Sunday, April 6, 2008

Today I sat cross-legged in front of a 108 year-old woman. She was gaunt and withered, limbs all disjointed angles, a sari that has seen better days pulled over her thin hair. If she wasn't a hundred and eight, she certainly made my ninety-year old grandmother look middle-aged. She placed gnarled fingers of both hands upon my bowed head. The man who had ushered me in front of her urged me to speak the names of my family as she rasped an ancient language over my head. "It is a blessing, speak your father's name, your mother's, your brothers and sisters." I spoke the names I cherish, "James, Jeanne, David, Owen..." She continued the blessing, finally releasing my head and touching her own forehead with fingers together. But I didn't need the blessing. I am blessed already. I have those names and many others and they bring me joy, comfort, safety and love. And I am in India.

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