Posted by: janpierce | December 9, 2010

Goodbye Delhi, Hello Bangalore

We said our goodbyes to Rodrick’s household in Delhi and caught our flight to Bangalore two days ago. We nearly missed our connection, but luckily the flight was delayed. We had to walk a l-o-n-g way to our gate but we made it. We left a very cold and smoggy Delhi and landed in much greener and cleaner Bangalore. We didn’t realize the airport is an hour’s drive from the city. It’s a beautiful clean airport as is the new one in Delhi. Just four years ago the Delhi airport looked like a large interrogation room with piles of garbage, assorted broken equipment and the like strewn around. Now it is elegant and clean and beautiful.

We were greeted by Kavita’s parents, Colin and Asha and immediately made to feel at home. We were a little travel weary but enjoyed a dinner with a cousin, an aunt and uncle and the Johns. Their home is just lovely and immaculate. There is a driver and two kitchen servants. They take care of everything we need from mail posting to chai service to laundry and dry cleaning.

The city is much cleaner than the other large Indian cities I’ve visited. There are modern stores mixed in with the usual small shops. The traffic is also more orderly and there are many old schools, churches and administrative buildings left from the English era. The church where Josh and Kavita’s wedding will take place is an old military church building. We’ve visited the church grounds where there is also a school, an old age home run by the church, and also the mission hospital where Asha volunteers her time to administrate all the varied departments. The old age home houses 14 elderly women who were turned out of their homes. Many times the families can’t care for them once they become ill or disabled and then there is no place for them to go. They are all excited about a Christmas party being planned for them. We had a full tour of the mission hospital which is in a Muslim community. Notice we had entry into the baby nursery and there were six or seven newborns including the preemie in the photo. We drove past the Clarence high school where Kavita attended .

We’re eating wonderful Indian food. Notice the rice grinder that used to belong to Asha’s mother. It is used regularly to prepare rice dishes. Yesterday we had dosas, a large pancake thingie which was served on a banana leaf and then you dip it in chutney and peanut chutney. It’s yummy. Last night we had a mutton dish, rice, several vegetable dishes and chapati.

Yesterday we also sat down with the caterer for the wedding reception and they made arrangements for all the parts of the meal. There will be a dosa stand where mini dosas are cooked and served with all sorts of sauces. There have to be main dishes in both veg and non veg varieties. The cake will be a fruit cake which is traditional here. More on wedding things later.

People start arriving tomorrow and will continue to come in for the next two weeks. All the cousins, about twenty of them will be housed in the heart of the student part of the city where all the shops and restaurants are. Us old folks are being housed in a private home with our own servant a short distance from the John’s home. We went to a large amazing supermarket this morning to buy groceries for us when we’re on our own. We’ll eat most of our meals here though.

Skipping back to Delhi for a minute, there is a picture that looks like a tin roof. If you look carefully in the left hand corner you’ll see two little Hindu gods where a nearby family does their daily worship. They are always ugly little things painted in garish colors and it’s so strange to think that people worship them and make sacrifices to them.

I also got a massage from Neetu’s masseusse who is a Hindu lady in their neighborhood. She comes daily to the Gilbert household and gives massage to the baby and others. She gave me a massage last year just before I took that awful fall. I decided to try her again. I had forgotten that part of the massage is done with her feet. I was olive oil from head to toe when she finished. She wanted to massage oil into my hair too, but I nixed that idea. The picture of the elderly woman is Rodrick’s lovely mother.

Later today we move to our separate home where we’ll have peace and quiet when all the guests are here. Lunch is being prepared for us. Asha is shopping for a cage for the rabbits and birds she purchased for her grandchildren to play with while they’re here. Josh and Kavita arrive day after tomorrow. Enjoy the pictures.

        

     

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