Sickness comes on Horseback but departs on foot! So true….it hit me while trotting around Dilli! But now I dunno how to rein in the bilaady horses!!
A bad throat was how it started in Delhi around the 15th and its 25th and I have a sticky, leaking eye as well to my ever bountiful nose. I unload it and it is full again like one of those magic boxes which never get empty!
My journey to Delhi was very peaceful. As usual I was on the side lower berth. It is my favorite seat as I get all the privacy I need with the curtains drawn and I can soak in all the changing topography rushing past the train window. I love train journeys…I like to see the different people and changing landscapes zipping past. I did try to capture a few of those moments in my camera.
I dozed off at 5am and woke up around 10 as I hadn’t slept the previous night scared that I might sleep through the alarm. I carry my own food as I hate the food we get in the train. So a late breakfast was slices of brown bread with a lavish slather of soft, smooth yours truly, Amul Butter in one hand( I know I know am on holiday) with a soppy romantic novel in the other. Bliss!
Right when I was watching a farmer tending to his farm, the waiter in the train was shouting out, “Garam soup,vegg soup” which is the only thing I like having in the train with the bread croutons floating and a generous sprinkle of pepper. I sipped the soup and slurped it and wondered about the world and the creator…the myriad colors and the textures, the bounties of every region and state.
I dozed off again lulled to sleep with the rocking movements of the train as my cradle.Woke up and had lunch at my own sweet time…no watching the clock no rushing around. Lunch was 2 rotis with potato curry rolled- and simple food never tasted better without the distraction of the TV or the internet. It’s funny how a train journey increases your appetite and the things that are peddled in a train can never be as tasty elsewhere. From roasted peanuts to Lays chips and Kurkure to masala vada, idly, water or softdrinks.Most stations have their particular specialities like Nagpur for oranges and bhujia , Agra for Petha, Mathura ka peda or mana Vijayawada for fruit juices.
The tunnels between Nagpur and Bhopal never seem to lose their fascination for me.As kids we would scream into the dark tunnels and hear the echo resounding and ricocheting from the walls and the speed of the train. Now with age and the AC compartment I couldn’t obviously do that but I did hade my nose against the glass to relive the same feeling again.
Bhopal conjures up memories of my paternal aunt and all kinds of bead purses. I never used them but loved collecting them. My bro is in Bhopal now and am on the way to his daughter’s engagement. Dinner was after Bhopal…..yummy tamarind rice(pulihora from home) with dosakai pacchidi. Finished my book and zzzzzzzzzzz slumbered till morning.
The Delhi air is very strong and polluted. The more I tried to save myself from it, the more I got sucked into it. My nephew picked me up from the station and I looked around the different landmarks of Delhi. For me Delhi is just a place to eat and shop till you drop or before your pockets go empty.
We were put up at a plush apartment for the next two days. Typical dilli breakfast of paranthas with lots of makhan and achar was on the table. Catching up with the sisters and bro’s family amidst lots of spicy anecdotes was next on the agenda. It started raining right when I was going to step out to meet my CAL friends but rain could never be a deterrent. I marched off to Dilli Haat and was really excited to meet Sonal , Kapil and Sangeeta. It was my first time to Dilli Haat and my neck was craning on all sides, almost reached 360 degrees to take in all the various riotous colored displays in the tiny stalls.
Kapil and Sonal were already tucking into food at the Maharashtra stall. Hugs and kisses in the air and mutual admiration was followed by exchange of pleasantries and food for the soul…I ordered a Bhel for myself and Sonal ordered a Thalipeeth. Sonal came across right as I envisioned her….bubbly, warm and very prettyJ. Sangeeta couldn’t make it due to the rainL. Kapil and Sonal had to leave while I browsed around the stalls by myself. I picked up a few trinkets and a white kurta after some hard bargaining, feeling very proud of myself while the shopkeeper must be laughing at fooling another one of his customers into loosening the purse strings.
Evening saw the whole family getting together again and rehearsing for the next day’s performance at the engagement do at Sheraton. Mind you it was in competition with the grooms side!!What pros we are we don’t even need days of back breaking practice :p. Sehaj, Bani, Jiya and Kian were there and I enjoyed every moment spent with them. Sehaj is my first grandson as it is and holds a special place in my heart….first to call me Chunni and to climb the door like a monkey or a batman would. He gifted me with a sketch of Gurunanak devji which I am gonna cherish forever. Amazing art by a 10yr old, so very proud of you Sehaju.
Bani is one chatterbox whose battery hardly goes down and we call her billy . Jiya is the “oh “so conscious perfect lady all prim and propah !! Kian was the wild card of this trip. Never spent time with him before but a few twirls around the room and up on my legs and I knew I had scored.I cannot tire of hearing him call me Chunni nani , chunni nani repeatedly…….sheer music to my ears.
Weddings have this way of weaving the family backtogether.Sleeping on the floor never seems so easy and connecting with those whom we only hear on the phone. Honey, was a surprise package for sure….so warm and easy to know. The next day passed off in a limbo building upto a crescendo as the day wove into night. The engagement ceremony went off flawlessly well. Even my impromptu gag with Sahiba was applauded. The Sheraton was blooming with flowers and the huge displays with Pink haleconia and Bird of paradise were a dream. Mansa looked like Cinderella with her prince charming at the ball!
And it was time for goodbyes as each one left for their destinations, flights and trains to catch. I went out with my niece Kiran for some well earned retail therapy. Shopping in Lajpat nagar cannot be complete without spicy momos. By this time my throat was starting to protest and nose started to leak like a tap. Took a ride back to my sister’s (Bholy) place in a cab, she was tired after seeing off her daughters and was already crawled into bed . She asked me to switch on the AC, switch off the light and TV…almost tucked her in while handing over the quilt.
Here I was wide awake with the throat ache and could barely sleep. I kept drinking warm water throughout the night. Woke up with a really bad throat and fever which refused to relent. Half the day passed away lolling in bed and Harpreet trying her best to meet up while Kaajal was nursing her aching tooth. I was so looking forward to meeting Harpreet but then I had to go to the doc and missed her. She did leave a bag of goodies for me though…thank you Harpreet, will surely meet up next time am in Delhi.
Bholy lured me to have bhel and I blackmailed her to take me to Pachranga.A trip to Delhi is incomplete without golguppas from Pachranga and gulabjamun too even though the throat is almost choked with pain! Women and golguppas were made for each other. Packed my stuff and off to the station. My nephew Gagan, dropped me off and Kapil was waiting there with a huge parcel of goodies for me from him and Bhavna….love u Bhavna.
Always the journey back becomes a bit heavy coz I know am going back to an empty home. I managed to coerce my co-passenger to give up the side lower berth and spent the whole journey home without food as I was too ill to move and buy anything or even eat it. Back home I had my cereal and went to bed. The golguppas took their toll and here I am, 10 days later still oozing from the nose and even have a jaundiced eye to boot!!
If a doctor treats your cold, it will go away in fourteen days. If you leave it alone, it will go away in two weeks…Gloria Silverstein !! Well nobody died of a cold I’ve heard, so there!!!