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Archive for the month “May, 2009”

Joys of Being in India Part IV – Shopping in Delhi

Whenever we go, Gagan and I try to take a day off just for ourselves and this is when we explore the markets. The first market we went to is in the town called “Lajpat Nagar”, named after one of the famous leaders of India – Lala Lajpat Rai. This market caters to everyone. There is even a mini mall there. I go there for FABRIC! So like I mentioned before, I didn’t have time to go to the wholesale Fabric Market, but this was good enough. Some stores haggle as well 🙂

I didn’t look like a tourist so people were pretty surprised when I was taking photos of everything! So enjoy my friends, these are for you. Flickr has complete descriptions of each photo, so if you click on them you’ll be taken there.

These were a little too loud for my taste but I just wanted to show you the different styles of salwar kameezes.

And HELLO, what do we have here? A TRIM SHOP!

And then some shopping in a FABRIC STORE!

Gagan likes to bring back candy and snacks from there. And this shop has really good quality dried fruits and nuts in bulk bins. You tell them what you want and they’ll weigh and package it right in front of you! Did I mention that we are FOODIES!

Too much? Or too little 😉

Only in India can you find MASALA CASHEWS!

From Lajpat Nagar we went to a slightly more “Polished” Market, which is more a hang out place for younger crowds. You can tell by the stores here. Most of the American and European brands are here. Retail is very competitive in India which is why they didn’t let me take photos here! This is all I could get without anyone objecting. I must mention that Delhi is very brand conscious! People don’t like to wear anything if it doesn’t have a label on it 🙂 I don’t get it… but it’s the way it is. When I buy gifts for my friends and family back there, I only buy brands they would like 🙂

HANDBAGS!

It was getting late and we still had some time before dinner so I decided to have a snack in the market. Momos are north eastern street food. They are basically steamed dumplings. Momos themselves are bland but its the sauce they are served with which is REALLY SPICY! How spicy? You’ll find out soon…

Wait for it…

And there you go… OMG!!!

Gagan stayed away from it after seeing my reaction 😉

All this in just one day. Quite a feat don’t you think?

My mother in law got me some fabric from Rajasthan – the most beautiful place in India. So while I was there, I decided to get the outfit stitched. Yes, there are tailors everywhere. That’s why nobody sews at home. You can even pay them to come to your house for a whole day and get anything stitched! I went to a boutique close to the house where my in-laws live. The lady who manages the boutique is also a designer. She is quite a talented woman.

The concept of patterns is foreign to them. They do sewing the “REAL WAY” i.e. from measurements! So I stood patiently while she took my measurements and 24 hours later, she had this gorgeous outfit ready for me! I’ll have to take a photo later and post it here.

The next few days I took a break from playing tourist and decided to kick back and enjoy my family. There were numerous hours spent chatting with my mom, dreaming of new baby outfits for my new nephew/niece. I shared some of my joys and sorrows with Dadima and in her lap I found comfort and relief I’d been craving for my whole life. Among other things, she is strength personified, never gives up on anything, anyone, including me 🙂

I also hung out with my BFF – Jugnu. She has been my friend since high school and is my source for what’s in and out in the Indian fashion scene 🙂

And here’s my mother-in-law, another pillar of strength and wisdom. I can talk with her for hours! The shop owner was quite the photographer!

Thank you for letting me share my trip to India with you. You know what made this trip even more fun for me? Besides the news that I am going to become an Aunt in December? Well, its because I got to re-live it with you and because I took the time to explore the simple things which I otherwise take for granted. So my advice, enjoy the time you have with your family, doing the little things they love. It’s what life is all about! It’s what we go back for. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Live for Today!

More photos in my Flickr Album

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The Joys of being in India – Part III DELHI

OK, so now I am back in Delhi – The capitol of India. This is my territory 🙂 I grew up here.

Why is Delhi not a vacation for me? Well for starters, because you can’t really call a place where you grew up a vacation spot 🙂 Both Gagan and I have large families and extended families ALL of them settled in Delhi. Have you seen the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? Well it’s sort of that AND MORE! Everyone is in everyone’s life and nothing is ever a secret. It is impossible to have a small gathering. We just don’t do it.

Which is why, when we found out that my sister in law is pregnant, my father decided to celebrate in a big way. He was already psyched that I was there and on top of that, he was going to become a grandfather. Now, before we go any further, there is something else you should know about India. Religion is it’s backbone. From affluent to the poor, everyone bows to the “big guy” in their own way weather it’s a happy day or a sad one. It’s what keeps Indians grounded and safe. And it’s customary to dress up whenever you are praying, as a token of respect. So my dad organized this big ceremony at home where you chant the holy “Ramayana” non stop for 24 hours. Yes, even at night. We all took turns reading it. Because it was day 5 of my trip, my throat was already hoarse from all the talking so I gave up only after reading for about an hour or so. We had over 100 people in the house who came to pray with us.

You remember my husband’s grandmother – Dadima – my favorite! She wanted us to go to this famous temple 3 hours away from Delhi. She has been asking us to go for the last 5 years and this year Gagan and I decided to go. Unfortuntely she was not well enough to accompany us but Gagan’s parents went. It was a really fun drive out to the country. We packed some sandwiches and decided to picnic on the way. On our way back we even bought some onions from a farm stand! My father in law is really adventurous. He wanted to get there sooner so instead of taking the highway, he followed a map and discovered the back roads. Of course this was not before we got lost a few times. But we still got there much sooner than anyone else. All thanks to my FIL! We won’t talk about the useless map though 😉

That’s Gagan, trying to figure out where we were! The big map was no help either.

We finally get there. That’s the temple in the back. Because it’s so hot there, I only wear cottons when I go there. I was super comfortable in this salwar kameez.

The wish tree!

In my next post, I’ll talk about my shopping experience in Delhi… Stay tuned.

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