Prabha Gutheti and Kerri Feazell

Recorded December 10, 2011 Archived December 10, 2011 38:56 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby008709


Prabha V. Gutheti (71) talks with her friend, Kerri Feazell (31), about the Los Angeles Term Program, religion and life lessons she's gathered along the way.

Subject Log / Time Code

PG felt fear and excitement when she arrived in the United States.
PG was 28 when she came to the United States from India. PG live in a village in India where she was sheltered. PG describes it as living in a compound.
KF describes what the Los Angeles Term Program is. KF was one of the girls that stayed in PG's home under this program.
PG describes the openness her mother had for other religions and how that influenced her.
One of the greatest influences in PG's life was her grandmother. She taught PG kindness, compassion, sharing, patience, and acceptance.
KF describes what i was like to live with PG.
KF talks about her trip to India and PG's words which helped her stay positive during a difficult trip.


  • Prabha Gutheti
  • Kerri Feazell

Recording Location

Los Angeles County Museum of Art


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00:03 My name is Keri fezell. I'm 31 years old and today is December 10th, 2011. We are in Los Angeles, California, and I'm here with my friend mentor and my Indian mom probably.

00:17 My name is probably a good thing. I'm 71 years old. Today is December 10th 2011 in Los Angeles, California and I am with Carrie who's one of my favorite people.

00:32 You are one of my favorite people as well. I was actually thinking about the moment when I came to LA to live with you and it was something that sticks in my mind as funny was a shopping cart. You came to help me and I thought this must be what people do when they have shopping carts and they moved and so I had this moment. I'm just you really defining what La is for me coming from New Hampshire and you were just for so kind and very helpful and made me feel at ease and I just wanted to ask you about some of your experiences coming to the you last and what was what's a moment where you thought this is this is what it must be like living in the US.

01:27 I when I arrive in the US 7 LAX was so huge for me. It's like I couldn't put anything together.

01:36 And then when I go to on the freeway and I saw all those cars moving so fast and I was like, oh my God how you do this people through it, but everything was so modern and new and exciting and it was feared in my excitement and there was excitement in my fear.

02:01 And I'd really been only three hundred miles away from home till then.

02:07 I taken the flight but only with $300 and then coming, you know, they're totally different continent was scary, but I think anyway, I didn't know enough to be scared.

02:21 I had no idea what I was going to do, but it was going to go but I didn't think about it.

02:27 If I had to do that today, I wouldn't do it. So you're naive naivety sort of kept you if your lists in a way yes or no sew my ignorance was Bliss.

02:43 How do you think if you were to do something like that now having had that experience and know that being Fearless baby was a risk?

02:54 I think when you're young you can do that, but when you're older, I think you know a little bit more and you know, all the Epson device and why not so I can get us some inhibition please for me. Now. I'm more inhibited then I was when I was younger, but because I didn't know enough to be afraid to be inhibited. I just thought everything would just buck and a bit do you think that's positive or negative? It's both because you could get yourself into a whole lot of trouble by being so naive but being so naive also open doors for me how naive I bought 7 more helpful.

03:44 But maybe it was a different world.

03:51 I was 28.

03:55 I was 28, but I had lived a very protected life. I left like almost in a compound about growing up. It was very little contact with the outside world. I mean to be so people, but there wasn't that link. Maybe just dropped off at school and pick up.

04:19 And they came home and we stayed home. Where were you so protected that's the way it was those days for our kind of families and my father was hardly in town. He would travel like sweet cheeks in a month and it was just my mom and we had also moved from one state to another state so that was different to

04:44 And daveed life was at least in that little town. It's not even a town.

04:50 It was a village with the cement production company. So all that you saw was people who over today.

05:00 And there was kind of an higher Rocky 2.

05:03 To be never got to go to visit a friend.

05:08 The friends always visited us

05:12 So I didn't know how I'd the people left. What was your first experience where you really thought? This is how someone else lives.

05:23 I was a little sharks thinking all this is what I didn't know.

05:30 And it's selling scary to because you don't know at the same time. You're so naive. You don't know enough to be scared. I don't know how to explain it. It's kind of a mix of both. So to this day, I think in a lot of ways I am naive.

05:47 I don't connect things and people tell me you don't know that I said no because I didn't experience it.

05:54 I was protected and then I went to college but I was protected goes the college bus would come as pick us up from the dorm. Take us to college and classes for down. They bring you back home.

06:10 And there was a curfew of 6 in the evening.

