Wednesday, July 14, 2004


There were moments when it came back to her in a short, stabbing, keen memory: the smell of incense and ash on the muddy river breeze; the sound of great flocks of doves flying in graceful arcs overhead; pushing through dense and fragrant hot bustling crowds at market; the still and sacred courtyards of mosques and temples; the cacaphony of colors on women, on children, in store windows; the leaden humidity; the shouts of children and touts; the call of the muezzin; the horns blaring and easy laughter; the chatter of monkeys; the dust and blight; the lush and the stark grandeur.

Sitting at her computer, in her private air-conditioned office, a peaceful view of the tops of her city's tree canopy, stacks and binders of paper in front of her, the work that must be done, and the silence of an office at work --- a whole world away --- occasionally she remembered her months in India.

It was a kind of moment that put her outside of herself, an observer. Where is the mark of India on me now? she would wonder. How is it I was there and now am here and no one would know?

It should have changed me. It should have changed me more.