Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More India Chronicles "The beginning of the India trip - Delhi and Dehradun

I am writing this from India  on our laptop - but  I have no internet so this will have to be published later


We arrived on Friday night after a truly terrible trip . My pulled muscle , kids who were crying so much I could have sworn they were being tortured , coach seats that were too coachy.

R’s behavior is not especially stellar( it’s a 15 hour direct flight) but its very good - especially compared to the other little monsters on board.

He sobs a little and will not sleep and keeps telling me to “UP” and indicates I should walk around the plane with him which I do.

He uses the potty on the plane successfully but will eat NOTHING on the plane

I and DH swore that next time we will fly Business Class ( though inevitably the next time we are booking a flight we will wonder if  10, 000 dollars more for what is after all just 15 hours is a waste is really worth it or not )

Right now we are focusing on the other side of the argument – which is that we only do this once in a few years , what is money for etc etc

This is an interesting example of perspective

Delhi is where we land

Our uncle picks us up. Its so great to see him ,

He is a natural master at Floortime and is able to quickly adjust his wavelength to R . He takes the balloon that I have blown for R in order to keep him close to me and puts it on the luggage carousel.

By this simple means he is trying to keep R close to us ( it works for a couple of minutes )

When this does not work he captivates R fully by wheeling him around in one of the wheel chairs..

 Really I am so impressed – this uncle is one complete angel who is always doing something for someone else

We are weak and disoriented and keep losing things( important things too like baggage tags , our passports etc  and  finding them again and losing them again ( though we do this cheerfully- such is our relief on being on firm ground again )


We barely sleep a couple of hours before R wakes us up . He cannot sleep and will not let us sleep either ( he continues this for the next several days )

We go with Uncle to his very elitist club. Its very posh .

The driving to and fro is anything but . You need the reflexes of a marine to get around in Delhi .

Traffic lights are a suggestion , lanes are a faint hint and the horn is a mighty instrument of communication – running the entire gamut of communication from “hello” to “get out of my way” to  “ I shall now destroy  you “.

The main rule is that the larger vehicle has right of way 

DH’s primary messages through the horn are “ I am in your blind spot.. don’t crush me ” and “out of my way my car is bigger “ and “not a chance” when someone is trying to cut in

In the evening we leave R with the nanny of one of our friends – she is very sweet and nice to him and when we come back we find him sleeping with her. She has instinctively known that he will not sleep if he is by himself )

The party is a LOT of fun .

Our hostess has prepared a magnificent authentic Rajasthani meal which is to die for. They are Richie rich (for she refers to her “head “cook.)
– but very unassuming !

She is simply a darling and insists I cut the cake as we are a “VIP guest.”.

All this fuss over us is splendid and we enjoy  ourselves very much

It is really marvelous to see these old friends . DH went to( an elitist ) boarding school with them .
The guys are referred to as Doscos and the wives as Dosco Wives.
Luckily they are all simply marvelous and  I love all the Doscos and  wives in our group

We are up the whole night – Jet lag is really sucking big time!


We spend the day with two really close friends of ours.

They are one of the things we miss most about India .

They have two wonderful children( the son with his gentle and charming ways reminds me a lot of R and is probably one of my favorite children to spend time with ).

Their daughter is a doll!

The son's learning style is not in the cookie cutter mould that educators seems to prefer ( though he is extraordinarily bright ) so he struggled a little in early school .

At 5 he and his mum were in the park one day and he sensed his mum’s anxiety and asked her to look around at all the trees ..
are they all the same … then why do you expect me to be the same as all other children”

How can you not adore this boy?

A. ( the wife ) is a fashion designer. She is featured now in all the posh magazines - vogue etc and   has shows in Paris and is slated as the hot new talent-  but is just the same warm generous unique person she was 10 years ago.
S - the husband is another completely unique person - strongly spiritual and just such a good human being .
Spending time with them is uber relaxing.  They say "friends are the family you choose " and this is true of S and A - and we drink endless cups of tea and coffee and chat

We wake R up in the evening : he is SUPER cranky - we even take him to the Indian Mc Donalds but he will have nothing to do with the McNuggets there ( though he loves them here AND when I take a bite it tastes EXACTLY the same )

In the evening my MIL and SIL return from the wedding .

