Back At It
After an interesting stint away from Charchit and Bikram I was ready to come home. Over the next week I settled into my research. The routine was: go to a cafe, buy the cheapest thing, and email people who knew way more than me about production and resource use. We settled on the idea of following a product through its lifecycle (as a way of looking at climate change). So the research started out by looking for a lifecycle that was broad enough to encompass the large contributors to climate change: agriculture, energy, transportation, manufacturing. After about a week of research we decided a t-shirt would be best. I started to buy groceries and pay for the internet (which is metered here) because the living situation was becoming more and more housematelike rather than the expected host-guest dynamic. This made me a little self conscious because as close as I was becoming with Charchit and Bikram (we would cook for friends together, I went to visit Bikram's parents in Chandigarh) I still wasn't confident that they would kick me out if they didn't want me to stay.
It’s tough when the cultural mentality is to always help, always have open doors, and never leave anyone on their own, but you’re not sure where the line is (or was). I’m not sure where it was or what it was, but I complimented something and the host offered it to me. I tried to turn it down, say no thank you, back out of it, and he kept insisting. Finally someone leaned in and said, “You should probably take that.” Starts to challenge what is cultural and what is human nature. It will be interesting to keep an eye out trying to read people when there are so many different unspoken cultural rules.
Hi Sam! I love the idea of following a t-shirt through its life cycle and look forward to hearing more about it. Staying in another person’s home always comes with those feelings. I’m sure they are really enjoying hosting you and your sister and it sounds as though you are contributing a lot.