06:14 And we never went anywhere after sex if she wants to go out some but you had to get permission and somebody had to come and pick you up and drop you off.

06:24 So then from that kind of an environment to come here, it was like shock and awe.

06:32 Yeah, what are some what are some of the things that with the moment you felt that I guess or did you feel like you wanted to restrict yourself when you came here and you wanted to sort of follow the same rules in a way.

06:49 I think I still do follow some of those shoes, you know, you've lived with me how old-fashioned I can be.

06:59 And to be respect and to God and kindness and compassion those things are very important to this day.

07:11 So I think I still live by those rules. I do try to adapt but I know I do fall back into my old pattern, but I think I do because

07:23 I appreciate that. There is some Norms that are some principles that are rules.

07:33 But they're not restricting once they're not now restricting for me, but there's a pattern to life and the pattern has worked well for me.

07:43 So sometimes when I tell you I love you young girls who go to my house.

07:50 Picture look at me. I'm sure you do. Look at me like she come from

07:55 Can I just come from baby? I don't know where I come from, but it's too far away for you guys to even understand a very simple thing. I was telling you today, you know Avenue Fantasy Girls Tell me.

08:10 Read when you are in somebody's house. You have to be a certain way. I should know. You have to be the same day in your house, too.

08:18 When to tell your mom when you're leaving, so I don't have to I said, how would you like it if your mom just left it and tell you she was going somewhere I shouldn't come back for hours.

08:29 It's the same thing that you would do worry about you. So it's not a question of someone curbing your Independence.

08:41 It is the regard and respect that you have for the other person.

08:48 And we all in this world together. None of us is an island.

08:56 I don't know but I'm going with this. Will you do it just makes me think you do have particular ways that you expect yourself to be and you expect other people to be but you also invite people who are very different from you into your home and to live with you. So what what kind of I guess what what motivates you to do that? I mean you I think in your mind, maybe you're a little bit set in your ways or have particular things, but but you invite challenges to that all the time with many girls coming to live with you guys coming to my house. It is interesting fascinating challenging. It's all those things and I probably had like 30 girls sleep with me up.

09:42 So it's a series of experiences.

09:48 And it's like a dance.

09:51 And each time it's like a different dance a different team and a different beat, but it's still a dance.

10:01 And it takes me a little while to get into the rhythm of it. And then I try to get the girls instead of them off at 2 cuz I'm sure I've told you to you don't have to agree with everything I tell you.

10:15 But if you respect me enough and do as I asked you to

10:21 It will fall into place for you because this piece of information I'm giving you now will connect with an incident in your life sometime in the future. I've been this to connect then you have an aha moment.

10:36 That is when you will have value for what I'm saying.

10:41 Right now is not that it's value less, but it doesn't mean as much.

10:47 But later this will have value and then it's wonderful that you can tell somebody something without a command Adam and then that an expectation this it's a piece of information and that piece of information becomes knowledge to you when you have your aha moment.

11:21 And that happens to all of us by the V agree with it or not. It does happen. But sometimes it takes ever so long but it does happen and Sleep Centers a lot of positive experiences actually keeps me, you know, I don't have children, but I have 300 of you.

11:43 It kind of keeps me with the times, but I'm always behind times and I called you three times a day. Thank Harry. I don't know how to do this.

11:53 Come fix it for me. So it's been a very very meaningful 10 11 years in my life, but I've had students in my house before you guys came along to

12:09 Tell me about that. I didn't know that I've had my nieces and nephews live with me and I'll put people through school hair and people through school in India have always had students in my life.

12:25 And it's wonderful to see all of you girl complete school. Graduate find your jobs find your spouse's.

12:36 Settle down but the most wonderful parties and you've come back.

12:42 And you know my dad come back.

12:45 I can always rely on you to come back.

12:49 So I'm I'm curious to know if it's if it's a program or or how is it that girls come and stay in your home. Would you like to explain that I can start at least you can Helen it's a program called l a term and it's a actually kind of an interesting point you made about growing up very sheltered. I think program of of college students Evangelical Christian college students who usually grow up pretty sheltered lots of suburban white kids who are coming to La for the first time and living with families who are a different culture from them and really an immersive experience in Los Angeles. So for me, it was very I confronted a lot of things that were very different it took me outside of a lot of my comfort zone and made me question a lot of things that

13:49 I thought were true and really gave me an experience that that made me start to question everything in my life. But in a way that was safe, and I knew that that you were someone who was a different face than me, but still a normal person. You still are a faithful person and that was really amazing for me being having had evengelical Christian girls.

