So, why did you go to India? To help, to shop or for faith?
To see where I was born.
And did you visit the ancient temples?
Yes, and the mosques and the missionary churches.
And did you buy yourself a beautiful mala for meditation?
Yes, and I dipped it in the Ganges after the evening puja.
And what did you see at the puja?
Monks in sunset-saffron robes, singing raghans, plastic bags and flowers floating on the Ganges, American people in Indian clothes, Indian people in American clothes, singing, praying, taking pictures and looking at cellphones. A wounded, aging monkey, suffering and dying alone, attacked by dogs and hiding in fear right next to the richly colored 14-foot statue of the Monkey God, Hanuman, opening his plaster heart to reveal Sita and Rama.
And what did you do after the puja?
I walked down the narrow street past the beggars, some crippled and selling small things, wide-eyed cows, hungry dogs wagging their tails with unconditional love, past windows stuffed with glittering jewelry and scented sandalwood deities.
And did you find peace there?
No. But love, humility, wonder, and frustration.
And what did you miss most about your country?
How expert we are at covering up our problems.
And who am I?
A voice in my head that will not let me rest.