They are true extroverts and are glowing from the 3 day extravaganza that was the wedding

They fawn over R – really the child is well beloved

This is the first night that we are able to sleep at a stretch and in the night !


We drive from Delhi to Dehradun – while this is a 240 km trip ( about 160 miles ) –

while the distance is not much – the roads are bad and he traffic is insane and it takes us 7 hours .

R sleeps a lot

We reach the Dehradun home

The dehradun home is really magnificent as aesthetics are very important to MIL and its all a gorgeous mix a teak and marble and art. Handcrafted too!

She also has several maids –all of who giggle furiously at everything .

The head maid greets me with a " you have become weak"( which is her way of saying that I have lost weight - this is the way a lot of the traditional East thinks of weight gain and loss -the bengali word for thin actually means "sick"- of course India is VERY westernized now and everybody is skinny )

Its such a change to have this giggling gaggle do everything – cleaning the house – doing all the prep work for dinner
They follow me around saying extraordinarily silly things( which I dont know how to reply to so I simply smile at everything - hoping to be discourage and yet not reject )  like

"Stay here madam .. we will also learn how to speak English"

R wakes up for a little while and goes back to sleep again and we can finally sleep !!


Arrives grey and gross – though we are finally well rested and my back does not hurt much

I go through the house looking at all the changes my MIL has done – for she is one of those people who are constantly in a state of progress.

I realize with a pang how much the child that lives 8000 miles away is the center of their world as R’s pictures are displayed with much pride everywhere

I try to help in the kitchen though my MIL pushes me away and makes an amazing lunch in a matter of minutes

While all this is wonderful – I cannot deny that I am very sad .

This is because R is sad . He has pointed me to the door several times and said “ go home” and this morning on our small walk he even says “go America”.

I simply cannot bear him being unhappy – I show him on the calendar that we will go home on January 9th and until then we will be in India .He is disconsolate though he does no cry or sulk.

Like me – when sad – he is simply low energy and listless

I truly believe that a lot of his pain will be alleviated when the internet starts working again and when he is truly recovered from his jet lag ( and also discover later that benadryl which I have been forced to  give him becasue of MIl's dogs - makes him depressed )

I buy some CD’s of Mozart and Verdi and Rassinoff .

On the way to the music store a beggar boy stopes me and urges me to buy a ballon for 50 Rs as his brother is dying - this is clearly a lie as his eyes are smiling.

But I dont mind. and buy the ballon at 10 times the price

My heart aches for these little children

 I write this on the computer while listening to heavenly Mozart knowing that some day when we have internet I shall be able to upload this

DH is off to the dentist


Arrives sunny and gorgeous – I take a chance and don’t give R any Benadryl – he is a lot more cheerful because of this

He loves MIL's garden and spends all day there playing with the flowers the garden hose etc

And as he is more cheerful – so am I

It’s a lovely day

MIL gets the maids to do the laundry cooking etc and all I need to do is make R’s Pizza and take care of him .- Which I am remarkably slow in doing

I do some speech therapy with him in the morning and also a little bit of ABA – this is slightly miserable and it’s a sharp contrast to the evening where we do Floorime and its all marvelous and fun

I really think parents should pick the therapy style that works for them . there are parents who are naural ABA parents and those who are natural Floortime parents and I really cannot imagine that there could be one who could do both

We loiter around after lunch lazily

We swoop( this is a game which involves me facing him – picking him up and swirling him around and around till we are both too dizzy

He loves my MIL’s garden and as he is very relaxed now he uses the few words he can


I go to have my hair flatironed and blow dried.

Beauty Parlors are ubiquitous in India and as services are cheap this costs me very little

Two boys flatiron my hair .

