Indian Summer

Age at which I read my first novel about India: 10
Subsequent number of novels about India I have read: 22
Number of months spent planning my trip to India: 9
Percentage of parents’ friends claiming to know someone in India who would either employ or shelter me: 32
Pre-departure visits to Yale Travel Clinic: 5
Number of malaria pills purchased: 82
Number of guide books purchased: 3
Number of times the word “microfinance” appeared in my fellowship application essay: 9
Extent of my knowledge about “microfinance” upon writing fellowship application essay: 1 Time Magazine article
Number of fellowships that turned me down: 9
AIDS rate in India, as relayed to me by my mother: 1.5%
Months spent in India: 2.5
Minutes spent admiring my dusty, overloaded backpack in the bathroom mirror before passing through LAX upon
return: 3.2
Number of diseases diagnosed during post-India physical: 0
Number of group emails printed, reread, and collected in a folder: 7
Money spent on Indian ingredients to cook family an authentic Indian meal: $42.61
Days left-over authentic Indian meal sat in refrigerator, untouched, before discreetly thrown out by my mother: 5
Number of cheaply-made puppets, bangles, elephant mobiles, bootlegged Bollywood films, bags of tea, and fraying
tapestries distributed to family and friends: 32
Number of “India!” photo albums posted on Facebook: 5
Hours spent walking around Los Angeles in an Indian kurta before discreetly changing behind a dumpster: 0.6
Remaining desire to work in microfinance, international development, or any other not-for-profit that involves helping people: 0
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