I think what I love the most about Indian woman is how gentle they are.
They are not pushovers.
They are not soft. They are gentle.
They are bold. They are not hard.
They are polite and sweet but in the same breath.
Yesterday we were so happy to be in a restaurant that had western food. We started to order everything on the menu. The waitress gently said, “You cannot order all of that. It is way too much food!”
On my way back from the gym, I asked the receptionist at the hotel where a certain temple was. She looked at me and said gently, “Ah madam, you cannot wear that to the temple.”
She did not make me feel uncomfortable, I actually laughed and said, “Thank you!”
There is something about being gently bold that makes so much sense. It makes it so easy to be compliant.
What an important lesson.
In my workshops I teach communication skills. We use “I” sentences. I tell participants to say what you want, need, and of course what hurts you. But this gentle element, is something I didn’t think about and it is so, so important,
Yesterday we treated ourselves to an incredible hot oil massage. It was truly wonderful. Two petite women worked on my very tired body, gently but with power. They use the oil in abundance.
The most powerful part of this was the end.
After the massage your body is covered with oil. You are led into the shower where you sit on a chair and a woman bathes you.
This moment made me weep.
Everyone in their life should have someone care for them the way this woman cared for me in this shower.
She washed my hair gently and lathered my body. It was almost sacred.
Gentle. We in the West need to be gentle to our partners, to our children and above all to ourselves.
In the workshop today we acted out a scene where a young woman comes home after curfew. I say, “OK, the curfew was 8 and the girl came home at 10.” The girls blush and one says very gently, “Mam, can we say she came home at 8:15? You know 3 minutes late is a big deal for an Indian mother!”
Her gentle disposition, demeanor and her soft voice made my out loud laughing seem so incredibly loud. “OK! Compromise. 8:30?” I say.
They laugh, and even though I am pushing them out of their comfort zone, they gently agree and walk with me to the unknown.
We finish the workshop and then travel to The Writers Café. Some of the woman from the burn shelter we met earlier this week work there. We sit around a big table in a private room upstairs
I gently ask questions. They answer.
They tell us we must eat the pizza and coffee they make. So we do.
One of the girls barely 20, who survived her burns, is now THE main pizza maker at this café. She proudly brings the pizza to our table. We get up to take a picture. She gently presses my arm.
“This is for you,” she whispers.
I look at her and quietly say, “You are my role model.”
She almost falls over. She nods her head.
And I say, “You are amazing, and your pizza is delicious!”
She gently takes my hand and holds it.
And no more words need to be said because we know already them all.