First Words with India

Amber Fort in Jaipur

​​Landed in India’s New Delhi airport at 10:30pm, local time. And so it begins.

Sitting at the breakfast table with our Indian Airbnb hosts, an older married couple fitting every Indian stereotype I semi-secretly harbor. Talking about eating arrangements, the father told us about the paradoxical abundance of food in the pantry:

​”Yes, there is plenty. But you might need to go out and buy things. Everything is in the pantry, but also nothing is in the pantry.”

​Beautiful. Can’t find any pantries like that back home.

Later in the evening, speaking with the wife about why, ever since the 60’s & the Beatles, Americans believe India holds some esoteric answer to their spiritual vacancy:

​”I don’t know what they all think they’re looking for; it’s all inside anyway…but if you want to travel to my country only to have somebody direct you in sitting quietly, I’ll happily open my home for $50 / night or whatever ashrams charge nowadays.”

​Zing. Had some possible responses bubble up, but let them fizzle as most seemed like excuses. Felt a little silly about my culpability in this, but maintain that there’s something valuable in the vibes out here that can’t be absorbed back home.

Also the chai is out of this world.

Originally published at

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