Drummers and Elephants.

Indians like to take crooked pictures. Apparently the angle makes you look better.
Delhi International terminal 3 is my favorite airport, hands down. First of all, it’s a real airport, with intercoms and wifi and sliding side-walks. Many Indian airports I’ve been to are like big and un-air-conditioned houses that just so happen to have airport furniture. Second, it has this amazing Suryanamaskar demo. Even though I was running late to catch my return flight, I had to stop and take a few photos. So cool!!


“So, appearances matter?” asked my animated flight attendant when he took away my uneaten unopened plane sandwich. It looked like a stale log of wood that my stomach couldn’t handle. I was surprised at his comment and quickly said no, because I didn’t like to believe the idea that appearances matter. But after he left, I changed my mind. Of course they matter. Our eyes drink up so much information around us. So much energy is used in SEEING. Our actions change depending on what things look like and what we see.


I was on my way to a wedding. An unexpected, yet much needed getaway to Delhi to attend my first Indian wedding in India. I didn’t know who was even getting married! But somehow I had a plane ticket to go to there. I guess my dad knew that a change would be good for me.


I had nothing to wear besides yoga clothes, so finally I had a reason to go shopping. My granny was thrilled.

Let me say that again, my granny was thrilled.
She hadn’t been feeling too well the past couple of days, but suddenly this 77 year old sprung to life.  Three full days she spent with me, racing to pull out all the fabrics at Goldy’s fabric shop, arguing with Bashir, the tailor, shoe stores, jewellery, lace, the bakery, finding matching dupattas for every suit, oh my goodness! Fuelling the both of us on cold coffee and chai, which she would ask the shop keepers to bring us when I looked like I was losing steam. The whole time, her face was just glowing in excitement, pulling me along, saying lets see more, lets see more! She had just been waiting for this day and leaped at the opportunity to come shopping, as most of the time, I’m usually on my yoga mat. The change in her was so incredible. Even the shoe owners son commented when he saw her patiently waiting for me, “You have a pretty classy dadi, (grandma from your dads side).”


I had to remind her that, hold on, whoa, this isn’t my wedding!! I don’t think she cared. She was just happy to see me looking girly for a change. I guess my yoga boy life here has been rather ragamuffin-y, much to her despair. I rather like it, as I feel like I’m living like a kid again.


So for the first time in months I got my hair cut and wore it down, got my nails done, dressed in something nicer than big t-shirts and yoga pants, put on a little mascara, looked you know, somewhat normal. Imagine, I used to do all this every day in New York! But I do enjoy it, and I never mind spending money on food, the salon, and shoes, my three weaknesses :). I had an even happier Granny. And before I arrived in Delhi, I was already holding onto numbers from shoe owner’s son, the guy sitting next to me on the plane, and my animated flight attendant. Call me maybe?


So this was very very interesting to me. The whole appearance part. We have eyes for a reason. Appearances do matter in the sense that they create different courses of action. And not only for relationships, but for grandparents and jobs and food. Where is the balance? Hmm.


DELHI: Total change of scene from my quiet Pune life. Big metropolitan city. Streets with lanes. People who could actually pull off wearing shorts. No dead chickens hanging upside down in the shops. Pretty people. Less dust. No scary homeless. Clean bathrooms. Less trash. And then seeing my friends from Berkeley. I almost forgot I was in India.


An Indian boy marrying a Jewish girl in India – random but that made it all the better, as I knew no one and wasn’t really sure what goes down in traditional Indian weddings. In the two days I was there, I felt like part of the family. Running up and down the hotel all night like we owned the place because it was only the wedding party staying there. Ahh Indian families are great!


So much dancing – made me miss New York. So much food! So much color and glitter on everyone. The groom rode in to meet his bride on a horse, while the drummer boys and all of us danced around him. It was so cute because the horse was stuffing his face in a bucket of corn the whole time, in order to behave appropriately and walk the right way. Haha.


I wore a lehenga for the first time. Really beautiful Indian dress which has a short blouse top and then a long flowy skirt. Something like what Jasmine wears :). My awesome roommate and friend Saniya helped show me how to wear it. Thank goodness I had her <3.20130319-204431.jpg


The grandparents of the groom were so excited. It’s so beautiful to see how Indians show respect. It’s innate. They touch feet. They bow heads. They stand up in front of elders. They stand proud for the national songs. They use the words Aunty, Uncle, Sir, Jii. They open doors for elders and ladies and let these people sit before others. I have always been drawn to people who have this knowledge already inside them. Such a beautiful quality.


I just can’t wait for my big Indian wedding. I’m going to be waiting on an elephant with drummer boys by my side. The groom can pick whatever animal he wants to ride on.


Oh and there will be cake. A big one with lots of chocolate. Get excited :).


Now I couldn’t leave Delhi without dropping in on my favorite family.


Gosh they make me laugh.  We biked all around the neighborhood and did suryanamaskars with my aunt in this beautiful park by a tree that everyone kept coming to hug (we figured we were in a lucky spot). At night we all went to hear jazz in this outdoor theater park – people from all countries sitting on the lawn, picnicking, drinking coffee and beer and champagne, jazz music taking you away to another place.

Today I miss America.


But I also realize that there is so much more to see in India.  Good thing my VISA expires in 2018.


Someday, I will be back.


Much love,
More later,




P.S. Jonathan caught a mistake from my last post. Adidas’s slogan is actually “Nothing is Impossible” not everything is possible. So I changed it. Thanks brother.


I also wanted to say a little something to my readers. Thank you. You all are awesome. It makes my day when I hear that this friend and that aunty all over the world read something on my site. I actually originally started writing this blog to remember what I’ve made, where I’ve been, what I’ve witnessed, so that someday I can look back and see how the world has changed and how I have changed. Having readers is such an unexpected gift, like icing on a cake – not necessary, but makes it more delicious. So again, thank you :).


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2 thoughts on “Drummers and Elephants.

  1. Saniya Ahluwalia

    You have been like a princess who landed straight from the U.S to India , full of fun, love, prettiness & beautiful smile :) I m already missing you, waiting for you to visit me in Chandigarh… keep smiling & stay blessed <3

  2. Nagina

    Beautiful write up Sonia!! I really enjoyed going through it. It is so refreshing to hear about India from the point of view of an young & beautiful lady who is born & brought up in America, but still keeps the admiration for Indian Values.!! Enjoy your time there dear. May be your dream of big fat Indian wedding may happen sooner than later!!All the best !!!

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