Shopping in India and the nature of flirting

The peacock is the national bird of India.

That makes sense. India, like the bird, is colorful and demonstrative, flamboyant and proud.

I learned this today from Farhat Jan, who sold me a lovely ceramic bowl with an inlaid peacock motif. He works at Cottage Industries Exposition in Mysore, which is a great place to buy textiles and other handicrafts.

The quality and selection are very nice, there is no pressure to buy, and Farhat and jeweler Tariq have excellent taste. They will also totally flatter and spoil a lady, bringing her as many cups of chai tea and engaging in as many odd conversations as she pleases.

During my two hours or so in his store, Farhat and I discussed everything from yoga and American running clothes to my daughter’s fascination with the Hindu god Ganesha (the “Elephant God”).

Tariq and I, meanwhile, spoke of American women’s propensity to overthink relationships.

“Do I want to be with him? Do I love him? Do I want to marry him? In India, it’s the other way around,” he said.

I found myself flirting.

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India update: We leave Monday!

Gratitude.

That is what I expect to feel when I return from India, and that is what I feel right now.

I feel grateful my visa came through – this Tuesday, less than a week before we are set to leave – after a mountain of paperwork and bureaucracy.

I am grateful for friends who helped and encouraged my mom, daughter and me when we were skeptical that would happen.

I am grateful for people who remind me India isn’t a retreat to relax the body, but rather an experience to enrich the spirit.

I am grateful I have the kind of parents with whom I want to travel the world, and the kind of kid who wants to join us.

We leave Monday afternoon.

I plan to write and take pictures. In the meantime, we’re rushing to pack and prepare.

We are grateful for advice and kindness. (We have a growing list of questions on the next page.)

Thanks, y’all.

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India update: Still no visa, but I’ve got friends and trust

Our “Eat Pray Love”-meets-“Steel Magnolias” trip to India is set to begin a week from Monday.

Will all three of us – my mom, my daughter and I – be on that plane bound for Bangalore?

I still don’t know. Here’s an update from my last post, along with what what I’m choosing to learn from this experience:

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What running does for writing

Sometimes what is right is not always what is rational.

Like tonight, when I ran right up until the minute the gym closed at 9 p.m., I should have driven straight home and eaten dinner.

Ok, I should have eaten dinner before I ran. And preferably something other than cereal or pretzels.

But at 7:45 I was hungry to run, and at 9:01 I was hopped up on endorphins.

So I drove instead. Continue reading

Who knew romantic Eat Pray Love + Steel Magnolias trip would begin so bureaucratically?

Market in Bangalore, Southern India, from PnPl's Flickr stream

My mother, daughter and I are set to travel to India in two weeks, but only the 9-year-old has the proper paperwork stamped, approved and ready to go.

Lily jokes, “I’ll be flying to India by myself.”

Apparently I’m raising a brave, determined girl. You know what? So did my mother.

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