They are telling me about all the changes that have taken place in Dehradun a small old-fashioned kind of place in the past few years

"Dating is the biggest thing now" - one boasts

"Where do you go to date?"I ask . Barrista?( India's Starbucks)

He gives me a sly look and says - "no one goes to coffee shops ... its all cabin dating now"

As he wants to shock me( since "cabin dating" involves amorous activity of a more serious nature than a coffee shop hand-holding  )  - I obligingly gasp with horror

"I have two girlfriends ".. he continues to boast .".just dating,  nothing serious"

"Do they know you are not serious?"I ask

"Oh yes" he admits ruefully ," she told me .. when I get married I can do better than you"

The second one tells me sadly that his girlfriend got married on the 12th( to someone else )  .

He was considering eloping ( her parents were against our marriage .. different community.. he says sadly ) but did not want to hurt his mother's feelings whom he loves very much

"Marriage is between the families" he adds piously

I really enjoy getting my hair done by these two boys for they are very very sweet underneath the macho bravado and I leave them a generous tip

Its interesting to see how while seemingly fully Westernised  on the surface - how in reality - India does not really change it merely layers- the new on top of the old

Society just keeps seeming to add new values on without getting rid of the older ones

India straddles, India strives


We go to Doon School  - DH's boarding school - very prestigious( for in India its the prestigious thing  is to go to boarding school )

Here is the school in the background

Doon becomes a family tradition and Doon school boys take great pride in sending their sons to Doon .

DH takes me and R to his old bedroom and shows us the sign where he in the list of all the prefects over the decades - his name is written in his year and he points to it proudly

I ask him if he feels bad that R will never go here and DH looks at me surprised and answers -" Not at all !" ( how I love this man !)

He really spends very little time mourning what could have been - because - well because its not !


We drive back to Delhi - R is car sick !!!

In the night we go to another friends 40th birthday party . Parties in Delhi start at 10 in the night( dinner is usually eaten at 9 )

Its a very posh party and everybody is in Designer clothes. We notice security people and realize that
Priyanka Gandhi ( kind of the equivalent of the kennedy's- only much more hero- worshipped ) is there.

I restrain the urge to stare - we  have a good time and drive back home at 3 am( it is  normal for a party to end in the wee hours in Delhi )

The next day we go to Purulia - more to follow


Lisa said...

K I was riveted.

How fascinating of a trip you just had.
So umm yep, I'm ready for the next chapter, and did you get pictures of Priyanka Gandhi? Sooooo

The picture of R in the garden is divine.
Also may I add how beautiful you are K, WOW!


Sherry said...

What a lovely and exciting trip. I am glad that R was able to settle in and enjoy spending time with his extended family. I will be waiting for the next installment.

TJ said...

I cannot wait for your book to be published !!! ((((K))))

Mr. Daddy said...

Was great reading you post about your trip...

I love your insight and the way you describe your journey.

good to have you back blogging. LOL

Missed your posts

Lyndsey said...

Missed you! I love reading your blog. I'm glad that you had a good trip, but I'm going to be selfish and say that you were gone way too long. lol When I saw R on the bus the other day I wanted to give him a big hug but I didn't want to freak him out. :) Hope to see you sometime soon!

Christine said...

Oh wow! It all sounds heavenly. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Welcome home.

What a lovely collection of writings and photos from your trip.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us. There are so many nuggets of wisdom and truth, so many funny little things (right now my favorite is the horn communication). Thanks for allowing us such a glimpse...

Laura said...

ha! I feel like I was right there with you. Like a different world.

danette said...

So glad you're back, I missed you! Sounds like you had a wonderful visit, I love your descriptions :).

Þorgerður said...

Visiting India has always been a dream of mine. Really love your writing.

Anonymous said...

This is all so interesting! I love how R told you he wanted to go to America...and how DH was okay with the fact that R won't go to the same boarding school. Thanks for the visuals of your trip. I was fascinated!

Jos said...

I've loved hearing of your travels. And of how well R did with his surroundings and family.

And yes, I do meet ppl all the time I wish I could get to know and yet know I will never seen again. One night at work, I passed notes back and forth with parents who were hard of hearing. We tried to find a nice outfit for their daughter and I think it might have been the most "normal" experience they had come across with someone who did hear. At the end of our time together, she told me she loved me. She brought tears to my eyes.

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