Monday Morning Musings

Posted on November 14, 2016 under Monday Morning Musings with 3 comments

 

bride-and-groom

Meeting the bride and groom

 

Ignorance is bliss. Unless it isn’t.

Many of my friends have travelled the globe over the years and can speak with some authority about customs, lifestyles and geography in many parts of the world. Many of us have had a smattering of travel to know that there are many beautiful places besides Nova Scotia. Some people have never left their front porch and everything they know is what they learned in a grade X11 Social Studies class or these days, through a quick Google search.

Misconceptions.

I’m guilty as charged. Before coming to India,  I read a few books, watched some Youtube videos and spoke to people who had been to this vast country. India is NOT just about cows in the streets, smog and abject poverty. Those things exist but these are the stereotypical images that come to mind for many North Americans. Having been here a mere two weeks, I am not about to make any profound pronouncements, but I think India is a country on the move.

There are many, many incredible bright, young talented people here ( like in Canada ) who are going to change the face of India. My hope is that the country doesn’t aspire to be too much like the west. I think most of us would agree that many western values are misplaced and the pursuit of wealth is not the be all and end all. I have always loved the expression, “ to have more, want less.” I am seeing the world through a very different filter… and that, “ is a good thing.”

I attended my first Indian wedding reception the other night. Those of you who read my column regularly know that I was part of one last week ( unofficially ) as I lay in a hotel room and listened to very loud, celebratory music from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. It was a very colorful affair…. I think. I will write a full chapter in my upcoming book on my travels in India, including weddings.

 This wedding was expected to last a few days. The reception I attended was several hours before the actual ceremony ( 3:00 a.m. I decided to take a pass on this ). This event was for family members and friends to wish the bride and groom best wishes and to bring presents. Many people from our office were there, as the mother of the bride is a colleague. The bride and groom arrived to great fanfare. ( check out my video of “the band.” ) For the life of me, I couldn’t find the piper! Before going to the dining area, groups of people walked up on to the stage to shake hands and have their pictures taken. Our group from APMAS was one of these groups. With my bright yellow dress, and being the only white person in the room, I stuck out like a sore thumb as I crossed the platform.

The banquet room was awash in food. There must have easily been 50 different Indian dishes and desserts aplenty. Most of the dishes were unrecognizable to me. My friend, Nagendra, tried to keep me out of harm’s way as I loaded up my plate. This was a stand up affair and it was very crowded. I took a bite of something foreign to me and thought about calling the Antigonish Volunteer Fire Department to put out the flames. I couldn’t even politely remove it from my mouth. It was the first time that I’ve broken out in a sweat eating food since I arrived. More later when I publish the full story.

Canada Night. I bought a guitar a few days ago. It’s a Fender so maybe I’ll go on a Fender bender! Sometime soon, I am going to put on a Canada Night for the staff at work. They will project a map of Canada on the wall and I will try and tell them a bit about where I come from. I will intersperse the dialogue with some songs. Wait till I sing “ I’s the B’y” and the “Kelligrew Soiree”! When I brought the guitar back to the office after purchasing it, I decided to play a couple of tunes. I started with John Denver’s “ Country Roads.” ( Some of you will now have an earworm for the day! ).  I was shocked that at least two of the staff knew every word and sang along. There are those misconceptions again. I didn’t think that they would be familiar with North American music.

I have three field visits this week and am booked solid from then until the end of the month. As most of this travel is in rural India, I’m not sure how connected I’ll be but already I have been surprised how many communities have good internet. Now if only the folks in Malignant Cove and Georgeville were so lucky!

Have a great week.

P.S. Some of you know this already. I have a new Facebook page called “ Through Len’s Lens.” I have so many pictures that I need a convenient spot to post them for people who want to see them in one location. There will be very little script with them. The pictures should tell the story. Tell your friends.

 

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Comments

3 Responses to Monday Morning Musings

  1. Alfred and Kathleen says:

    We are following your journey to India! What an experience. Must check out your fb page.

  2. Louise Dineen says:

    Meanwhile, back in the frozen north, St. F.X. triumphed over Mount A (29 -8) Saturday & will play in the semi-final Dunsmore Cup game Nov. 19 at U. of A -Calgary. Go X Go!

  3. Toni MacDonell says:

    And I thought Cayenne pepper was hot! Is the Indian food good for the throat? I’ve had a recurring cough lately, I could use some advice.

    Keep the news coming, Len. We missed you on Sunday when we sang the Battle Hymn.

    LYL

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