BY ANNA KRAMER
“How was India?” This is an impossible question. For one thing, it’s incorrectly stated. “India” exists in the present tense: if you were to change “was” to “is”, the question would be grammatically correct, but that is not what you are asking me. It is widely believed (and to some extent correctly), that the word “was” is appropriate because my exchange experience in India exists now in the past tense.
Yet even that is not suitable, for my experience in India is still ongoing, despite my current location being in the United States instead of on the subcontinent. But I’m just nitpicking.
Ask this question in the most grammatically, temporally, geographically correct way, and I will still have trouble responding. Regardless of how you word this question, I know what you’re trying to ascertain, and I don’t have a sufficient, let alone concise, answer. I have been trying to come up with a good answer since the first time someone asked me, “how was India?” and repetition has not brought the answer any closer to the entire truth.
To be honest, I haven’t had all that much time to reflect upon the past (and ongoing) experience since my arrival in Cooperstown: my American life is dominated by “doing”, whereas my Indian life is dominated by “being,” by “thinking.” Not that “being,” “thinking”, soul-searching, and introspection do not occur in my American life: they simply happen less frequently and often with less intensity.
The best answer I’ve come up with so far is, “it was beautiful.” (See, even I fall into the past v. present tense trap.
It is beautiful, “is” because I everyday carry my Indian life with me, trying to fuse it with my American life in order to bring forth a better one.) Yet “it is beautiful” still
only depicts the white caps, not the currents and depth beneath the waves.
India is beautiful, my journey there is beautiful, because of the wonder, the growth, the dancing, the color, the warmth, the love. Dictionaries often include the word pleasure in the definition of beautiful, but I think the compilers of these tomes are missing something. “Pleasure” is associated with gratification, with joy, and is synonymous with (amongst many words) “agreeable,” “congenial” and “contentment.” These words are all well-suited for my experience; however, such soothing, happy words do not encompass everything. It is also beautiful because of the struggle, the torturous sights of cruelty, hardship and loss, the moments that tear the heart asunder, the discomfort, the pain and the lack of pleasure.
Importantly, the beauty arises not only from the lighter, happy side, nor only from the darker, grievous side. The beauty is from both, from the inseparable, at times indistinguishable, dualities, how the two natures bound together and brought forth a land named India, and molded my sojourn there. So if you see me walking the streets of Cooperstown and ask me, “how was India?” I’ll smile, sigh, and tell you, “It is beautiful.” Perhaps I’ll someday have a better answer for you, but for now, that’s the closest to the truth that words can aspire.
ANNA KRAMER was a Cooperstown Rotary Youth Exchange student in India.
BY ANNA KRAMER
- Local News
Progress to be focus of Relay for Life speech
The American Cancer Society is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. During those years, cancer has transformed from deadly to treatable and from treatable to preventable.Continued ...
Miller's farewell includes final budget presentation
Robert Miller ended his tenure as school superintendent at Cherry Valley-Springfield Central School with some fanfare, some smiles and his typical presentations and opinions.Continued ...
Rotary Club seeks nominations for Christopher J. Warrell Community Service Award
The Cooperstown Rotary Club will be presenting the 2013 Christopher J. Warrell Community Service Award at its annual dinner on June 26, but first needs to find a recipient.Continued ...
Cherry Valley Artworks ready for another season
Summer is almost here and for the third year in a row, Cherry Valley will host young opera artists who perform at Glimmerglass as part of the The Glimmerglass Festival Artist in Residence Program.Continued ...
CCS seeks community input on technology
The Cooperstown Central School District is seeking community input through an online technology survey.Continued ...
Cherry Valley men face gun, pot charges
Four Cherry Valley residents were arrested on assorted gun and other charges following a weeklong investigation that was conducted by the Otsego County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division, Otsego deputies said.Continued ...
The Cooperstown Art Association is expanded
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Planting Days event to kick off museum series
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Growing Community is gearing up for gardening
As the growing season kicks off, Growing Community is offering to assist novice gardeners with planning and establishing backyard (or container) kitchen gardens through its Garden Raising program. A Garden Raising, like an old-fashioned barn raising, brings many hands and much camaraderie to what can otherwise be a daunting task, according to organizers.Continued ...
Festival to celebrate Iroquois culture
New demonstrations and artists will expand the Iroquois Cultural Festival, which is in its second year.Continued ...
County to lose its economic playmaker
After more than 12 years on the job, Otsego County Economic Developer Carolyn Lewis announced she will be leaving her position Aug. 9 in order to devote more time to raising her three children.Continued ...
- Friday, May 10, 2013
Talking Opera evokes enthusiasm for the season
When something is unfamiliar or complicated, the more apt someone is to steer away from it. That is exactly what the members of the Glimmerglass Opera Guild do not want people to do when they think about going to see an opera performance.Continued ...
- Thursday, May 9, 2013
Cotillion not just a dance
Cooperstown Central School students have been entering the ballroom at the Otesaga Hotel to the sound of a band playing the foxtrot for 56 years. They are lined up from tallest to shortest dressed in formal wear as they prepare for the big night -- a junior ballroom dance called Cotillion.Continued ...
Middlefield drilling ban upheld
The Otsego County town of Middlefield and the Tompkins County town of Dryden -- along with the principle of home rule -- scored major victories, with the state Appellate Division issuing twin rulings that uphold their trail-blazing bans on natural gas drilling.Continued ...
Winning teams in Bassett's Go Red Challenge announced
The Division of Cardiac Surgery at Bassett Medical Center recently announced the winners of the UpClose Cardiac Surgery program's first l Go Red Challenge held in January and February of this year.Continued ...
Teen's video project coming to life
A Milford Central School senior, Spencer O'Bryan, has begun sharing news about the local community on a video magazine called the "Milford Montage."Continued ...
Concert has been rescheduled
The Black Crowes concert has been changed to Sept. 5. All tickets purchased for the July show will be honored at the event.Continued ...
Five Hall of Famers to serve as judges for coin design competition
Five Baseball Hall of Famers will help select the design of the coin that will commemorate the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.Continued ...
'All Things Small In Nature' photo contest announced
Otsego Land Trust and Butternut Valley Alliance are sponsoring a photo contest for 2013 titled "All Things Small in Nature."Continued ...
Lakefront Concert Series lineup set
The lineup for the ninth annual Cooperstown Lakefront Concert Series has been released.Continued ...
- Progress to be focus of Relay for Life speech