Sending packages to the USA is a bit of a process here.  You don’t just go to the post office.  First you go to the tailors.  At the tailors, you hand over your package and they proceed to wrap it in a swath of large white cloth, which they stitch together by hand, or with a machine.  As a final flourish, they light a candle, hold a stub of red wax to it, and once the wax is soft and dripping, they proceed to seal the package with a series of blood red stamps.

Today I stopped at the tailors, and took a seat at the small bench they proffered me.  A crippled Indian man with a beak nose hobbled into the room and lowered himself to the ground, crossing his legs in the lotus position.  He flashed a beaming smile on me, and then took out a rag and wiped down his machine.  He strung it with thread and began to whistle.  When the cloth had been measured and cut, and the package was ready to wrap, he laid everything down by his side and closed his eyes.

I watched him breathe deeply for a moment, and then he did something interesting which I have seen various people in India do at various times- he made a blade of one hand, and quickly touched it to his forehead, and then to the machine, back and forth three times.  It seemed as though he was blessing the sewing machine, or asking for a blessing from above to do his work.  As soon as he had consecrated the work, he picked up the white cloth, aligned it with the poised needle, and began sewing with great fervor.IMG_1776


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