..that one time it was july 1st

before i knew it, it became july.
i'm laying in bed listening to the sounds outside--a man doing a low-pitched call for old newspapers, and crazy drumming and bells to get offerings for the monsoon gods.

i've been asked to update people on my life, but this place is too mystifying and magical to describe. everything hits you in the face so hard all at once. nothing is half-way.

the colors are overwhelming, even the white seems brighter and the blacks seem to have more depth. there are no pastels, or "muted" earth-tones.

the smells are either heavenly--from fresh jasmine flowers adorning people's hair and door-ways, to deadly--fresh fermenting human and cow waste.

the people here are either extremely loving and friendly, or extremely abrasive.

every article of clothing is adorned with some sort of sparkle, sequins, bedazzle, or accessory. the women daily put on toe rings, bindi, bangles to take you to the moon and back, and braid their long, thick hair.

the food is extremely sweet or extremely spicy.

the weather is either unbearably hot, with heat coming up from the ground, or monsooning so that one has to swim through the deserted streets and sleep with earplugs.

the women are constantly overlooked. the children are constantly reprimanded.

the thing is, here in india we experience the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. i'm pretty sure i laugh from the depths of my stomach at least once a day. i probably cry at least once a day too. i hear stories of individuals who have become my latest hero. people who have overcome impossible odds and stigmas. people who have used their whole life savings to create some sort of latrine for themselves and their families so they don't have to walk 3 km just to defecate. women who have moved beyond prejudices of HIV and their husbands leaving them in a society where that means everything.

someday, i'll have the chance to sit and write it all down. until then, i'll continue to share little "snaps" as they call them here--pictures or snippets of my life here in india. maybe a little will cause you to think as it has with me.

much love from india,


gaijindude said...

Glad you get to work your abs with deep laughter on occasion. I can't wait to hear the full stories. Thanks for what you're doing!

Viviana said...

I too want to hear the full story. Knowing you, I will have to live all over again just to be able to hear your stories as they are happening so far away from us. I look at the pictures to the right of this blog and wonder if that Brook is still in you or if a new Brook has formed with all the new experiences. You have chosen to live an amazing life I will never be able to imagine. Sept can't come soon enough for me. I count the days until I can hug you for a litte while and hold you until you depart again. Love you!

Ruth said...

Thank you for sharing that snapshot of your day. Glad it wasn't in smell-a-vision, even though the jasmine sounds like it is heavenly. I appreciate plumbing all over again! And I appreciate that you are bearing witness to everyday bravery that so often gets overlooked. Brian and I are sending you hugs and a cool breeze from California

brook dorff said...

believe me when i say you are VERY glad it wasn't a scratch and sniff sort of deal :) thank you for the hugs and cool breeze, it's much appreciated.

i can't wait to sit down with you both and tell you all my stories. of course i'm not the same brook, but one thing hasn't changed: mom and dad's hugs will always be appreciated. xo