Back to


Every thanksgiving my mom makes my family create a gratitude tree for thanksgiving. This involves sticking some particularly branchy sticks into a bowl of rocks and then writing what we are thankful for on paper leaves which we then hang from the branches. It is ridiculously cheesy yet each year we begrudgingly humor my mom’s wishes. Since I’m not at home to participate in this most exciting family tradition I’m going to present you all with a gratitude list to make up for the lack of gratitude trees in Banaras.

I’m grateful for:
– The dogs, cymbals, shouting or honking that I can always count on to wake me up before my alarm goes off
– Not having to worry about putting together an outfit since I just rotate my three sets of Indian clothes
– Yoga with shudhanshu ji for putting a beautiful smile on my face each morning
– The scrumptious chai kamlavati ji makes for breakfast
– The absurd faces Rajendr ji makes at me while I eat
– Peanut the dog who eats my hard boiled egg yolks for me
– Morning check ins that some how manage to take over 45min
– Poop scale 5s
– Taking program house showers and then turning my dupata into creative hair wraps
– Spoonfuls of peanut butter
– Eating an entire box of sweets with binit ji in Hindi class
– The bucolic bovines that are always in my way
– The motor bikes that make me feel like I’m in the game crossy road
– The man at the sweet shop who doesn’t judge me for my frequent visits
– My isp mentor Agam ji, his purple hair and his love of Adele
– The warm caramel apple muffins at open hand cafe
– The old man who runs a paan shop near my house and has started wearing a full on winter jacket to combat the 62 degree weather
– My 9 year old host brother Omesh beating me in memory every night, then forgetting about his victory after 10 min and falling asleep in my lap
– The broken Hindi/English goodnights I share with my host grandmother
I hope this made you feel warm and buttery inside and that everyone has a lovely thanksgiving.
To the Nahirnys, Rachel Nahirny