Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why I Persist

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Intermittent Reinforcement -- the Most Powerful Kind

Last night, we returned from vacation and I was in a sad mood at being done with extended leisure. I didn't feel awake or spirited enough to blog, and then saw e-mail from an Indian friend's mother, who told me that she liked my blog.

That's all I needed to re-engage me. We had an exchange about how at one time, she knew Jews only as literary characters. I was reminded of how much education I used to lack about Indians; I wrote:

Before high school, the only Indians I knew were in Rudyard Kipling's novel, *Kim.*

I had gone to elementary and junior high only with Jewish kids and I grew up in Stamford, Connecticut, where at the time, there was no Indian community to speak of (I'm 42). There was one kid who hung out with us in high school, Jason Patel, and I'm not kidding: I did not know he was Indian. I thought he was Jewish. I didn't even know that Patel was an Indian name back then.

Progress is important to recognize. I know more now than I knew in high school.


rucsb said...

Sometimes, when i read your blog, i realize, you know ( have absorbed ) more in 6 months assignment than what i know about India. Strange as it may sound..there is so much to know, so much to learn. Your passion to learn new culture is amazing.

Sarah Siegel said...

You should see our 17-year-old nephew Zach: He's a great sitar player and loves Karnatic music above all; he came to this on his own, since before I went to India, or even knew I'd be there.

I'm accidentally curious, i.e., typically, I find myself in a new culture and am interested in learning about it accordingly, rather than that I am proactively seeking to learn about a new culture.