Friday, March 11, 2011

Smells, Sites, Sounds & Tastes

When I reflect back on the recent quick trip to India it being a month ago now today that I would have had my first day in the factory its amazing what stands out.
The smells, sites, sounds and tastes are what first impacted on me.
The odors are like nothing before experienced within the large cities the combination of exotic spices to animal and human waste and in one wiff. In the country the amazing scent of farm life, burning ash, cotton crops and living compost.

The overwhelming sites of a sea of people and some many dark skinned which is different for me to feel like i blend in. Being of German Samoan Sri Lankan Dutch decent I was starred at alot but it was a complement to be spoken in Hindi, too feel like I could fit into this melting pot.
My first full day I attached myself to a mother and daughter who i fell in love with because of there Argentinian warmth they let me hangout with them and we moved down the road in Pahar Ganj to a cheaper yet slightly cleaner (less bugs) hotel. 

I felt that day my heart was ripped out with so much poverty around in the city and filth that they lived in on the streets yet they had such joy at the simplicity of there life. There religions were a driving force which was undeniable with so many temples it was a joy to experience.
 On that day we tried to go the mosque in Old Delhi but were asked to leave as it was dusk and no women were allowed. People begging I could not resist giving money and food, my heart was broken with mothers sitting with their children. I wished i had bought items of clothing that i could give them to use or sell but next time i will know.

The food gave me so much joy there and without reservations i stopped eating meat after the first morning visiting the local food market and seeing the dead chickens in the cages, (apparently earlier that morning were slaughtering them). All other food intolerance i forgot totally getting into the amazing roti, chapati and Palik Paneer (cheese & spinach curry) of course i ate like and India. When asked what I wanted for breakfast at the hotels i wanted Indian breakfast some Dal or peas and potatoe curry Aloo Mattar with yogurt they thought i was a strange western lady. Oh how i miss the Chana Masala...chickpea curry.

Since returning home I have bought the flavours I loved with me which my son Sam feels a little ripped off as there's no meat in them. I made sure I asked how to make a good simple curry and whats the secret to making a chapati? The staff in the office at the factory where so thrilled at my interest and love for India food. They would share there lunch with me in there packed lunch boxes that looked better than what I would expect a normal New Zealander to eat, so healthy and so proud of it, there warmth and love was in the cooking.
I once got lost in the area where i was staying walking around looking for nothing but probably supposed to be getting to the factory by train eventually. I was approached by a young man who noticed my lost look on my face - he took me back to  my neighbour hood pointed me towards my train. However not eating breakfast the brown eggs on offer at my hotel i asked him to take me to a good local place to eat for Indians. Well he took me to a place lets just say i wouldn't have gone there on face value. It was full of men which for India was common but for me was a whole new experience, and the smells were yes very appertising but the hygiene of the place was not. The plates were well lets just say not what i would normally eat off, but i sucked it up and enjoyed the food, the company and the conversation which always lead to be about marriage as I'm fascinated about arrangements and how it seems to work.


The sounds of streets night and day are full night time was the street dogs fighting and the day the yelling, endless horns of autos, cars and music i loved the vibe it was a real shock at first. It was like my nerves were all egg shells but the excitement is thrilling. Although i would happily crawl back to  my hotel every night to watch very romantic sitcoms filled with gorgeous India people starring longingly into each others eyes - nothing randy on India TV!
The traffic is a topic I can't describe in a few words- perhaps life threatening but the thing is it works cars coming from all directions beeping when there turning in or out of roads lanes or in front of cycles, people and cows. Thank goodness drink driving isn't an issue and there is so much traffic so they can't get over 60km even on the motor way which is a blessing.

The sites were eye candy I love colour and its eveywhere. Its a trip in site stimulation, beautiful looking people, women who love there traditional dress and once married have to where coloured saris. The colours are a joy and I want to take it into my blue and grey wardrobe!

Much love Joannexo

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