Saturday, February 12, 2005

India Will Infect You, in a good way

Bombay Bike

I long to return to India. My trip to India was the hugest foreign highlight of my life. I still talk about it like I just returned; I in fact returned 4 years ago. I envy my travel mate Nicole Titus, who has managed to make it back there twice since our trip--she was actually married there last summer, to an American equally entranced by the subcontinent. I keep trying to get Alex to agree to take me there. When we were married I made him promise to take me to the Taj Mahal on our first anniversary. We didn't make it--We were doing a different sort of packing when our first anniversary arrived, we were packing our life for Boston. Alex is perplexed by my desire to return to Hindustan, and rightfully so. Our three weeks of email correspondence while I was there was filled with lots of disgusting stories which included lots of human and cow poop, dead babies floating in the Ganges, public cremations, mile long stretches of slums, and ......, you get the idea. As time passes, and I suggest another anniversary at the Taj Mahal, I realize that unless I make a serious case for returning to India, with my groom at my side, I will likely never return and will continue to plan our imaginary anniversary trip to the Taj Mahal until death do us part. I now have hope that someday soon I will return because I've found the words to make my case solid. Read the brilliant 5 day travel diary, by Slate contributor Seth Stevenson, to understand why India has infected me. One of my favorite bits, because I too have incorporated the India head waggle into my body language repertoire: "I love the Indian head waggle. It's a fantastic bit of body language, and I'm trying to add it to my repertoire. The head waggle says, in a uniquely unenthusiastic way, "OK, that's fine." In terms of Western gestures, its meaning is somewhere between the nod (though less affirmative) and the shrug (though not quite as neutral). To perform the head waggle, keep your shoulders perfectly still, hold your face completely expressionless, and tilt your head side-to-side, metronome style. Make it smooth—like you're a bobble-head doll. It's not easy. Believe me, I've been practicing. "

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