The Doorbell and a Case for Slow Travel
A doorbell is the inspiration for this post.
A doorbell that I had confused for something far more substantial… or maybe not.
You see, I spent five days in the home of my friend in Amedgarh, the Punjab, and it was four days before I understood something so simple as the doorbell.
While there I watched the household in action. How the daily cooking and cleaning was done. The sleeping arrangements which are quite different from North America. The pattern of the house slowly revealed itself to me. But it wasn’t until that fourth day that I understood the doorbell.
Periodically, when sitting, chatting, eating… there would be a very loud chant. I asked about it on the first day and was told that it was a call to prayer. Yes, that’s what I had thought. Yet, no one seemed to respond. No prayers were said. Ah well, I guessed that this was an optional task and, like everywhere, some people are more observant than others.
But on that fourth day, I finally put two and two together. The call to prayer was not on a schedule, it was a response. A response to someone pushing the doorbell. Yes, maybe less significant than a prayer but, also, maybe more significant as one never knows who will be on the other side of the door.
What a different notion I would have had if I had moved on sooner. Yes, it takes time to see the nuances of a culture.
The longer you stay in one place, the more you will see.