(Happy birthday Lizzie Dietzek!!! I am here in the future -- 10:09PM -- and I can promise you this day is a great one.)
There is a daddy long legs in the bathroom. He's been in there for the past 3 days. He is well within my reach but I don't have the heart to kill him. So each time before I enter the bathroom, I just scan the room for him so I know where he is (versus he accidentally crawls on me and I freak out and kill him). And then I basically stare at him the entire time I'm in the bathroom and just make sure he isn't suddenly on me. When I get creeped out by the fact that he's in the house I just remind myself that I have commuted to work amongst about four hundred rats for the past six years.
Here are some pics of this lovely place:
Home sweet home in Gurgaon (suburb of Delhi), 11AM
Street view in our community in Gurgaon
The best part about staying with Vallika and Sada (Vallika's husband) is that I'm not rushing around to lots of sites. I just get to be a part of their normal daily routine. Well, their normal daily routine when they have an American visitor who wants to see at least some stuff in Delhi.
This morning we drank coffee around 8AM. Vallika bought me South Indian coffee because I tried it at a restaurant and loved it. We relaxed and read and chatted for a bit. I asked about the conflict between India and Pakistan and Vallika explained some of the history to me. Then she took me to the most amazing market, where there are over 150 stalls and each stall's goods are authentic to a particular state in India. (Fact: there are 27 states in India.) Vallika bought me a scarf that is
light blue, yellow and pink (yes I just did that color highlighting, I just went there) because the print is almost exactly like the one on the cushion in the idyllic spot from yesterday's post and I was in love with it because I know it will remind me of that spot forever. I wanted to pay and I insisted but so did she. I did buy a beautiful, kinda-fancy Kashmiri scarf/skirt thingie. It's handmade, embroidered with navy, light blue, red and a touch of yellow (yep did it again) and has some tiny mirrors in some places. And I bought some loose harem-style knockaround pants. Light pink and olive green color blocked. So hot right now. Remember that post I once wrote about not buying stuff? Should I delete that?
Anyway, the market was called Dilli Haat. The entire morning -- until we got to the market and I saw the sign -- I thought Vallika was saying Delhi Heart. Like, the market is the heart of Delhi...........
Being here is starting to sink in. As in, I had to put about 15 apps in a folder called 'USA.' Goodbye Seamless and Venmo. You have been replaced by HostelWorld, Booking.com (booking.yeah!) and FlightStats... Although we did just see a commercial on TV for the new app FoodPanda: the Seamless of Delhi.
Meanwhile, Vallika has cooked me at least five Indian meals. The meals have similar basics but vary in vegetables and seasonings. And so many bread-like objects that fall into the category of 'meal-accompanying carbohydrates.' Tonight we had pumpkin szabzi and Vallika was very impressed that I knew what szabzi was. (Chantal I obviously didn't say it was because you order the Spicy Szabzi salad at sweetgreen). In India, it is customary to eat only with your right hand. It's hard for me. Ripping bread with one hand is pretty challenging. I do my best and try not to look like the huge rook that I am.
The fruit here is same same but different. [[side note: fruit are? fruit is? is fruit one of those mass nouns, like sheep? why do I not know this? i googled it. was unsatisfied by results.]] It looks like our fruit, and kinda even tastes like our fruit? But isn't exactly our fruit. I was warned not to eat any fruit with too thin a skin, as an extra precaution against getting sick. I kinda forgot on day one so now I'm over it and let's all hope for the best.
Every day at 6:45pm Vallika and her two friends in the neighborhood take a walk. Two laps around the perimeter of the community. About 3km / 1.5miles. I went with them. On our walk, Vallika explained that in India, it is one of the four golden rules to treat your guest like a God.
1. Mother is God.
2. Father is God.
3. Teacher is God.
4. A guest in your home is God.
The way these people have taken care of me is actually inspiring. I can't wait to be this kind of host to someone in New York.