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Sikkim and marathon bombings

April 17, 2013

We arrived home from India three hours after the marathon bombings. At Logan, they held our plane on the tarmac and rumors flew around the cabin. There were bombs in Newton, bombs in Wellesley. Boston was shut down. The bridges were closed. There was no getting in and out of the city. We were going to be stuck on the plane for a long time. It turned out that none of this was true. Eventually, we rolled into our gate. We sailed right out of the city. And no bombs were discovered in Newton or Wellesley. Still, the violence and the chaos were real and the contrast to Sikkim was stark. I don’t think there has ever been a murder in Sikkim. There are no muggings. My friend, who has lived there for the past year, told me that one day she went to the bank to take out a lot of money for business. When she told the teller that she was nervous to walk back home with so much cash, he was mystified. Apparently, people in Sikkim walk around with their pockets stuffed full of rupees and feel perfectly safe. After all, this is a place where life is so precious that people sweep the floor before you enter the room to make sure that you do not step on a bug and kill it.

A cousin of one of the students I met had gone to L.A. and been killed in a carjacking. “Don’t worry,” I said, “America is not that violent.” Those words of mine keep ringing in my ears.

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