Stuff I Talk About

by Christina Ledbetter

Giving and Taking Away

“Makeup? Makeup? Is good one. Pen? Is best pen.” “Is it all good?” I bantered, waving my hand around the crowded little stall filled with measuring spoons, tin cups, can openers, mirrors (which the shopkeeper called makeup), plastic waste baskets and of course, pens. The wiry Indian man smiled back. Benson paid for our items, I told the host of workers “Shookria,” and we walked down the narrow Mumbai sidewalk […]

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Humility

Yesterday I felt like a prairie woman in a bonnet waving goodbye to her husband who was setting off in his wagon to tame a wild frontier and secure land, shelter, vittles. But really I was just standing in my driveway waving goodbye to Benson who was setting off in an Uber to travel to Mumbai and secure the keys to our Indian apartment, a mattress, bank account, local phone, […]

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Details

All together now – USA! USA! I cried when we landed. And then I cried when I saw our roommate. Then we went to church and I cried and wondered if the man sitting next to me was sort of weirded out. I know there are people who actually go through hard times in their lives – sickness, divorce, poverty, war – so I feel like such a pansy being […]

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Daily Bread

At a corner roadside stand a few blocks from where we’ll live, an old plastic pitcher of . . . maybe water? maybe juice? . . . sits on the makeshift counter, open to anyone who needs a drink during the trek home from work. I watched from my seat in the open-air rickshaw various walkers stop, pour liquid into their open mouths, replace the pitcher and continue walking. Nobody […]

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The Scam

Voodo leck a caddy bag? That’s what it sounds like. But say it so quickly. Would you like a carry bag? No, I would not like a carry bag, thank you. I brought my own. Then I proudly display my cloth bag, because I, ladies and gentlemen, have lived in Mumbai, India for three weeks and three days now, and I’ve learned some things. One of which is to always […]

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Mumbai Apartment Hunting, Day 1

We saw some winners and losers, folks. First of all, we met with an apartment locator with a name that sounded like Huevo but wasn’t Huevo (which was learned once he spelled it for us and I realized I was way off and was glad I hadn’t informed him that his name meant egg in Spanish), plus two other men, one in slacks and one carrying a motorcycle helmet. The […]

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Opposite Land

Continuing life in the land of opposites. Bamboo scaffolding climbing up the walls of rickety buildings; a persistent goat nudging his mom’s udders at the bus stop; a woman covered head to toe in black, guiding a blind elderly man clad in a white tunic across the dirt paths of their slum; three boys running over an expanse of rubble with a kite. Friday night we celebrated two weeks of […]

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