Saturday, June 25, 2016

Frog's Runny Nose

I knew it would be difficult in the heat with minimal air conditioning and frequent power cuts which render all air conditioners useless.  But since I was going only for ten days, I knew I could handle it.

Paul:  Make sure you drink eight glasses of water every day.
Me: Yes, I will carry my bottle of water everywhere.
Paul: And wear a large hat when you go outside.
Me: No body wears a hat in India. The last thing I want to do is feel like a "bleep" foreigner!!!
Paul: Keep your head covered.
Me: Yes, I will cover my head with my dupatta.

I would try my best not to leave the house till after sundown, I thought to myself.

On our way to see mom
I went to India (New Delhi) in June.  The temperatures were just as expected - a low in the mid/high eighties and high of up to 110 degrees.  I grew up in that heat. We went to school and returned home in an open rickshaw in that very heat for many years.  I ate at the street-side vendors and drank water from the tap.

Mixed traffic
How does a decade of being in the US negate the first thirty years of my life?  Why does the street food make me sick. Why do I have to politely decline water when I visit family? Why must I carry my own bottled water everywhere I go?

An irate guy yelling at our driver for cutting him off
I feel so fake. Just like a frog who has always lived in/near the water but now getting close to the water gives him a cold!!! Frog's runny nose is a derogatory reference mentioned while rolling your eyes.  
That is why I make a conscious effort to blend in. I want to make sure that I come across as one of them - in speech and attire, as far as possible.  I have not forgotten my roots and do not want anyone to have that impression.
Taking care of Mom
Before leaving, I had made a promise to myself - I won't complain about anything. 
The universe smiled (more like giggled) at me.

Here are the various ways I broke that promise.
1. Mom's Surgery was delayed by 2+ hours - I complained to the PR person. I expressed my displeasure to the attending physician.  And almost had a fight with my sister.  She, being a doctor, understands that the duration of the previous surgery could not be accurately predicted. I rolled my eyes.

Jetlagged, tired, sleepy and very hot
2. Our trip from New Delhi to Meerut (our home town) - The car was "supposed" to be air-conditioned, but somehow the air conditioner died on the way.  The 3-hour journey was a test of my character.  The worse part (yes, it gets worse) was that the driver insisted on  receiving full payment.  I firmly refused.

3. The heat - the only time one was really comfortable was under a shower (twice a day) and sitting in an air-conditioned room

4. Car ran out of gas - I complained to the driver that he was supposed to check it before we left.  I complained that my sister who was using the car/driver the previous day did not check the gas level.

5. The heat rash - While we waited for the driver to get gas, the exposed portion of my neck broke out in a heat rash

6. The jet lag - I do not sleep well in the plane and took me a whole week to recover after I returned home.

Next time, just do not promise anything.

Now, the good news. We (sis and me) got to visit a mall in New Delhi.

It was very crowded at 5:30 in the evening.  Oh, it will get worse around 8:00 PM, I was told.

I was surprised at the very modern, upscale stores including several foreign brands.


 Things have certainly changed in four years.

I was more interested in the Indian outfits store and I was not disappointed.  I bought two outfits and paid with my American Express credit card. Sweet!!!

It is more green than blue

Ooh Orange Top + Off-White Bottoms

The movie theater screening Angry Birds was a surprise.  Definitely made me smile.

Haldirams - a famous brand of sweets/snacks had a big restaurant in the mall.  It was a "safe space" to eat street food.

Haldirams Restaurant

And we did. We ate pain poori, raj kachouri and kulfi.
Paani Poori + Spicy Chutneys

Kulfi Falooda (Indian ice-cream served with noodles)

They even had french fries.  This is funny because I would not care for french fries (during my stay in India) but they are trying to appeal to the young Indians who may be trying to imitate the west.

Back in Meerut, I bought fabric.  This was also the day the car ran out of gas and I got the heat rash. But those small inconveniences are insignificant compared to what I found.

