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[Comments] (3) the office: I can learn a lot at the office. Today we had someone cancel a team meeting because of a death in the family. The email said something about how she could not attend the meeting in an hour because her uncle had expired, she just found out, and needed to rush to the funeral. This had me all sorts of confused.

After I calmed down a bit (this person caused me other busy season trauma) I asked a fellow Indian manager what to think of this. Apparently same day funerals do occur, if the family is all nearby, because they do not normally preserve the body. If you miss the funeral of a family member, you may be ostracized thereafter.

My driver attended the funeral of a friend who was cremated, I told him. And the ashes were put in the river 3 days later. So what was that about? Apparently when someone dies unnaturally, it is a bad omen, so the body is normally cremated and the ashes scattered in an attempt to quell some of that bad luck. My driver's friend was hit by a motorcycle. I guess this impedes this person's ability to have a good afterlife. You'd think Indians would be less cavalier with their driving, given this information, but alas they are not. A cremation also requires a government official to sign off, which normally requires a bribe.

So apparently same-day funerals are a go (not sure how you prepare a plot so quickly), cremations are for the otherwise doomed, and employees are given a lot of leave to accommodate the local culture. I remember when Frances died I think they gave me two days; never mind that I actually had to very actively participate in the funeral arrangements (including spending the night at Kinko's re-doing funeral programs because Anne thought Alan was a Richardson). Some of the perks the people are allotted here make me crazy, because the same perks are not afforded us in the US, and we do the same hard work they do here. I'm glad they get the nice perks, I just wish we could have them in the US as well (ie casual Friday, more generous leave policy, more team outings). Indeed the cost of doing business here is more than just a cheaper salary.

Given all the above, it appears that the outlook on death is more grim here than it is for my culture (ie LDS culture, not necessarily US culture) and I suppose for that I am grateful. The manner of death, for example, has very little to do with your actual pie in the sky.

updated wishlist: I've thought about my list of the good and bad in India I posted in December. I have a few updates to make at this point:

I really miss a bathtub when I'm sick but otherwise the shower is fine. We finally have water pressure in our shower. The food is still hard on all of us. And the hard-tiled floors are hard on Dalton, who got out of the tub on his own the other day, slipped, and bonked his head so hard he blacked out (like he used to a lot at home). I would add to the list that no one lines up here and stores constantly ask for change, which is annoying. Also the bugs in the kitchen. All the other stuff (the traffic, the soi dogs, the power outages, the no camera policy) is tolerable now that I'm used to it.

The list of good things is still good, mostly. It's nice being close to work, the weather is great in Bangalore, and there are still no Jonses to keep up with.

it starts: Dalton woke up as normal, too early, but wasn't screaming. So Susie and I left him in his crib while we rested/leisurely woke up. He appeared to be playing and Maggie was still asleep. Next thing we know, Dalton toddles into our room to say good morning. Now what?


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