P.S. The original "Clash of the Worlds" post is below. We lived in India then and were visiting the US for a "home visit" (and C was known as N on the blog).
N and I were at the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) a couple of days after we got to the US to get our car license tags reissued. We took a number to get in line, I filled out the application form and we sat in the row of chairs facing the 17-odd customer service counters. Christmas decorations were everywhere - green imitation pine streamers hung from the doors, windows and ceiling, red bows punctuating them every two feet or so, and red stockings hung from every counter with the name of each employee written in shiny colorful markers across the white furry borders.
As we sat waiting, we read the names on each of the stockings. When we came to the one with lettering in gold-colored marker, I blinked. The name looked like it had been written in Kannada. I blinked again, but it wouldn't go away.
I asked N to go up closer to the stocking and see if it was written in Kannada. He looked at me like I was nuts ("You've got to be kidding, mom"), but he went to the stocking and looked. It said Safiana. In English, of course.
Snippets of conversations I could not catch in crowded places seemed like they were spoken in Kannada. I looked around and there was not a single Indian face to be seen. It's not just me. On this trip, N sometimes thought he heard Kannada too.
This was not the first time my two worlds have clashed in my head. When we're driving around in the US on a stretch of road empty of other vehicles, with relatives or our Indian friends in the car, listening to a Hindi CD, it comes as a complete shock to me when we come to a traffic signal and there are cars with non-Indian faces in them.
We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
And my brain doesn't just transplant India into the US. The reverse works very well too.
A few months ago I was at my uncle's house in Bangalore for a pre-wedding family get-together (my cousin was getting married). I was dressed up in Indian clothes, of course, with bindis going a mile up on my forehead and bangles clanging on my wrists. On the way back home I needed to stop at the grocery store for something.
As I was leaving my uncle's house, an image flitted across my head. I was going to show up at the grocery store in all my Indian finery. Just a thought. And an awareness that I would get a lot of stares and smiles and perhaps some questions. A second later it struck me.
Duh! I'm in India! I'm not going to the local Safeway, I'm going to Monday to Sunday!