Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dinner in Gurgaon with relatives

After our lunch excursion to the mall we came back to the Ahuja Residency and got some rest. While the meds I'm on make me wired it was at least nice to rest for the rest of the afternoon. Yesterday I made arrangements with Rajat. His father is my father's uncle but to keep things simple (and simply because I don't know) I'll just call Rajat my cousin. He lives here in Gurgaon with his beautiful wife Shalimi and their 18 month old son. I met them two weekends ago at my uncle's house in Ghaziabad.

Anyway, Rajat and I made plans yesterday to get together for dinner tonight since we're not that far from his house. I agreed to the plans because I knew mom and Steve would go but I was unsure about me, I was still feeling pretty rough. Early evening I felt rested and after looking at the menu online of where we were going I just couldn't miss dinner. Rajat even was kind enough to make our taxi reservations. Taxis, let's talk about that for a short minute. No wait, let's not. I typed it up and it's too long. I'll save it for a separate post.

Our taxi showed up on time and took us 30 minutes across town to the Anval Plaza. The trip was amazing in the busy night with tall modern buildings all around us lit up in a multitude of neon lights trying to get your attention. It was a nice distraction for the eyes because if watching the traffic and the way they drive here you'll understand why my step father thinks it's a good idea to wear diapers if you're sitting in the front seat. For all my friends that have ridden taxis, buses and whatever else through central and south America then you know how the driving can be, but all you have experienced has nothing on India. This is a whole new level here. For those that don't know what I'm talking about I'll write it up in the future but better yet I'll have to take a video. Consider riding in a taxi in New Delhi an adventure sport, something more rushing than any roller coaster you've been on. Indescribable.

Fortunately we made it to the plaza right on time and no one had to change their pants. My cousin Rajat was outside waiting for us and he took us up to the sixth floor to the restaurant Pind Balluchi. A very nice and upscale restaurant. I know, you're thinking eating in the mall, what are these guys thinking of. The malls here actually have very high end dining options and it provides for a clean air environment, so yes, we're eating at the mall again.

Inside we saw Shalini who is Rajat's wife, and then met Rajat's sister Sakshi and her husband Ravish. What a group. Great cousins, great conversations, great food, lots of laughter, lots of fun. I really can't say much about the food because while it was all delicious it's hard to remember what I ate because I was more involved with the conversations than what I was eating. I will say that cheese curd appetizer, mutton curry and chicken tikka masala were all good, but the chicken soup was the best. For such great food and a lot of it I was surprised to find the bill to be only $55 for six of us. I know.

Shalini wants to take me shopping for my souvenirs in the markets before I leave India. Sakshi is going to help me find nice affordable accommodations as I have every intention of making Gurgaon my home base during my stay in India. And Ravish is a part time tour business operator and want to help with any planning needs that I have. I'm feeling very special tonight knowing I have such great family on this side of the world, and in knowing that I have a support team to help me out if I need it.

The trip back to the hotel was uneventful, traffic was better and still we all had clean pants when we retired for the night. We have to be up early in the morning. The taxi is picking us up at 730am to take us to the domestic airport for our 9:30 flight south to Bangalore. From here on out I have no idea where or when we'll have internet access. Some hotels I suspect won't be a problem. The game reserve we're going to later in the week will probably be offline for us.

(left to right) Shalini, Rajat, Sakshi, Steve, Mom and Ravish

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