” I Don’t Know About That!”

Belly laugh time from Katie, my daughter.  She knows from experience that the concept and experience are true !



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Happy Mother’s Day !

My Mother’s Day message is copied from a friend who copied it…etc till it’s lost its original author. Those of us with grown children can see ourselves right here, in this piece.

To my kids, not sure who wrote this but I love the message.

What do I want for Mother’s Day? I want you. I want you to keep coming around, I want you to bring your kids around, I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. Tell me about your job, your worries, your kids, your fur babies. I want you to continue sharing your life with me. Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don’t care. Hearing you laugh is music to me.
I spent the better part of my life raising you the best way I knew how. Now, give me time to sit back and admire my work.
Raid my refrigerator, help yourself, I really don’t mind. In fact, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I want you to spend your money making a better life for you and your family, I have the things I need. I want to see you happy and healthy. When you ask me what I want for Mother’s Day, I say “nothing” because you’ve already been giving me my gift all year. I want you.

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Elephant Ride. . . . . Check!


Near the top of the  list of  desired adventures in India for the students was to ride an elephant.  Jaijpur is  the place to do it..   You can stand in line  for hours at the Amber Fort and have the dramatice ride into the fort.  We chose to visit the fort longer and go to the Elephant Village later in the day. There were all sorts of packages, feed the elephant, paint on the elephant, bathe the elephant for additional money  but our kids only wanted a ride on an elephant.  David and I did this last trip and once was enough, honestly.  Pretty uncomfortable lumbering along. Plus there was some uncomfortable drama with our elephant last time when she couldn’t see her mama in front of her. Loud, head back, trunk up trumping and turning to see mom.. Pretty scary from our position.  Anyway, I was going to…

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A Too Quick Visit to Amdavad

Image result for images from Welcome To Ahmedabad

David and I were in Amdavad from January 13 – 23 for a world wind of work for him and a  flying around trying to visit all our favorite sites and seeing as many as possible of special friends.   Well, you may have noticed that I have been back for nearly a month and haven’t posted on the trip.  It has been a very unusual month. . . . . for several reasons. . . .

First, I was very sad. . . yes maybe depressed not to be staying in India.  David had decided he would let someone else go with the students this trip, but because we were there, I met and fell in love with the new group!  In just the short time we were there with them, they adjusted happily and easily.  The students who chose to do their abroad semester in India are quite adventurous and independent.

One problem we had to address was first mice in two of the rooms in the hotel where the program is housed and then reports of a rat!   This was India but that is not acceptable. But we wondered what was the solution in conservative Hindu Gujarat?  We thought to kill the uninvited guests was not on the list of solutions but we were surprised.  We were assured that there was some electrical device with a high piercing sound that would keep away the rodents. But they also said that poison was used.  I guess that tourists win over rodents.  We have heard nothing about rodents returning! And happily, no more sightings!

David went over to ensure that the new plans were indeed in place for Ted, his wife, Jean  and the students.  He thought since he was working, there was no need for me to go!   Oh but I had different ideas.!   I had to go. . . and promised not to bug him or insist on holding people’s hands to cross the street!   Each time I leave India,  I think this is forever, that I will never get back and that make me ever so sad.    I remember having a very hard time with that sad or depressed feeling both in 2013 and 2015 on returning to the States after a semester in India.

The other real challenge both while in India and when we got home was severe jetlag!   And I mean severe.  On our arrival in India after nearly 30 hours of traveling, we didn’t want to waste a minute, but just pushed through fatigue but found ourselves wide awake at 3 am.  It was remarkably easy to stay awake because we were so happy to be there.  Slowly, we slept a little more, enough to keep us going but with long periods of being wide awake during the night.  All along we kept thinking, we can sleep when we get back to New York.

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Well, guess what?   We had double jet lag when we got home and it lasted for days and days and weeks and weeks.  Poor David had work to do and lectures to give, and meeting to attend so he didn’t have much time to be depressed with the cold and the snow.  But the 3 AM question was, “Are you awake, too?”    Slowly, we have now been acclimated back to normal here. But especially I miss.Incredible India. ( At Joey Fala’s recital, we met an international pilot who shared a formula to avoid jet lag. I don’t remember the details, as I never do, but will remember to Google it before another trip. )

The first morning we arrived in Amdavad and were riding around in our rickshaw in the chaos of the city. .  of the country, in and out of cars, rickshaws, camels, elephants,  monkeys, and motorbikes.

