The Bad News Barber of Kuala Lumpur

This is a story about a haircut, some bad news, life in Kuala Lumpur, and crocodile poop.

Before I set off for my first trip abroad to India many years ago, I harbored visions — visions of mystical women in colorful saris who would place their hands upon the crown of my youthful head and say, “I see great things in your future.” Through osmosis, I would absorb their wisdom and they would enlighten me with the path I might take to achieve such great things.

Instead, 14 years later, as I sat in a barber’s chair in Kuala Lumpur, a man named Deepak, a Gujarati Indian barber from Mumbai decked out in too-tight jeans and a checkered shirt, placed his hand upon the front of my head and told me I was going bald.

Where did I go wrong?

Continue ReadingThe Bad News Barber of Kuala Lumpur

Panorama of the Week: The Rhythm and Ritual of a Hindu Temple

Evening puja (prayers)at Sri Ganesar Court Hill Hindu Temple near Puduraja in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Every morning and every evening, just down the block from our guest house in Kuala Lumpur, the local Hindu temple comes alive with the daily puja (prayer).  Worshippers line up to break coconuts, families gather to share blessed meals, Hindu priests prepare to dress Ganesh, and the sadhu attempts to sell 3-D calendars sporting likenesses of Hindu gods.

Each time we pass, we are drawn in by it all.

Continue ReadingPanorama of the Week: The Rhythm and Ritual of a Hindu Temple