Mark and Sheri Grashow, my oldest friends, live in Brooklyn, New York. Mark's Dad lived and worked here. Mark himself was born and taught school here for 35 years, and his two kids are Brooklyn born and bred. His roots go so deep, in fact, I sometimes imagine them buckling the ground in Prospect Park, just down the block from their brownstone. So, ten years ago, when Mark, Sheri, 13-year-old Alexander and ten-year-old Rachel decided - on what was basically a whim - to pick up and leave Brooklyn for seven months in Bangalore, India, we thought they'd lost their minds. In a world still without email or cheap international calls, they'd be interrupting their careers, cutting themselves off from family and friends, and probably exposing themselves to nineteen diseases and a world-class case of the runs.
Why did they do it? And what does the trip mean to them today, ten years after they returned? I went to see the Grashows recently to find out. As in the movie "Rashomon," I had them each tell me the story of the trip in private, from their own point of view. Call it "Grashow-mon," a picture of four different Indias experienced by a single family living abroad.