Sonia thoughts: Feb 17th

Is there such thing as selective lactose intolerance? Like selective listening? I swear the milk in America makes me double over in pain. But here, I’m drinking milk like my cousin Nikhil, and milk is water to him. The milk is so delicious here. Maybe because I mostly drink it boiled, which denatures some enzymes or something. Food science. Interesting.

The really genuinely great people are the silent ones, or the ones who exercise humility. They get so much happiness from within their lives, that they don’t feel the need to gain recognition and say “Hey mommy look at me!”. My yoga friends are like this. Humble. They have no doting parents. Recognition is like an unexpected bonus for them.

It’s such a refreshing thing compared to other show-offy ones here who blab about their greatness, but are really only trying to make up for what is missing through seeking recognition. Harsh but true.

Things are much smaller in India. Small tea cups, half the size of American tea cups. Small ice-creams, small dogs, small spoons. I love small spoons.

Indians have so much pride for their country. No matter where you are, how old you are, which of the 27 Indian languages you speak, whether you are rich or poor, you stop what you are doing to stand for the National Anthem. It’s such a beautiful thing. Makes me so proud to be Indian.


Indian book stores are lovely. They have the most interesting books and they are set up in such a way that you can’t walk more than three steps before something else catches your eye. I’ve gotten lost in them for hours – something I haven’t done since age 12. It’s so funny because all of the bookstore staff is also enjoying sitting and absorbing books in the aisles until someone has a question. It’s really hard to find someone helpful because they are all sleepy eyed, lost in their dreamy book land. But I appreciate their enthusiasm for work :).

Books are cherished here. When we were very small, my mom taught us how to treat books with respect. If we ever accidentally stepped on one, she would gasp and immediately pick it up and touch it to our heads, as if we were apologizing and blessing the book. Even to this day, it’s become a habit to cringe when a book is mistreated, pick it up, and touch it to my head.

I used to be such a reader during my childhood. We didn’t have cable and so my brothers and I read every book in the house, three times. We would get into trouble for reading at the table. I remember at dinner time, I would pick up any book, crack it open at the center and start reading from a random spot. But when high school and college and facebook came, reading for pleasure became a “waste of my time”. I forgot how much I love reading. Books are like these special wisdom keepers. You don’t have to look so far for wisdom.

Speaking of time, what day is it? What month are we in? I haven’t written the date once yet in 2013. When you aren’t battling time, things are much different. The method changes and thus the results change. This can be both good and bad. One the one hand, I have time to read and enjoy each sentence on the page, truly get an understanding of the books I am reading – so cool! On the other hand, nothing happens very fast and I don’t plan on living in cave in the mountains. So moderation is key.

My auto man Shankar, whom I spoke so highly about a few posts ago, is now avoiding me! Go figure. Don’t know why. But he’s stood me up twice now at 6am in the morning and he doesn’t park in his usual spot anymore. Maybe he’s not a morning person and doesn’t have the courage to tell me no. Such a shame. He was a nice man.

When buying coconuts, if you want to drink the water, you tell them “panee walla”. If you want to scoop out the soft juicy coconut flesh, you say “malai walla”.

I really miss peanut butter. In Chennai, I stayed with this Indian family who had just moved back to India from San Jose. They had a jumbo jar of Skippy peanut butter that they had carried back. I made a large dent in that.

Did you know that when the weather changes, the ants re-locate? They walk in such perfect lines, not to bother you, just to move to their new crack in the wall. Last night, I saw this neat line of ants from my bathroom to the living room. Fascinating.

My yoga self practice has become easier. It used to be so hard for me to practice on my own and actually hold the poses without a teacher telling me what to do. It was like I used to rely on going to a yoga class in order to have a challenging practice. But now, its much different. I enjoy my self-practice on the balcony. Today I even started singing while practicing. I love to sing. Ah it was the best. I wonder what my spectators on the balconies from the neighboring complex must have thought :).

Month 2.5 in India. So different from the first. I think I have a grasp on this place. Things are starting to make sense. And then I am taken for a ride and thrown some curve balls. I don’t know when I’ll ever live like this again.

Much love,
More later,



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2 thoughts on “Sonia thoughts: Feb 17th

  1. cousin Nikhil

    Haha I love the shout-out!! I’m glad I impressed you with my lactose tolerance. I’ve been following your progress through these blogs and I’m truly jealous of the creative liberty that you seem to be describing in your Indian lifestyle and realizing in your personal development. I truly enjoy learning your perceptions of Indian culture, as your relationship with the nation seems at once distant and yet intimate, which I take to be a trend among those who venture in returning to their cultural roots.

    Talk to you soon,

    1. sonia Post author

      Thanks Nikhil. You would be proud of my milk drinking passion these days. We’ve been making homemade dahi and paneer and cream. Now all we need is a happy cow and our house will be a dairy farm. :) miss you!

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