Read in its original presentation on Masslive.com.
She left a New England winter in 2008 hoping to be transformed by a study-abroad experience in India. By Spring, the village dogs of Auroville stopped barking at her and drowsily accepted the blond woman swerving into town on her bicycle; local women smiled at her rushed American mannerisms. Children stained her T-shirts after weeks of nuzzling into her with hair combed with coconut oil, and one day at their day care, after months of yelling “Aka! Aka! Aka!” or older sister, they circled her as their teachers helped Katie Sherman ink “Kamali” in her notebook.
Some in Auroville called her, “Katie,” still. Over eight weeks, whenever she sat with her group members in a grass-thatched hut for lessons in sustainability and green living, it would eventually be “Katie’s” turn to share. She lived as Katie, Aka and Kamali interchangeably from Sunday to Saturday. But when her father, Charles Sherman, came from the states for her body and stood at the memorial service dedicated to Katie by Living Routes on March 24 in 2008, he said “Katherine” over and over and over.