, because I figured the “Medicine Man” was going to neatly type it all up for me like Walgreens does back home, right?! Well, that wasn’t to be. It all came in a green little plastic bag, the 5 or 10 pills, depending on whether I was to take it twice or once a day!!) So I had to go back to the hospital to ask for an explanation! ...and this time I paid attention! This is how medicine should be practiced! You go see a doctor for something, he sees about that ailment, and off you go on your merry way! You need 5 capsules of this medicine, 5 capsules of this medicine are cut out and handed to you. None of that fancy packaging that makes you pay $30 co-payment for any medicine!! Here is a new idea Mr. President! Would that make his Health Plan more palatable to the American Republican …ooops, did I say that?! I meant to say: “American Public”!
Our latest trip: Delhi, Agra, Jaipur.
I’ll start from the beginning. Sunday, Delhi was a total disaster in poor planning on the part of the tour organizers. How did they get it so right after Delhi, I don’t know! But one thing at a time… So Delhi, the hotel was too far from the city and traffic was a nightmare. Everything was partially done because we ran out of time. We had about a half hour to visit the Qutub Minar, which is the tallest brick tour in the world – 72 meters, built in the 12th Century. Really a magnificent sight. In the afternoon we were supposed to visit the Lotus Temple but made it too late there so we had to be content to take pictures from the streets! Laurence, I am sure you are happy to know it will be our first time with you in December. I like that better, anyway. It will feel more special to see it with you. Then the famous Akshardham, very irreverently put, a massive Disney production with fake river boat ride through 10,000 years of Indian culture! It is truly impressive. A giant Hindu temple in the center of the complex is carved entirely of pink stone and white marble. It took five years to be built(11-2000 to 11-20050. Unfortunately we have no picture of this visit because cameras were not allowed at all. But do google it! It really is a glowing testimony to what volunteerism, talent and spiritual faith can accomplish. My favorite visit of all, Raj Ghat, a simple memorial that marks the spot of Gandhi’s cremation! A black marble platform with an inscription of his last words “He Ram” (O God) and an eternal flame at one end. That was Delhi!

I did have a chance to meet with another Fulbrighter who is teaching in Delhi, Evelina! That was special! In spite of our obvious differences of origins and the likes :-) , I tell you I felt like I was meeting with a long lost kin!! We had dinner at the Banana Leaf, where we had had a couple of meals back in August when we had first arrived! Really, highlight of the whole week!
Then on Tuesday, miserable day in the bus going from Delhi to Agra. Now I know all you skeptics out there are going to question the veracity of this statement, but we drove the 200 Km (that's 120 miles!) distance between these two cities in exactly 7 hours. There was no breakdown of the bus, no accident on the way, nothing like that, just cows, rickshaws, goats, dogs, two-wheelers, whole families on ONE motorcycle, people, did I mention the cows? cows, cows resting, cows walking, cows crossing the street (do they know where they’re going?) people, cars, trucks, and broken roads! We just check in the hotel, and everyone crashes! I guess we had to be pure of any sightseeing for a while and fresh and disposed to take in what was in store for us the day after! God in his infinite wisdom! So, you guess it! The Taj Mahal! Words totally fail me. How was this conceived? From far, this humongous white structure, from close this incredibly tender white marble so delicately carved with such incredible details! How did they do it? Ronsard said “Il ne faut pas mourir sans avoir vu Carcassone”, Isabelle corrects Ronsard and says “No one should die without having seen the Taj Mahal!” I am almost sorry to post my pictures. They are such an injustice to what this place is all about. You have to see the whiteness of the marble. Imagine a baby’s cheek in a commercial for a baby soap or something, well, that will get you a little close to the reality, not completely but… It’s the translucent of this huge laced building that gets to you from up close, I think. This is what pictures will never show, folks. You’ll see the majestic, the grandiose, the perfect symmetry but not that! I tell you folks, I left my heart in Agra last week!
Two days later I was getting sick in Jaipur!! So I pretty much missed the pink city!
Very easily we forget. This week I had a bit of a wake-up call, of a sort. Truly this experience is turning out to be more than I bargained for originally! OK, you’ve heard this idea from me before, “kids are the same everywhere”, right? Well, can I change this to People are the same everywhere?! We hurt each other, we amaze each other, we disappoint each other, we break promises… and we heal and we move on. I don’t know why I had it in my mind that all Indians were going to be little Gandhi, all one billion of them (is that the count?)! Is everyone having a good laugh?!! Now, this is a touchy subject. It deals with the taboo idea that makes the world go round!!! You know what I mean, right?! I will try to be as sensitive as I can (…what, me and my big foot?!) Why even bring it up? some will ask. Well, because this blog is not only about my “Teaching in India” but also “Learning in India”. I know, the teachers reading me are saying “Well, duh, Isabelle, aren’t teaching and learning one and the same process?!” Touché! OK, so here goes. In India, it is not … I’ve been sitting in front of this blinking cursor for the past 15 minutes, no kidding, trying to put into words how Indians dealt with money matter and couldn’t come up with one single idea! Let me start with the incident and then maybe it will get easier to say what I learned. This tour was supposed to cost a certain amount of rupees. At the end of the trip I have spent one third more and I don’t mean in personal spending!! (No, I did not go crazy buying souvenirs, sorry!!) They just kept on coming with more and more expenses for us! And in the most polite of ways, “Yes, I understand how frustrating, Mam, but that will be another 2150 rupees.” It was very frustrating! And I wrapped myself in my proud American Way and thought, that would never happen back home! X amount is X amount. Period! It took me all week of being frustrated, appalled, annoyed, and feeling like I was being robbed, to realize, “Ne, Isabelle! They didn’t do anything that extraordinarily wrong! They misrepresented some truths J, maybe, they miscalculated, they didn’t see the big picture, but they didn’t rob me, they did not purposefully change the facts… And, sadly, they are not all Gandhi!!! So then I started to think, well what about my proud American Way? Could that have happened back home also?! What would be the need for “Tell it to Howard” (Is that the name of that show?) Of course, not this exact incident, but some other where one of the party feels erroneously they’ve been wronged one way or the other. And we get hurt and disappointed and we roll over and heal. The important thing is to let go of this feeling of having been wronged. An Indian guru told Wayne Dyer “there are two types of things one can worry about, one type, you can’t do anything about, so why worry about it, the other type you can do something about it, so you do it and it doesn’t exist anymore.“ (I’ve had to use this idea twice in the space of a day!) So I have realized that there was nothing I could do about this one, so I just need to let it go and remember the baby’s cheek commercial!!! As I told someone today, I will not let the small issues get in the bigger picture of this experience.
For all of you who are not familiar with my writing style, I do always use way too many exclamation points everywhere! I guess it is to make up for my lack of precise command of expression like the two people I mentioned in one of my first blogs! Now should be a game quiz moment, “what is the name of at least one of the persons mentioned…!!!” (see, I told you!) I’ve watched way too much Gilmore Girls!!

I'll post the pictures later! ... and here they are :-)

The agra Fort:

The Taj Mahal: