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Cultural Paradigms

How do I convey the intensity of experiencing a completely new and different cultural paradigm? Thus far, only video recordings and hours of conversation have helped me chronicle and process the myriad of events, heartwarming interactions, fantastic tastes, iconic themes, disturbing sights, unfathomable realities, and personal insights into my own nature.

Not even two days pass before the feeling of being overwhelmed begins to arise. I question my ability to survive the rest of the trip. Compassionately, I hold space for managing it all by reassuring myself that it’s OK to spend a day in nature’s quiet, away from the hustle, bustle, and unfamiliar, instead of immersing myself. I soothe the troubled mind and shaken heart with an invitation to be patient, to take time for absorbing the sensory and mental input. But there will be no forest bathing, or long rides in open spaces, or swims in soft waters here. My runs will provide a necessary joy in movement, but they will also bring me face to face with sights and sounds that have thus far caused consternation.

Writing these prose in the early hours, after a somewhat sleepless night, my quiet respite is broken far too early by distant noises reminding me of the awakening world that awaits. Thankfully, there are also local birds serenading outside my window. I long for them to be the only sounds I hear for days. But only minutes pass before honks and engine roars buffet me again.

Fused in my desire to narrate this journey is a devotion to being respectful. These are people’s lives I walk through. I am an uninvited foreigner in their everyday life. I have no right to trespass with judgements. It is my duty to witness only.


✌️ ∙ 🌱 ∙ 🙏

There’s just no way to relate to the sounds and sights, let alone relate to these lives. I find much of it difficult to absorb. I do enjoy learning new ways of looking at the moment of life. I most certainly LOVE the food!

Ganesha in the Chennai airport.
Saree shopping
Downtown Chennai
Downtown Chennai
Best breakfast EVER!
Selling dyes on the roadside.
Downtown Gingee
Roadside food stand
Ramana's mountain
There's just no way to relate.