I felt at home. .  . .   I was home. . . .   I hope to return again. . . . that is my dream!

India steals a place from your heart and you are never the same again anywhere else.

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“Departures” The 2009 Japanese Best Foreign Film

Image result for images from Departures Japanese film

The other day I had a response to my world faith blog on Reincarnation and Mummification.  People are very interested in death rituals and beliefs, the unknown aspect of what happens after death.


My memory was jostled by the thought of this film I saw in a foreign film class I took in the local library in the near past.   The background story is that of a young musician who desperately needs a job.  He finds work in a most unlikely place, assisting as a Nokanshi or traditional Japanese mortician. This produces conflict in his family and friends due to the Japanese public’s shunning of those who are involved in death rituals.

For me, it was a touching and gentle story of the passing of a family member whose death preparation takes place in her home, surrounded by loved ones,  for her final journey.

The idea for this film was an India death ritual near the Ganges which I have seen in Varanasi. ” Departures” is not depressing, but shows the calming, beautiful, and dignified work in Japan after the departure of a loved one.

This is the only access I could find on Youtube.com.  I hope it works for those of you who might be interested.

I would love to hear your reaction to this idea and film about death in Japan.


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“Lion”, a film

Image result for images of lion/ a film

Dev Patel, as the  man Saroo Brterley searching for his family.

Image result for who is the little boy who plays Saroo?

This is Saroo as a child played by Sunny Pawar who almost stole the film from Dev and most assuredly stole the audiences’ hearts!

Sunny Pawar in Lion – the Indian actor has reportedly been denied a visa to visit the US for the New York premiere of the film.

Eight-year-old Sunny Pawar and his father were denied a visa to enter the US for the premier in New York and Los Angeles.   Shame on the US State Department.

Lion is the true story of an Indian man who got lost as a child.  It is a simple but incredibly complex story of a little boy who through no fault of his own ends up alone and on the dark streets of Kolkata, unable to speak the language of this state far away from his own. He is forced to steal, sleep on the street with other homeless Indian street children just to survive.   He barely misses being taken as a sex slave.  But all through his journey Saroo Brierley, whose story is told, never stopped dreaming about his family who had been left behind.

Lion is up for the Academy Award for best picture.  Garth Davies is an Australian director who worked until this film directing television. Dev Patel is the Indian actor so prevalent in films popular in the west. He was first seen in Slumdog  Millionaire, which did win the best picture.  He was also in The Most Exotic Marigold Hotel and The Life of Pi. Interesting aside is that Dev was born and lives in London.  This film may have attracted him as a journey film of his own life. He was willing to work hard on an Australian accent and gain weight and work out to be a believable athlete.  In Indian films and in real life, the women in India have the most amazing thick long hair, but Dev has the spectacular thick long curls in Lion.

Google Earth plays a prominent part of the plot and is how Saroo was able to unlock the mystery of finding his village in rural India, based on his memories of his fateful train trip.

Faith is evidenced through in the background.  There was a call to prayer, a brief stop at a Hindu god and characters speaking of being blessed.  I have mentioned before that in India, 98% of the population claim a faith system and it is a very important part of  the culture.

Lion is a wonderful example of the films that Indians do best,  films filled with inspiration. It is a strongly moral, pro-family movie with emphasis on the mother-child relationship both as the birth mother and adoptive mother. Just as India is very transparent to visitors both positive and negative aspects of their culture such as poverty, orphans, street people, internal strife of right and wrong, family, love, adoption and the meaning of love.  Actually, like many Indian films . . . . this film is about life and that is what the Indians get. . . and live. . . . And inspire the rest of the world with their insight.

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Senior Recital at Yale University/Joseph Fala

The program is 60 minutes long.   My favorite is the joyful finale of the  Dupre  Prelude in B Major.  I would love to hear all those notes played and bouncing off the marble finishes  in one of the Baroque Cathedrals in Rome or Prague.

And my favorite. . . .

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