Sickness comes on Horseback but departs on foot! So true….it hit me while trotting around Delhi and is known as the Delhi belly! But now I don’t know how to rein in the bilaady horses!!
A bad throat was how it started in Delhi 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! The stomach was heaving and my delicate digestion had gone for a toss.
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 5 am 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 spread 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,tomato 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 and slurped the soup 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 roti 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 soft drinks.Most stations have their particular specialties like Nagpur for oranges and bhujia( savory snack) Agra for Petha (pumpkin sweet), Mathura ka peda( milk sweet) 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 have 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( cucumber chutney). 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(look at the food in the pic) and shop till you drop or before your wallet goes empty.We were put up at a plush apartment for the next two days. Typical Delhi breakfast of parathas (stuffed flatbread) with lots of Makhan(butter) and achar(pickle) was on the table. Catching up with the sisters and bro’s family amidst lots of spicy anecdotes was next on the agenda.On the way back I saw a building with Uppal’s written on it, my maiden name and wondered how my Baji (dad) would have reacted to it.It was my niece’s wedding and we Punjabis break into dance at any time of the day or night.Evening saw the whole family getting together again and rehearsing for the next day’s performance at the engagement at the Sheraton. Mind you it was in competition with the groom’s side!!What pros we are we don’t even need days of back-breaking practice. Sehaj, Bani, Jiya and Kian (my grandchildren) 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( granny) and to climb the door like a monkey or a batman would. He gifted me with a sketch of Gurunanak devji which I am going to cherish forever. Amazing art by a 10yr old, so very proud of you Sehaj.Bani is one chatterbox whose battery hardly goes down and we call her billi (cat). 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 (granny granny)repeatedly…….sheer music to my ears.
Weddings have this way of weaving the family back together. Sleeping on the floor never seems so easy and connecting with those whom we only hear on the phone. The next day passed off in a limbo building up to a crescendo as the day wore 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 heliconia and Bird of paradise were a dream. Mansa, my niece 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.A trip to Delhi is incomplete without panipuri from Pachranga and gulab jamun too even though the throat is almost choked with pain! Women and Pani Puris were made for each other.I make it a point to visit Bangla Sahib Gurudwara ( temple which is very famous) even if it is for a few minutes.
I packed my stuff and was off to the station. My nephew Gagan dropped me off at the station and I was on my way back home chugging down the track.
Always the return journey 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 Pani puri took its toll and there I was, 10 days later, 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 or of Delhi belly, so there!!!