14:20 Wasn't that different for me in a vape? Because I went to school in India which they call a Convent a Convent is a school run by missionaries and nuns and all girls. So I was familiar with Christianity.

14:41 And my mother and my grandmother actually the whole family is very open to all religions.

14:49 I've told you this before that getting Alvin Simon Says I Am tolerant of other religions.

14:56 It kind of stings me as I think who are we to be taller than that of anyone we have to be accepting. We have to Live and Let Live you believe in what you believe in and I need to respect that and I believe in what I believe in and it would be good if you suspected that two

15:19 Cuz it's just one world. We all live in it. We make adjustments. Give a little we get a little.

15:27 And I think religions and you know when you are doing the semester.

15:34 You have a class on religion and you'd pick up credit United with a number of students have done Hinduism and Hinduism.

15:44 Is a very accepting religion. It doesn't go out there from what I know to convert anyone to change anyone to impose Hinduism on anyone cuz it really is not a religion.

16:00 Hinduism is a video of life.

16:04 Which has it has its principles.

16:07 And the hint principles and Hinduism are no different than the Commandments.

16:14 What religions will tell you you can go camp?

16:18 Unless you're interpreting at your convenience. And you said you are evil and I'm going to kill you, but that's not any religion that will teach you.

16:28 If you look at the Legends very objectively principles for the other principles or Commandments or Aveo 5.

16:43 And if you can accept that.

16:47 No religion will seem different to you.

16:50 And my mother told you no talk I said all religions have equal. Nobody is better or no Breeze worse than anyone story.

17:00 My sister and I and I would like to have Pat Weaver left like maybe 8. So my mom is getting ready. She said you two girls go get ready to go to the Tampa office at talkin. I can understand why she can't send it to the church. She's listed all the same.

17:20 So we go and tell Mom but if you're going to the temple, can we go to church? She says go get ready, get ready to get in the car. She gets off at the Tampa and it does it take the two girls to church by the Makanda Leach lighted for that. Let them do whatever they want to do in church and bring it back. So we go to church. He lights a candle. We need a resale Father Who Art in Heaven and do the sign of the cross and go for the holy water and everything.

17:53 We came back and Mom said okay, let's go home. That was the end of any argument with my mother. She put it to rest once and for all.

18:03 Yes, she did follow through with what she was saying. Yeah, and so even my mom's no more back when she was alive. Anytime you go to India showtimes want to go to church you can have the driver take you to church. It's close by.

18:23 So what do you think? She said that because she even raised in the missionary school and said that was such a part of us and you really didn't go to a mosque.

18:38 The only other place you could go to verse of another religion was a church Buddhism has temples and there is Buddhism and Hinduism are so close to each other and damn. It really is a branch of Hinduism. But Christianity was the one that was a little different dad.

18:58 But it was a comfort zone.

19:02 And it was okay with that.

19:07 And I remember my grandmother initially. She thought the Christianity was something that's a good thing. But every day of is come back from school and you have to have a shower first before you got into the house.

19:23 Severe nausea with her you can send us to a Christian School for education.

19:30 But we have to come home and have a shower.

19:35 She talked about it and she said yeah you don't have to anymore.

19:41 It just said she didn't know but she was so willing to accept.

19:49 It seems that you have you from a very young age you really you challenged your own family on religion. I don't know if I send because I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't dare challenge my mom. And if not, I don't understand. Why not.

20:20 Yeah, do you think you

20:23 Are there any of the students who've stayed with you? What kind of attitudes have they had with you with religion or is there anything that stands out specifically some of them a very staunch Christians?

20:40 I left.

20:41 Is it okay if you believe in what you believe in, but you don't disregard what somebody else believes in that's fine.

20:52 And when they do try to tell me about all the wonderful things about Christianity, I told him I quit you have no argument.

21:06 I thought it wasn't allowed to have wonderful things. It's sad that you haven't been exposed to it. Just rest my case advance and for me, it was really it was a safe place to explore things that I had been told her. Just you don't go there. It's too scary. It's completely different but really knowing you really helped me understand that the similarities of people and just to not be afraid of where I guess goes back to a naivety that but that naivety for me was fear-based.

21:44 Fear comes from

21:49 Either ignorance

21:51 If you want to call it take nits in Chickasha daily fear of the unknown.

21:59 Once you get to know it, then you get an understanding of it.

22:05 And then there's nothing to fear.

