Student or Learner
I'd like to know the subject of the next story.
The first time I went to India I took with me a bag of children's clothes, and at a certain point met a group of women and offered them to them. They were obviously very poor, but not beggars. I regretted it. Within minutes they were fighting, pulling the clothes apart and each other's hair out, and one little pair of pyjamas ended up with the top and bottom separated.
As all this scene happened, a man and his wife approached me and the man told me off in no uncertain terms. He said that in India the people are poor but they do have their dignity, and I had taken their dignity away from them. I could only accept his criticism and apologize, after which he introduced me to his wife, said he was a homeopath, and after a very interesting conversation we exchanged addresses.
During the same stay in India, some Indian women approached me. One wanted to introduce me to her mother, tiny, frail little old lady crouched in the shade of a hedge. But as she saw me, she leaped to her feet in a way that I, about 45 years her junior, could never have done!
They asked me where my husband was. I told them I had none - a fate worse than death in their eyes. They asked me where my ankle bangles were and I told them I had none. And where were my toe rings - I had none. And where is the tilak for my forehead - I had none. They felt very sorry for me, and one lady took off her shawl and gave it to me.
She gave it with a kindness I couldn't refuse; I still have that shawl and always will. I wear it when I go to India, it helps keep me cool. And I love it all the more for the one or two holes in it.
What about? My Trip to India: Cultural Differences