Warm Colors
These are south cotton fabrics. They are a lot like shot cottons, but with a self-design and a bit thicker.  These are all the solids (near solids) they had.
Cool Ones

Saving the best "find" for last. We were at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport  in New Deli just before our return flight, where I found this fantastic store - Ishana.  It is the best of India all in one place.

Soothing Pool

The center of the store has a large, shallow pool with flower petals, translation of famous Sanskrit shlokas (devotional poetry) inscribed at the edges, and small towels kept in little baskets at the corners.  Yes, they are encouraging you to soak your feet and have provided towels to wipe them off once you are done.

Live Music

And you can do all this, while listening to classical Indian music, playing LIVE!!! I even recorded a short video, pardon the background noise.

Pleasantly Surprised

Frankly, I needed nothing more than a place to meditate while I soak my feet. But they also have an excellent collection of music by Indian classical singers and instrumentalists, jewelry, art pieces, scarfs, shawls, books and sweets (free samples).

Earrings with red minakari

I bought red earrings and green ones too.

Green Minakari Earring for about $12
As we paid and were leaving, I saw these bangles and I really needed these bangles.
I had to get them :-)
Bangles inlaid with pearls!!!

Here is the bag from the store - someone actually put thought and effort into the design.

If you are at the New Delhi airport, please please visit this store. I should stop calling it a store - it was an experience!!!

Sorry, if I made you jealous and I made you drool.  Here is something sweet and more accessible -Craftsy Sale!!!

Honestly, I have been drooling over this fabric for months. However, I stayed strong and did not buy at full price. Today the sweet sale is here. And I have just bought this Blueberry Park cool FQ by Karen Lewis

Fortunately the Blueberry Park Bright FQ is also on sale.  So I had to buy that one as well.

Seriously, I bought both of them.  No, I am not saying that just because I am shamelessly promoting Craftsy. Here is the proof.

Look at the price!!!  And get them while they last. The cool FQ is already sold out at Missouri Star and the bright FQ is almost $75. Therefore getting both of them at under $62 each was a joyous dance moment!!! Hope you find something (either in my post or in the sale) to cheer up your weekend. As always, I am thrilled when you let me know :-)

This blogpost contains affiliate links.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Queen's Necklace

I had not seen my mother in three and a half years.  When I saw her, she was lying in a hospital bed and was almost unrecognizable.  She had lost a lot of weight and looked pale.

The Queen's Necklace
How could I be angry at her, when she looked so weak, so tired and so defeated?
I cried. We hugged.
Intersecting Circles

After the surgery, when she came home, I showed her the quilt.  Her face beamed with happiness.
And then she realized the amount of work that went into it, since she is herself a sewist.

"Why did you put so much effort into it?"
"So that, when you look at it, you can forget your pain and feel better"
"It is very beautiful"
"I am calling this one RaaniHaar (Queen's Necklace)"
"Perfect name"

Paisley Backing
Although the surgery was successful and she has started walking a few steps every day, it will take her at least six weeks to regain strength and be fully mobile.  Maybe longer.

Purple Border
I am glad that the quilt will be there to remind her that I love her so very much.
I hope that she gets better soon.
Candy Colored Striped Fabric for Binding
Thank you to all of you, who have shared my journey, shared your stories, provided love and support, and above all sent loving wishes for my mom.  When I let you glimpse into my relationship  with my mom, I had no idea that it would strike such a chord with so many of you.

Eye Candy

I have felt such an amazing connection to all of you who opened your hearts and let me know that I am not alone. That although our stories may be different but our hearts and feelings are the same.

Finished - just in time

Here is the truth that I discovered - even when we are hurt by our loved ones, we cannot wish them anything but happiness. Because we are not connected by that hurt.

Dimpled - after a wash
We are connected by love. And therefore their pain becomes our pain.

Light and Shadow Play

The only way to lessen our pain is to lessen theirs.  I wish my mom heals quickly.
So that I may heal too.

I returned from India last week and brought back some fabric.
"What a shocker," remarked Paul.   But that is a whole new blogpost.
Now that I am back, I will resume my activity in the blogland including visiting, commenting and linking :-)

As usual, I'd LOVE to hear from you.