Bear with me for a moment, we'll get there...
I was just looking through the 20 catalogs I've received in the last two weeks (it's almost as if Christmas is right around the corner) and came upon a necklace with "Namaste" printed on the pendant.
A word that used to make me think of the end of a yoga session and a final relaxing exhale now makes me chuckle.
According to Wikipedia, "Namaste is a common spoken greeting or salutation originating from India and Nepal. When spoken to another person, it is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest."
Additionally, some of the meanings and interpretations include:
* "I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me."
* "I honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One."
* "Your spirit and my spirit are ONE."
* "That which is of God in me greets that which is of God in you."
* "The Divinity within me perceives and adores the Divinity within you."
Or as my mother used it one morning last December, "Thank you for my coffee, Indian man at Dunkin' Donuts."
Typically, if my mother's leaving the house for any reason, she's hitting a Dunkin' Donuts drive-through along the way. Fortunately for her, Dunkin' Donuts have littered Southern Jersey much like 7-Elevens and Starbucks have littered the rest of the country. As I'm writing this, I'm sure they're building one on her front lawn.
When I go home at Christmas, we have to make our (her) daily stop at "Dunky Nuts," as she likes to call it.
And she's the one without Alzheimer's.
You can imagine my surprise as I handed payment over to the Indian man at the DD drive-through window, thanked him, and heard from the passenger seat of my car a very chipper, "Namaste!"
I just looked at her.
And then burst out laughing. She explained that she often thanked the DD workers/owners in their language.
First of all, my mother has a bit of selective racism. She's the woman you can hear in the grocery store huffing and puffing and muttering about Spanish-speaking persons and shooting them a friendly, "If you can't speak the language, go back to your country!" under her breath. Hopefully, under her breath. So for her to claim she's doing anything to accomodate someone from another country is HYSTERICAL.
And last time I checked, "namaste" wasn't really used as the equivalent of "Thank you," "Hello," "Goodbye," "Shalom," or "Aloha." Nor do I think she's bestowing country-specific greetings on anyone else. I want to find an African shop or restaurant when I go home this Christmas to see if she'll start clicking...
With low-fat milk and two Splendas. :)