Friday, March 7, 2008

"No Contact" Orders

Posted from Udaipur, India

One of the hardest parts of traveling through India with Lizzi is the fact that I can't touch her. I can't touch her in public, that is. In fact, any public display of affection can be considered offensive. I mean, I remember back in high school when they cracked down on PDA. But they were targeting the couples who had their tongues down each others' between English and chemistry classes. A couple simply holding hands while walking to class was still ok. But not so here.

Except that it can be ok. The younger generations are ok with it. We noticed the honeymooning couples in Munnar were all cuddly and dreamy-eyed. But as we worked our way back towards the coast and then north, couples drifted farther and farther apart. By the time we arrived in Delhi, most couples walked with several paces of distance between them. Except for the younger couples in the more affluent sections of the city.

Constantly there has been a struggle for me to appreciate and respect the culture we have the privilege to enjoy and maintain some sense of contact with Lizzi. What surprised me most is how much intimacy is generated and sustained simply by holding hands with the one you love. And that intimacy is even more noticeable when the source of that intimacy is suddenly disconnected. Not only are we hot and tired and edgy and guarded and alert and overwhelmed, but we are also missing one tiny piece of what connects us without words. Making any given day just a little harder.

5 comments:

Cris said...

I've always thought you need to keep your hands to yourself, Matt. I'm glad you are now in a place where you must.

:) Cris

Gwen said...

Just imagine, Scott and Andrea in Saudi Arabia, where he swears she has to walk paces behind him, all covered up (he kept saying, "she can't show her goodies," before they left. Now they are in Dubai, skiing indoors, and truly seeing how the 'other half' live, including gas at 50 cents a gallon. I told them to bring some home -- after I put almost $80 into Andrea's gas tank (I'm still babysitting in Kansas). Loving your blog, and look forward to every new entry.
Gwen

Thomas said...

Matt,

I saw some kids making an igloo the other day--we've been getting a lot of snow here--and I thought of you. Well, more to the point, I thought of the snow tunnels we built at Primerose Lane.

Hope all is well.
Tom

Matt said...

When I was in Saudi Arabia, female military personnel were required to wear abayas if they went outside the military compound (which included the drive from housing to our work site) and they were not allowed to drive. It was crap, and everybody knew it. Then we had a certain LtCol, a female A-10 pilot, who drove like she flew. She refused to wear an abaya, and she drove everywhere. She kicked ass!

Matt said...

Ok, I'm jealous about the amount of snow. I seriously miss the snow. However, I'm thinking that we might get a bit in Nepal. The weather reports are conflicting: guidebooks say that it gets down to freezing in Kathmandu, but weather.com says its 75 and sunny. Go figure.

BTW, stay on topic ;)