22:09 Yeah, it's beautiful. And also there's no reason to challenge anything.

22:16 Because Chad and sometimes becomes like you against me.

22:21 It's just my lack of understanding.

22:26 And I'd like to understand so I'd like for the other person to help me understand for the test since I don't know and you seem to know could you help me?

22:38 Instead of disregarding what you know and what you are.

22:44 And it has got to be to be a mutual thing between you and I

22:50 And it's only when you have that mutual respect for each other. I think we make progress.

22:59 Yes, and I've enjoyed many words of wisdom from you. So can you tell me who is who is your brother? Who is the person who inspired you and and taught you to mean I was an example for you to get the V.

23:20 It's my grandmother.

23:27 Okay.

23:34 Tell maybe I was six or seven.

23:38 And I learned a lot.

23:42 She taught me kindness compassion.

23:47 And she said never call yourself ignorant. You just haven't had the opportunity to learn that yet. So that makes it easier on you. So I hear the word ignorant. I just feel that I don't know you want to label it. That's that's that's fine. But in my mind, I just don't know and I'm willing to learn so I exchange coins me a lot and prevent shave before we go. She would prepare me. She's going to somebody's house now and they're very affluent.

24:31 So that is sudden kind of behavior.

24:35 And then then she would take me to and she would definitely take me to very not applicant people's harm is because she always did the comparison for me.

24:46 And then when she would take me to that how she said you have to be extra nice.

24:51 Can't say anything that would hurt them.

24:55 That you've want to leave in a manner that that brought you back.

25:01 The very fact she told me that somebody would want you to come back made an impression.

25:09 And she taught me how to share.

25:13 Whatever you have. She says see who you can give a part of it, too.

25:19 It doesn't have to be all about you.

25:23 If everybody thought all about me, she says what a selfish worded words would be

25:31 She said this great joy and giving sisters Greater Joy and giving than receiving. Jesus. Try giving somebody a gift and just look at the smile on their face that big but

25:45 Cuz you remember that much longer than the gift. Somebody gave you usually your smile and it's over.

25:53 But that's the joy you want to get and to be able to give that Jesus is a gift in it.

25:59 So I learned a lot from my grandmother.

26:03 Patience

26:05 Acceptance

26:08 What are some big gifts you remember that people have given you?

26:13 I think all you guys passing through my house is a crate gift.

26:23 I'm almost said don't worry. You don't have kids if you have kids. It's only one of the people you share your life with you don't you can give a lot more.

26:37 How many kids have touched my life?

26:42 And still do

26:45 It's a new experience with each of our nephew.

26:50 And it is a wonderful experience sometimes challenging but what would life be without a challenge because it does not challenge than there is no question of a victory again and understanding and achievement.

27:10 You couldn't do about the doctor yet.

27:13 So having all of you has been a great catch even though I seem to bark all the time. I'd enjoy every one of you. Life is the good bad and indifferent the good friend be so good if I had the bad and they different it makes it more cute or positive Mike's beverage.

27:43 Was there a time in your life where you were sad that you didn't have kids of your own?

27:51 I think my mom killed me of that.

27:54 Sounds like it. Yeah, she can't dance that. She's at so what she says everybody in this world can have kids. You're the one who's going to do more stuff without the kids and everything around for me. So excited.

28:13 Who told me about some of the things that that because you didn't have kids you are able to do.

28:19 Because I didn't have kids I was able to have more youngsters go to school.

28:27 I was able to share more of what level I know with a greater number of people cuz I had the time.

28:37 Not always is everything received file, but that's okay.

28:43 Everything can be a win.

28:48 I've had the opportunity to have all of you girls.

28:52 And I learned from everyone of you.

28:56 And then and sometimes it doesn't go the way I think it should I tell myself but by my kid, what would I do?

29:05 I don't know what I would do, but I do it anyway.

29:15 And I'm looking forward to my next yoga's.

29:19 So you talked about your mom really teaching you to to turn things around. Is there an experience you can think of where you really felt? Like? I don't know if I can turn this around.

29:33 As far as the children situation was I never felt that way.

29:39 Or somewhere where you really felt proud of yourself for turning something around.

29:45 I was worried.

29:47 I actually very very happy when I was working. I was with the developmentally disabled.

29:58 And that was a very gratifying thing to see.

30:03 How you could say what difficult situations is parents and children come from and that you could do whatever to help that to ease their pain and I would call my mom and I will talk to her about to get your sexy. I told you there was a purpose in your life.

