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Shantum. Nina. Katherine.

I was in India, travelling all over the country. We were digging wells, riding elephants, studying Buddhism. Inside the rickety old bus, with ripped leather seats, no air conditioning, and red and yellow cloth curtains, I sat with our Indian guide, Shantum.

I offered Shantum a piece of spearmint gum. He said thank you immediately, took it, carefully opening the silver wrapper like Charlie Bucket opening a Wonka bar. Then, he put the gum in his mouth and chewed slowly, savoring the flavor within.

We started speaking about many things — arranged marriage, the caste system, why Buddha is always incarnated as a man — when I noticed a slight grimace on his face.


Katherine Fugate

Writer. Director. Activist. Mom. Creator/EP of "Army Wives." Sports Illustrated's Best Journalism 2017. Guest "The Stephanie Miller Show" Sirius XM: Progress.

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