Indian Things I Love [en]

I’m regularly told that I give a bad image of India (the horror stories and all that). Here is some of the nice stuff that I never write about. Things I like about India.

I’m regularly told that I give a bad image of India (the horror stories and all that). Here is some of the nice stuff that I never write about. Things I like about India:

  • the rivers
  • poha
  • riding on the back of Madhav or Shinde’s bikes
  • the shopping stalls near Laxmi Rd
  • walking in the university campus
  • going to the movies
  • mad shopping binges
  • kathi rolls and kheer kadam from Radhika’s
  • chay
  • the smell of incense and fresh coriander
  • people who smile at me or compliment my dress
  • rickshaw drivers who go by the meter
  • chatting with people on the train
  • coloured clothes and cloth
  • travelling by train
  • shopping
  • changes of plans and surprises when they go the way I want them to
  • painted signs and boards
  • rangoli
  • sari bags
  • krack cream
  • the dampness of the air on arrival in Bombay airport
  • kulfi and gulab jamun
  • butter naan and butter chicken
  • the warmth
  • having all the time in the world to take my bath and eat my breakfast
  • glass bangles and silver anklets
  • reading for days on end
  • children in school uniforms
  • eating on the kitchen floor
  • the cup of tea offered by the internet café manager because I’m waiting for the end of the power outage
  • Hindi and Indian English
  • negociating seating arrangements and luggage storage with fellow train-passengers
  • sticking 46 large stamps on the 6.5kg book parcel I’m sending home
  • the Kal Ho Na Ho ringtone on Anita’s cellphone
  • sweet-smelling flowers in the night
  • Hindi music in the car
  • chay with milk straight out of the goat’s udder at Taramai’s

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From Pune to Alleppey [en]

Leaving Pune, travelling to Alleppey and a few words about the resort we are staying in.

Leaving Pune was hard, just as the last times. I was sad to leave the town and the people I love, sad to leave without knowing when I will see them again.

Anita had spent a day in Pune, so we travelled back to Bombay together, which was nice. We went to Bandra to see if I could find nice silvery glittery sandals for my size 41 feet. I gave up, to no surprise — shoes that size aren’t really to be found, especially when the foot they must fit is also wide and high.

For dinner, we had what is probably the best Thai food I have ever eaten. I don’t have a great experience of Thai food, true, but in any case, I’m certainly going back to this place next week before flying back home.

We got on our train the next day after an excruciatingly long rickshaw ride to the station. I was prepared to repeat the Chennai feat of last-minute train-catching, but fortunately it proved unnecessary to excercise ourselves in such a manner.

We travelled in the company of a nice young man named Sharath, who was going to meet his family after two years and a half. We ate surprisingly good train food (including two halves of a chicken — the prices must have dropped for a reason you can certainly imagine), feasted on cashew nuts, raisins and almonds, and shot whacky videos with the digicam. I even jumped out during one station-stop to clean the outside of our windows so that we could film the scenery from inside.

We arrived in Alleppey half an hour late, which is pretty good as far as Indian trains go. As promised, somebody was there to pick us up, and we made it to the resort and into our room without a hitch. The resort looks brand new to me, though it is probably a few years old. Room and bathroom are squeaky clean and equipped with a mosquito net, the latest water-squirting technology instead of the normal tap for the toilets, and a couple of frogs on the veranda to help keep the local bug population under control.

We had booked a 3 day/2 nights package with the resort. Although the resort is nice enough in itself, the package organisation left us a little unsatisfied. We had to fight and insist a little to squeeze into our day and two halves here all the promised items of the package (canoing, water-boat backwater, cruise, village trek, ayurvedic massage, temple visit, etc.). Actually, it seems this resort is mainly populated by a lot of foreigners, most of them middle-aged, who spend a lot of their time sitting around in chairs. Based on the list of “Daily Entertainments” hanging outside the office door, I guess many people settle down here for some time to relax, get ayurvedic massages, take a few yoga classes and cruise around a bit every now and again.

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Safe in India [en]

I have arrived safely in India. More news later.

Just a note to tell everybody that I have safely arrived in India. I’ll be taking a coach to Pune this afternoon. Expect more news in a few days, including my cellphone number!

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Preparing for Departure [en]

Leaving in a week to spend a month in India.

In a week from now I’ll be on my plane to India. A bit apprehensive, as I was last time.

As always with unpredictable India, I have no idea how much I’ll be posting from there, and how often I’ll get to check my e-mail. It might be pretty often. It might be every couple of days. It might be once a week.

I’ll be staying over there for four weeks (Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, in particular), and finally meeting Anita, who courageously volunteered to come and pick me up at the airport.

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Googling Them [en]

Two online articles I found via Google, which mention Somak (and Aleika).

A little net-search brought up two interesting articles: one is about Somak and Aleika’s departure for Birmingham, and the other is an account of a talk I can remember him going to England for.

For the record, Somak and Aleika (let’s not forget Akirno!) are the people who shared my life while I was in India.

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