30:22 You may not happen to that had to had children. You may have had to give all your time to your kids now you are able to do that.

30:31 And even all my nieces and nephews most of them and I wouldn't have been able to spend that kind of time and my mom never forgot to remind me. See they call you and you have the time to capture this how fortunate.

30:50 Time is something you can buy. It just have the gift of it.

30:55 What do you think you would be doing? If if the LA term experience wasn't part of your life. I would probably I mean I still doing now volunteer more.

31:08 More in a hospital, even though it is not direct patient related and that probably more with the homeless.

31:19 It would probably wrench my heart, but I would still do it.

31:25 And more at the library that I am involved in and I definitely play Masha. So you just wondering more of what you already left.

31:42 Let me ask you so yeah how has staying with me and knowing me?

31:52 And anything in your life for you?

31:55 It's done a lot. Definitely. I mean really?

32:00 Billy the openness and the you know, what we talked about before just really being able to to understand and to not be naive anymore or not be just something I didn't know it was as you said where I thought I knew a lot. I thought I I thought I knew Lots about religion in about God and you are very safe person to observe and to realize that probably actually knows a lot more than me and really I don't know a lot of and in conjunction with all the other experience. I was having an early term really just I remember writing in my journal that I felt like it was peeling away their layers of an onion or one of those Russian dolls and just really trying to get to the core of

32:49 Meaning of God and just kept feeling that away but feeling like there was an anchor like there was a core there's something there. It's not just going to be empty and nothing and I think just realizing for me that even if I feel so much away and it becomes so different prabhas very different from me, but it's okay if I become so different she is a grounded person. She's very wise and not I think just really took away a lot of the fear for me and him being different and asking questions.

33:27 I don't know how everybody feels but in my life at every stage in my life. I have felt that is so much more to know.

33:38 And how little I know.

33:41 As they say

33:45 I forget exactly how it is said.

33:49 It's like when you know how little you know.

33:53 And how much more there is to know that is the beginning of knowledge.

34:01 So I still have a lot to learn. I learned something everyday and before I go to bed every night at helmet, I bought it at lunch today. And where did I mess up?

34:13 Our do I need to be grateful for but sometimes we think we know.

34:19 But if you really question yourself you realize how much more there is to know and that's a good place to be.

34:28 Because you're constantly striving to know more and remember what you gather is information. But in my mind when I shared that information that is meant to me it becomes knowledge.

34:47 Yeah, I see that in your very humble and just even thinking this Hindu lady is a lot like Jesus have then maybe other people in the church. It really was really significant for me to see that in you but you made it possible for me to have the other cats.

35:12 And my experience was with you was really wonderful, but when I met you, I was married.

35:27 Thank you. I was due.

35:30 We've grown together.

35:32 A big lunch together with shared shared with each other

35:37 And I love sharing a meal together wonderful time and you called me. I told him I said, okay, Carrie and I are going to eat together today.

35:50 So don't ever feel you're coming just for the meat, you know, you're never coming for the maze. You're coming to share a meal with me your time.

36:01 And a joy I get from seeing you and being with you.

36:05 Sometimes maybe I am overbearing.

36:09 I do try not to be potential I am I could be obnoxious sometimes.

36:18 No, I know it's you always do you want to share because you want people to be better?

36:25 It could be so selfish. I'm not saying you want the world to be a better place each day than the day before so we all get to live in a better place.

36:40 It's just as easy to make it a better place, then it is not make it a better place.

36:48 So just striving every day's a wonderful thing and looking at all of us as one.

36:56 But the million faces maybe seven billion faces, but in a manner of speaking We Are All One

37:05 It the thread of Life running through all of us with all of our differences and all of her coming out of this. That's what makes

37:17 And at this wonderful

37:21 Another thing I'll never forget is when I was in India and having a family that's good as you and you called me and said now, you know why I'm not there and it made me feel so much better and like I didn't have to be endlessly Brave that maybe it was a difficult thing to go there by myself. And I think you were very brave to go by yourself and I was so proud when you and I went through the whole semester and came back with such a different experience that you couldn't even have imagined.

38:11 And you could have some that.

38:14 And I think now you're more accepting of a lot of other things because of that experience without that. Maybe it would have taken you longer. I don't know. I'm just assuming longer to get to where you are today, but every little experience brings us closer to being what we would like to be at my place and that helps you a great deal. I think we'll thank you for prompting that ability to be willing to accept that kind of experience. Thank you so much. Thank you for being in my life. Thank you.