Saturday, January 16, 2010

2nd December 2009 - 20th December 2009 Delhi & Pune

The end of India

I know this is a bit belated and most of you have probably heard enough about India having seen us on our quick stay back in Sydney… but this blog is for us as much as it is for anybody else so you can either keep reading or skip this section all together!

After our teary farewell from our family in the village we caught a train back to Delhi where we arrived at the ungodly hour of 4:30AM. We caught a cab straight to Sheena’s great aunts place where we stayed for the week.

Sheena’s family is large… very large.. Which inevitably results in many family lunches and teas etc etc. I complain occasionally as sometimes it can be tiring, but in all honesty, Sheena’s older family members have so many interesting stories to tell from the days of Indias independence movement concerning meetings with Nehru and Ghandi and also the traumas of partion including evacuation from what is now Pakistan. I believe there is a book in their stories that should be written, as it would be a shame for the history to be lost over time.

Besides family meetings, we also got to experience the typical attractions of Delhi, Old Fort, Qutab, the Jama Masjid etc etc. All very interesting and amazing sights to be seen of course. It was disappointing to be confronted with aggressive staff working in the Jama Masjid who clearly didn’t want visitors coming to the Mosque. I had to bite my tongue from saying something (good move), other tourists just turned and walked out. It’s sad, because it’s really counterproductive for some of these men to act in such a way. Being poorly treated by someone dressed in traditional Muslim attire who also has the long beard, only perpetuates the negative stereotype that many people have in the west of Muslims and creates greater division between societies. In reality the man is very foolish because he’s only creating enemies of people who are there to embrace their culture and gain a greater understanding of a different way of life and it’s hard for people to not be affected by these experiences.

Red Fort
Old Delhi

Prayer Time at the Jama Masjid

Of course we couldn’t talk about Delhi without talking a little bit about food (this is a blog from Simon and Sheena after all). In talking about food in Delhi, I’m just going to say one thing. Kareems Restaurant… Kebabs… Burra Chicken… Mutton Biryani… Mutton Curry… AWESOME!!!… heart transplant… say no more except everyone should eat here once before they die.. Vegetarians excluded.

Kebabs & Biryani at Kareems

So after Delhi we flew down to Pune to stay with Dadima (she’s grandmother on her fathers side) for a about 2 weeks. There’s really nothing to do in Pune so there’s not too much to say. For those who know Dadima, she is exactly the same, which is of course a good thing. At 87 she still loves to have her long chats and still loves filling us up with food, however now Sheena and I know enough Hindi to be able to tell Ayesha (Dadimas in house help) that we don’t want any more to eat!
Just a quick edit.. I can't believe I didn't mention our trip to Bombay.. or should I say our trip to Britannia Restaurant... merely writing this down so that anyone who reads this knows that when in Bombay eat Berry Chicken Palau from this amazing Iranian restaurant... but be quick.. the crazy friendly old dude who owns it who is about 1000 years old plans to shut it down when he departs...

The Obligatory Couch Photo
With Dadima

So after over 3.5 months we finished our Indian visit in a traditional manner… at a wine tasting festival… It was a very memorable stay and although I know we’ll be back in India in the near future, I think we will remember this trip more fondly than most. After all it’s not often you gain an entirely new family.

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