Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 24, 2017 under Monday Morning Musings with 8 comments

 

Bup’s girls

 

It’s time to get home to my granddaughters.

After six months and many adventures, I will be making my way home later this week. With any luck, I’ll be having a cup of coffee at the Tall and Small on Monday morning. It has been an amazing experience and I will be sharing it with anyone who is interested at the library on May 17th. I have a PowerPoint presentation to share with you. Lots and lots of pictures… and every one of them is worth a thousand words.

In no particular order these are the topics that I will be covering in the presentation: religious fervour; spicy food; demonetization; the Indian banking system; the eternal quest for a good wifi connection; garbage; noise pollution; poverty; fundraising; teaching ESL; language issues; the Daughters of Mary and much more.

I have met so many wonderful, amazing people. I was invited out to dinner a few evenings ago. Two generations of families from Kolkata ( Calcutta ) in the state of West Bengal had me over for traditional dishes. The vast majority of my diet over here has been vegetarian. They refer to it as “ veg.” Throw in some meat and it’s called “ non veg.”  In one evening, I think I rebalanced the scale with a meal that was mostly meat and fish. There was one vegetable dish and some raw vegetables. I can hear some of you who have been to India gasping that I would consume uncooked vegetables. But when you’re in someone’s home, there’s a very good chance that they’ve been washed.

I shouldn’t tempt fate and say this … but what the hell. I managed to escape any kind of illness. I ate everything put in front of me with gusto and never had a bad reaction. I was always vigilant about the water and most public places have very good drinking water.

Back to the meal.

Besides rice ( I have eaten a lifetime supply of rice in six months! ) , the other offerings were: Dhoka ( a Bengali specialty ); Chicken Curry; Mutton Do-Piyanze; chilly chicken; lorshe maach ( Fish in mustard sauce ); aloo-Gobi ( Cauliflower and potato mixed in a sauce ) and curd. I think it was one of the most delicious ( and unbalanced!! )  meals I had ever eaten and the mother of the clan did most of the cooking. I raved about it and she was beaming. A lot of pictures were taken.

I would have to say that the single biggest challenge in a country like India is language. I now have a pretty good ear and could probably distinguish between Malayalam ( Kerala ); Tamil ( Tamil Nadu ); Telagu ( Telangana state ) and Hindi ( Delhi ). I realize that the problem is MINE. It’s really tough when you’re trying to get a cab or auto rickshaw and you can’t communicate effectively. I hope to learn a little bit of every one of these before returning. I know one verse of a Malayalam song and trot it out once in a while to the delight ( chagrin? ) of the locals.

I am ready to come home. It will be good to see everyone again. Do not be surprised if there is no Thursday Tidbits as it is likely a travel day.

Thanks for joining me for the ride.

 

Have a great week.

 

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Monday Morning Musings

Posted on April 17, 2017 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

The Lotus Temple. Breathtaking

On the fly.

 If you receive this late, it’s because I might be  standing in the middle of a freeway searching for the ever elusive internet connection!

When I have time ( and an internet connection! ) I will give a thorough accounting of the past week or so. It has been quite an adventure to say the least.

On Saturday, I stopped by a church to watch a youth group decorate their church for midnight mass and Easter Sunday. They are also members of the choir. Sweet people and almost all college students. One of the girls spotted me sitting down back and came over to chat. Her English was excellent and we had a great hour long conversation. “ So, what do you know about Canada,” I asked? “ I know Justin.” I thought she meant the Prime Minister but it was the Biebs that she was talking about. She had also heard of Mr. Trudeau!

I attended the Easter Vigil. I haven’t had an all nighter since university. It started at 11:30 p.m. and mercifully ended at 2:30:27 a.m. This was followed by samosa and chai tea. I staggered to bed at 3:05 a.m. The good news is that I received an invitation to lunch on Easter Sunday by my Bieber fan and her family. I never miss an opportunity to spend time with local people.

A few other tidbits. Have I mentioned that traffic here is a total nightmare? ( Those of you who know me well know that I really want to say “ S.S. “! ) The official population of Delhi is around 20,000,000 souls. Unofficially, the locals say it is much higher. Now, we have been told that every family has at least three cars. Excluding babies and centenarians, there are still tens of millions of vehicles on the road. Getting anywhere is a major hassle.

The other day, I walked through a small village to go to the ATM and also to pick up a few cookies and peanuts ( and chocolate for Easter morning! ). As reported many times, wherever I go, I draw a crowd. The store owner and his mother were behind the counter waiting on about 8 people. I was immediately ushered to the head of the queue. As I was leaving, the son grabbed my arm and said , “ Come, come.” Across the street a small crowd had gathered for a Hindu worship. I was asked to perform Puja which I did willingly. And then the photo session began. I think everyone in town save the cows, dogs and chickens, had their picture taken with me in front of the shrine. Such is the life of a Canadian tourist.

 A great big shout out to my brother Tom who turned 60 on the weekend. He has been dealing with a cancer diagnosis for 8 years now and he shows no signs of slowing down.

Have a great week.

Be grateful that you live in Canada.

 

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Thursday Tidbits

Posted on April 12, 2017 under Thursday Tidbits with one comment

 

There will be no Thursday Tidbits today. We’re on the move and internet access is very unpredictable.

Have a great day and say hello to my friend!

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