Delhiites don't mind you staring at them.
DH and I take full advantage of this.
We speculate on the lives of the people around us
I also eavesdrop ( in the west, people use unkind words like snooping. But in the east, a natural curiosity in other is seen as very natural. This is NOT a complete boon though as you need to get used to all sorts of personal questions being asked.)
There is a hefty girl next to us who is chatting on her mobile phone about her recent movie experience.
She was so disappointed by the latest Shahrukh khan movie that she simply walked out.
I think she is trying to show her friend how refined her tastes are.
Ahead of us a man is bargaining on his mobile phone for a contract for apparel - he is tense and sweating and I think he is nervous that he wont get it.
There is a couple with their son - the lady looks so grumpy but her face transforms when she looks at her son.
But she and her husband are so loving to their little boy - he is constantly hugged and kissed ( a thing I love about the east is how demonstrative dads can be to their children . My own father would play with us with our dolls and be an honored guest to our tea parties for hours on end )
Apart from meeting my family I think the highlight of my trip is a visit to Chandni Chowk ( translating to moonlit square )
If you have any sense of atmosphere this market will give you the goosebumps
I hunt for pretty scarves and saris
This lane is called Kinari Bazaar- "Lane of Borders"( for the women of India would wear plain saris the border of which were elaborate with silver and gold thread and they sewed these on )
Some of these shops are a hundred years old .
I am ensconced in thrilling thoughts the ancient women who have been in these very streets before me - all looking for something to make themselves look lovely
The streets are so narrow - for when these shops and market was built, the only way to travel was by horse or little carts or your feet
This market, I often tell DH is the most romantic place on earth
( the other romantic places to me are Bhopal - so serene and of course Paris.- to me its just amazing that a place like Paris lives upto its reputation. How cosmopolitan I sound !
The Paris trip was pure good fortune- DH and I were once lucky enough to be stranded in Paris by shenanigans of the airlines and had a lovely time there )
Every time DH holds my hand in Chandni Chowk ( for practical reasons like crossing the roads - for PDA in Old India is considered uncouth) my heart skips a beat
The thing about Delhii even Old Delhi - is that not that time forgot it.
While some of Delhi has abandoned its past - most of it straddles the past and the current effortlessly
Infact, all the shopkeepers sitting in their 100 year old stores with foods made from the same recipes they were made all those years ago - have mobile phones and will often be talking with exporters and such .
My Sari shopkeeper- sitting in a several generation shop - is talking to someone about his daughter who is traveling to London tonight and that the person on the phone ( who has "contacts" at the airlines) should please make sure that the folks at British Airways dont create trouble over her bags ( India runs on contacts !- You always need to have a guy or know someone who knows a guy). In this way he straddles the century effortlessly
While all the old markets of Delhi are fascinating -
you will come across things like a professional ear cleaner ( really !!)
And Shops with their menus written with incredible spellings
or a restaurant that only serves one meal ( comprising about 18 side dishes )
But Chandni Chowk is its own thing
DH eats a little desert which is famous here called Daulat ki chaat - two of the ingredients of this ancient recipe are dewdrops and the full moon
Truly its taste is like poetry.
All the shops are specialty shops
I buy silver and pretty little things and trinkets for my friends back in the South
By the time we return - its lunch time - we grab a quick lunch and then DH and I are off on our separate ways
I go to meet my friend who in now a famous designer and makes the most exquisite clothes you can imagine
I have come armed with all the gadgets and R's specific foods ( for his refusal to eat anything outside has been a huge stress to me _
Her label is much sought after now but she is the same to me as she always
She talks about the difficulties in making large amounts of clothes for what is essentially handmade stuff ( you can see the contradiction there )
We catch up on everything that has been going on with our lives
The Gramps pick me up from my friend and we battle traffic to have dinner at the famous Delhi Gymkhana Club
Another 100 year club - they are renowned for their chicken tikka and their kebabs and pomegranate juice and for old money and influential bureaucrats
We feast on a fantastic meal and drive back home
DH has come in a separate car and so we part ways and he will spend the night in his friends' apartment
I am sad to see him go even though I know I will see him the next day .
But I console myself with knowing that he will be able to connect with his friends better without thinking of R's bedtime and such
And the day is done
I write this post sitting in the dining room of our cabin.
Surrounded by nothing but trees and the lights of the cabin on the nearby hill.
Its past midnight but DH is still tinkering away at a house project in the bath upstairs and the occasional sounds of him dropping a nail or something are the only sounds around me
Its so quiet here
But while describing this day to you through this pictures I feel like I am back in that other place of bright colors, loud sounds and crowds and ancient things
Such is the beauty of journaling.
I will add a few more pictures tomorrow .
Good night ! I hope you enjoy reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it