We landed in Delhi. The pilot says it’s something like 59 degrees F and suddenly there is a mad rush in the cabin of people grabbing their jackets and sweaters, like they are about to enter a blizzard. I thought it was funny. Sure it’s cold, but not thaaaat cold. I actually couldn’t wait for a chilled breeze in my face. I’ve been swimming and tanning in December, so it’s about time for me to embrace some winter weather! Maybe that will knock me back down to reality, as I just can’t understand that it’s almost New Years!
Met some really nice people on our plane ride, visiting from Mexico – we had 2 friends in common. What a small world!
We arrive at Uma Aunty’s house, and by then, I’m starting to feel chilly in my sandals and thin t-shirt, and can’t wait to be inside a warm house. So you can just imagine my surprise when we walk into the house and they are all dressed in their winter’s finest. There is like no insulation so it’s like you can’t escape the outside! Brrrrrrr.
Luckily, these are some of the warmest people I could possibly be with. Our families go back three generations of being good friends. Aunty Bul Bul grew up with my granny, Uma Aunty grew up with my dad, and her two boys Aum and Jai, are my little buds, growing up with me. Time is not the main factor though – the whole family is super loving, yet witty and transparent. I don’t feel any forced politeness, more like genuine love and openness. I can truly be comfortable.
As soon as I get there, Aum and Jai shyly run away. They are up to some mischief in the kitchen…and it smells like chocolate. Ah I’ve come to the right place :).
Aum and Jai are quite the little bakers! Ramesh Uncle (their dad) loves to cook, so they take after him and love to be in the kitchen. Aum is actually the youngest and my very first blog follower. Special.
Also! These guys are just as excited to play UNO as I am (you all know how much I love UNO!!) Usually I’m the only one who wants to play, and I have to convince/force people to play with me, haha. Uma Aunty taught me how to play when I was 6, so this is probably why our families share the enthusiasm. I love it..
Aum stayed home from school to hang out with me. Jai only went to school because he had baked a cake for his Christmas party.
After we picked Jai up from school, we went to Dilli Haat – this market for artists. Everyone sets up booths of pashmina scarves, embroidered bags, rugs, wooden toys, everything. We went for the food – all sorts of little stalls – South Indian, Maharastran, Chinese, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthani, etc. Aum ordered me this salty yogurt drink with mint and ginger. I think it was called Matta. Really good.
Uma Aunty has her own little shop in their living room of handmade items – scarfs, saris, wooden bowls, lamps, candle holders. Really beautiful things. Whenever guests come, they go shopping in her living room.
The boys introduced me to “Where-were-you”, their stray neighborhood dog who lives outside.
Aum and Jai and I made chocolate chip cookies with jaggery – pure sugarcane. It was their first time making cookies so they were REALLY excited. They pretty much did everything on their own, while I gave them “professional” instructions (or so they kept saying :)). When the cookies came out of the oven, Jai looked at me innocently and said “Didi (sister) let’s show off a little, pleease!” And then before I could say anything, he grabbed the hot pan and proudly paraded around the house, pushing the cookies under everyone’s nose for a smell test. I just raced after him laughing because that pan was hot! Such a daredevil.
They boys had so much fun playing Temple Run on my “iPad Mini Cooper” (what they named it). They also taught me a lot of Hindi.
Life is better with chocolate, always. Indian people don’t really embrace chocolate properly, so it’s nice to be in a place that does.
I’m realizing how important people are in regards to your environment. Some people can make you feel cold in a warm place, some can make you feel warm in a cold place. Interesting.
Why do I love kids? They see things much more clearly than adults, and they express themselves honestly. The silly frivolous things that I think of as “problems” don’t worry to them, they just love you.
My dad woke me up at 4:30am. We had to catch the train. I was having the best sleep, tucked in a warm blanket with the space heater on. Dang.
Only the omelet and chai wallahs are awake, making omelets and chai outside the train station. Off to Gwalior to see my other cousins. Good morning.
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