Archive | November 2012

Safdarjung Tomb

Safdarjung Tome, New Delhi

This was on my must-see list this time, and I’m glad it was. It’s like a mini version of Humayun’s Tomb. Few visitors were there, which I don’t understand. It’s lovely!


Saved by Socks!

I was invited to an Indian wedding on Saturday, November 17th, in Ghumarwin, Himachal Pradesh. It was cold, but most of the women wore sandals without socks, and for once I didn’t want to be the lazy American who only dressed for comfort. I had on a salwar kameez especially made for me by my friends, the Baliyani family, and a shawl that Meena bought in Delhi that matched. It was warmer than the smaller pashmina I had brought. I admired it, and they gave it to me, saying Meena could get another one later. Since I was decked out in my Indian finest, I didn’t want to spoil the look by wearing socks with my sandals.

Unfortunately, it got cold. Really cold. To make matters worse, the wedding, which had been expected to start at 8 pm, was delayed. The groom and his party were traveling by car from Delhi to Ghumarwin, which was normally about a 12 hour drive anyway, but traffic had been unusually bad. At 11:30 pm, there was still no sign of them, and it was getting colder. My feet were like blocks of ice.

A friendly young  man came up to chat with me. He was curious to know which country I was from, whether I liked Indian culture, was enjoying myself and other pleasantries. He was so nice to me and asked a few times whether he could bring me some hot tea or coffee. I hadn’t wanted any, but the next time he asked, I said, half jokingly,

“No, thank you very much. But if you happen to have a pair of socks, that I would accept!”

He smiled.

“Okay, no problem. Just give me 15 minutes.”

“Are you serious?!”

“Yes, of course.”

I was desperate, so I was willing to believe in miracles.

“My feet are big, like a man’s,” I said, poking my hoof forward for him to see. “I wear man size socks.”

“Just give me 15 minutes,” he said again, smiling.

He was back in about five with a brand new pair of black socks!

“Oh, thank you so much!  You saved my life! Now I have to take your picture.”

And that was  how I came to know the name of Rajesh Kumar, who saved my life with a pair of socks.

Prem has told me more than once that in India, anything is possible. I’m now a believer.

India, Here I Come Again

City Palace, Udaipur

Everything has worked out. Prem’s tour ended today, and he’ll be waiting for me at the airport. No more goofy guy who can’t find the car.

My flight leaves tonight. The storm is now forecast to arrive in the DC area tomorrow night. By then, I’ll be in the air somewhere between Istanbul and Delhi.

India, here I come again.

If It’s Not One Thing…

Prem, whose village home in the Himalayas I’m headed to, emailed me day before yesterday that his tour was extended by seven days. (He’s a tour guide and drives clients around Rajasthan.) But he didn’t confirm his date of return to Delhi or whether he’d be meeting me at the airport when I arrive. He’s already arranged for someone he knows to meet me if he can’t be there, but it would be nice to know one way or the other. I’ve tried to call him, but someone who doesn’t speak English keeps answering his phone.

Just when things are relatively settled down after Hurricane Sandy hit the U.S. earlier this week, today the news forecasts the possibility of another big storm hitting the East Coast…on Tuesday, the day my flight leaves. Because I needed something to worry about… 😉

Prem having a lassi at a sweets shop in Agra last year.