Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What day is it?

I have no idea what day it is anymore, things have been happening fast and it seems like the days are getting away from me. The computer says it's Wednesday, I have to trust it.

Yesterday I went to my cousin Rakesh's condo. It's on the 18th floor of a 20 floor building. Only the weathiest of people live in this very large and private community. After passing through numerous security check points and realizing that I was indeed an invited guest I finally arrived to my cousin's place. This particular day was for immediate family members and I was invited to join, it was also an opportunity for me to meet some other relatives. After being greeted by Rakesh I finally met his wife and their daughter Sivi who is getting married on Friday night. I also met Rakesh's brother Rajiv, he's a prominent doctor in Mumbai and is the director of a cancer research center. He also does studies on identical twins researching genetics and environmental differences/similarities, especially in twins that are not close and who do not see each other often. I met Rajiv's wife and his two boys Rojan and Tarang. Tarang will be graduating next year from high school and has decided to travel the world for a year or two before going to college. Hopefully he'll take me up on my offer to visit me on my sailboat. I also met Seema and Neena who are both sisters of Rajiv and Rakesh.

And I met my aunt, she is Rakesh and Rajiv's mother, the wife of my father's eldest brother. In India my aunt (if she's the wife of my father's older brother) is call Thiaji, and I called her as such.  We had such a wonderful visit and it was fun to hear all sorts of stories from way back when. How when my mother first arrived everyone was scared of her. How my mother lived in India for two years, and just a bunch of other neat stuff. Rajiv and I had a lot to talk about and got along great and his two boys were very interested in my sailing life.

Lunch brought back a lot of memories from when I was in India as a child. I was invited to the dinner table where 12 plates were set and a feast laid out. I was thinking that there was nowhere near enough plates for the amount of people in the house but after being asked to sit I realized why. In traditional Indian fashion all the men sat at the table and were served a meal by all the women. Once we were done eating the women took their place at the table to eat their lunch. Everyone ate with their hands, the traditional way. I was the only one given silverware, which I didn't use. Everyone was amused when I spoke Hindi, I really was trying to make a sincere attempt to be a good Indian boy but everyone laughed at me. I'll continue to try though.

Last night my mother and her husband Steve arrived. I went to the airport and met them when they walked out. Our driver took us back to the apartment where they quickly got settled in and went to bed. A 14 hour flight is pretty hard on a person.

This morning I had to make coffee and messed it up, I forgot to put the basket back in the coffee maker so instead of going into the pot the brewed coffee went all over the counter. I would not make a good house boy. I cleaned up the mess and did it right the next time so we all enjoyed a nice cup of coffee. After coffee and toast (I didn't mess that up because mom made the toast) we went for a walk and got some fresh oranges and guavas.  My Thiaji, Rajiv and Seema came to visit us all at the apartment. It was really nice and touching. The last time my mother saw my Thiaji was 34 years ago, back in the day they were best friends. It was a short visit of only two hours, but they had to go and return to Rakesh's house and get ready for the pre-wedding ceremonies for tonight.

Starving since all I had was a piece of toast, I called a taxi and too my parents to the mall not too far from here. It's a huge mall, the largest I've ever seen. And it is the most exclusive and expensive mall in Delhi. My nieces would have loved it and all it's glamor. Inside we found some very nice fine dining restaurants but for lunch we didn't need anything special, so we went to the food court. It ended up being an outstanding decision. Steve had the tandori sampler platter which included dal (black lentil soup), lots of naan, tandori chicken, kabobs and mutton I think. Mom had a sample of different chaats (snacks), these were typical street food items but served in a more sanitized environment. My favorite was the rice dough balls drowned in yogurt. The bowl of white was topped with green mint chutney and red tamarind chutney and sprinkles of chaat masala (mixed spices in a powder form commonly used on snacks). I had the Bandi Thali which included dal soup, rice, salad, mutton curry, butter chicken, lots of naan (flat bread) and for dessert galob jamen. This dessert is pure sugar and consists of a  spongy dough ball the size of a golf ball soaked in a sweet syrup and served warm. It's really good! I treated for lunch and after walking around the mall for a while I called our taxi service and we went back to the apartment and called it a day.

Oh, actually we made a stop on the way back. I asked the driver if we could stop to buy beer on the way back so he took us to a government wine and spirits shop. This place was in a very poor neighborhood. Very poor. It's not a place where one would go for any reason, except I guess to buy beer. We stood out like a sore thumb, everyone stared at us as we bought the beer. The taxi driver tried to keep mom in the car, I'm not sure if it's because of the neighborhood or because women don't go to liquor stores.

We're not back at the apartment. And I'm beat. Really we didn't do a lot and it was a fun day to visit. But it wore me out. I hired a car service for tomorrow. A large mini van with a driver for 8 hours is $28, we have a big day planned for tomorrow and will need it for about 10 hours but each additional hour isn't very expensive.

I've decided I could live here. There are poor parts of India, there are also beautiful parts and very exclusive parts. But I'm getting spoiled with having drivers and house boys. Very spoiled. I have a few photos to add to this post but will do it after my nap.

Until tomorrow...


  1. Good thoughts about your guest house boys and about your surroundings. Enjoy time with the family! (please see my comments of your blog dated 14-11-12)


  2. Wow! Damon, what a great adventure. Eat some Indian food for me, your writing makes me hungry!
    Enjoy your time, keep up the blog - I'm reading & vicariously living it every day! THANKS! Cheers - Jan & David