‘The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget’

In January, thanks to the gracious support of the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), I’ll be traveling to Uganda to report on underreported issues of democracy and governance ahead of the country’s 2016 presidential elections.

I’ve never been to Uganda, let alone Africa, and am excited at the chance to report in and experience a new country. A former professor recommended this book to read as a useful primer on the country, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it: The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget: Murder and Memory in Uganda.

Given this reporting fellowship, India reporting and other plans are on hold for a bit while my schedule sorts itself out. I had almost forgotten that it takes time to secure a visa for a country. My OCI card has been very good to me in this respect.

I do hate that I am without my passport while I wait for this process, though. It’s like losing keys to a car for me, and I realize how much I rely on the capacity to move.

But the upside is that it has been very nice to be back in the United States during this time of year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and now Christmas (and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa for those celebrating) and New Year’s. Perhaps it’s the influence of the holidays, but being around my family and old friends makes me feel almost more homesick for them than I was in India.

Of course the reverse is true for India, and even still Japan, although the latter feels much farther away. But someone — I can’t remember who — once asked me if I am sometimes homesick for India, and I was a little bit stunned that the answer might not be obvious. Of course I am. I learned long ago that one needs to distance herself from one experience and immerse herself into another in order to reap the full benefits it.

The Teeth May Smile but the Heart Does Not Forget is a useful title for so many instances of life.

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