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 :-)

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  1. Nice to meet you. Sorry for your troubles. But they too pass. Very interesting story. In the west we take MUCH for granted. Love the green and blue Blueberry Park!

  2. I so enjoyed your story and pictures of your trip. Thank you so much for sharing and giving us all a glimpse into life in India.

  3. Who is it who said "You can't go home again."? I think your trip shows how everything changes, not only us, but the world as we knew it. At 73 I am finding that more and more every day...but happy you had some enjoyable moments...
    love those fabrics--how tempting are they? hugs, Julierose

  4. I always love your blog posts. Okay I am totally in love with your orange top. And oh those fabrics you picked up. I like the hint of a pattern in them even though they read as solids. Cant wait to see what you do with them.

  5. I enjoy reading your posts. I loved the earrings. Can't wait to see what your creative mind comes up with for the fabrics.

  6. Seems you reacted normally under the circumstances. Glad you were able to make the trip happen! I didn't realize you were trying to get the quilt finished to take with you, that your mom was there! My dad and I never did reconcile our differences, and he died on Wednesday. I'm glad you were able to make peace with your mom because I'm here to tell you, this has really taken the wind out of my sails! Love all your fabric purchases! Looking forward to seeing your creations!

  7. Thank you for posting your personal journey home. Wherever we grew up, it can be difficult to return as adults, I think. Things change, people change and we change. I'm happy to hear your mom is doing better; I'm sure she was pleased to have you by her side!

  8. Ahh, I feel like I had a little trip through you, and I thank you. I was transplanted back to A Fine Balance with the picture of the traffic...NOT prepared for how American the mall is!! Forever 21?? Come ON! Oh those cottons you got! I am sure I can smell them, such rich colours, and shot through with the thicker thread--delish! Of course, I lean towards the cool ones. You look so pretty, so YOU, with the bindi and your sari (listen to me, shamelessly using what little Hindi I know. Okay, I have to get my butt on Craftsy and check those out; I have ogled them for some time. So glad you did this trip Preeti and thank you for being so real.

  9. What a fun post. Between the long travel, the heat, time changes, food and water changes, that makes for a trying experience. I think most anyone would complain at least a tiny bit. Your fabric choices are gorgeous. Nice to be home and in the sewing room, right?

  10. Thanks for the virtual visit. I love the bangles (I'm a bit less sure about ice cream with noodles! :) ).

  11. I enjoyed your pictures and commentary. India is such a country of contrasts....sights, beauty, food, people. It was good you were able to be there for your Mom's surgery. I hope her recovery goes well. Ice cream with noodles....?

  12. Thanks for sharing. This sounds incredible, even if frustrating at times.

  13. What a wonderful post! Thank you for helping me "visit India". I love the fabrics and really love the red earrings!

  14. Sounds like an amazing (if not exhausting and trying at times) trip, The fabrics you bought in Meerut are beautiful. You may have heard of the outcome of the UK referendum and the pound crashing so there will be no shopping for me at Craftsy while the pound is so weak. Enjoy those gorgeous fabrics

  15. Thank you for giving is a little peak of your trip. We missed you while you were gone and I'm glad to hear things are sounding better. With temperatures that hot, I'm pretty sure one is aloud to lose there cool. The fabrics in the two tops are to die for not to mention the lovely stash additions you were able to pick up.

  16. I love your posts - so absolutely honest and real. I felt like i just traveled to India - the smells, the colour and your wonderful commentary. Amazing.

  17. I did enjoy reading your post, lovely to get a little glimpse of your visit home. Hope your mum continues to improve.

  18. What a great peek into your visit home. Even though you had a few minor still look like it was a nice visits. You Mom is doing better and you got to visit with your sister. Looking forward to see what you make with the new fabric. TFS.

  19. Going home is never the same as you remember! I enjoyed reading your post, and as are full of humor! Steeped in tradition and then you see the mall!! The fabric is gorgeous and I'm sure you will make something amazing with it. I'm sorry...noodles and ice cream?! I have never heard of such a thing!

  20. I enjoyed reading about your experiences on your trip home. It is never as we remember it and things are always changing, but it will always be home. :) I'm glad you found some fun things to bring home. Thanks for sharing!

  21. LOVE the fabric you bought in India. Very nice.

  22. That orange shirt is WAaaaaaaaaaay Super funky kewl! I lobe Indian should have bought one of those fabric bundles in green tone! Heeheehee

  23. And that "experience" at the airpot "store", just looks like the most relaxing environment. Wouldnt mind delays and layovers with a retreat such as that available.

  24. Love the fabric you bought in India. Such luscious colors! Wish I could buy some, but I don't think I could endure the heat in India. I can deal with cold, but not heat. Loved seeing your travels! Hope your mom is doing well now.

  25. I just loved your blogpost. I love your stories of returning to your birthplace after living in the us for a long time. The things you bought were so pretty and the photos were so interesting. I loved your coping (or not) stories. I hope your mom is okay.
    My daughter lives up the road from Meerut at Rishikesh. She has lived there about 2 1/2 years now and I have yet to visit. I am always after her to send me some pretty fabric or some of those great earrings but no!

  26. Julierose asked, "Who is it who said 'You can't go home again'?" That is the title of a wonderful novel by Thomas Wolfe. Well worth the time to read all 800 pages of it. But just as much fun is reading your blog, Pretti. Your stories and pictures are very enlightening and I always want more! Thanks for the explanations. Your purchases (especially the fabrics) are gorgeous. How do you leave anything behind?

    Here's hoping your mom is beginning to heal from her surgeries. Bless your sister for taking care of her. (I've been there and it's difficult work sometimes.) Show her your love, too. She truly deserves it.