It was a dreary morning in Delhi, India but the doormen at the Taj were quite cordial as usual. Leaving the hotel, one of the door men gave me a one handed ‘namaste’ but instead of putting his right hand perpendicular to his forehead (what I interpret to be a short form of palms pressed together), his hand lingered out of the side a little. Instinctively, yet very tentatively, my right hand creeped through the air and slowly landed against his palm. Oh the trepidation and my shifting eyes! It all happened in slow motion but as soon as my palm hit his palm, I knew this was a wrong time to high five. I dropped my hand and looked at him in the eyes and he slowly started to smile and then I realized for sure he was never requesting a high five – silly American. I nervously smiled back but then crippled over in literally a knee slapping laugh. From them on out I would break into a subtle laughter every time I saw that doorman but replied to his one handed ‘namaste’ with my own ‘namaste’.
Erica Ingram shares how her time serving in the Peace Corps in China led her to discover a whole new side to her family story