Surviving America: A Dog Tale

Somebody stage an intervention.  She’s writing about dogs again.  And reverse culture shock.  And finding a new normal.

…My husband and I didn’t want a puppy after returning to the US, but our kids had begged us for months. Living in India for three years had provided us enough adventures to last a lifetime, we reasoned, and we didn’t need to add a dog to the mix. After all, we’d visited the Taj Mahal, and piled on top of elephants, the five of us riding together. We’d celebrated Diwali with our neighbors and attended a friend’s lavish Sikh wedding. We had lived with monkeys, rats, and mongooses…

Read the rest here.


About a year and a half ago I was sitting in a salon chair in New Delhi.  We were at Saket mall and I was in the Madonna Salon (don’t ask).  The man who was about to cut my long hair was thrilled that a foreigner was in his chair and that she spoke Hindi.  Unfortunately he was also a bit flirtatious–smarmy even–and extremely confident in his general person.

I showed him a picture I’d ripped out of a back issue of a Better Homes & Garden magazine to give him a concrete idea of what I wanted in a hairstyle.  He proceeded to cut my hair, all the while chatting with me about life in America and correcting my Hindi pronunciation.  When I saw his finished product it looked nothing like the picture I’d shown him.

He seemed to sense my displeasure.  He said, “Don’t worry, ma’am.  See, I have made you more beautiful.  I have giving you more beautiful cut.  More sexy.”

No, sir.  You gave me a mullet.

Today I walked into a salon I’ve visited once since we’ve been back in the States.  I sat in the swivel chair and showed the talented hairstylist exactly what I wanted, in my mother tongue.  She skillfully went about copying my reference picture nearly exactly, and I was deeply happy with the final result.  And she never flirted once.

Add that to the list of things I love about America.