Indore part 1

Indore is great. I get to come to a friend’s home, a nice home with nice, smart, super friendly, caring parents, eat home food, go shopping and dress up. It’s a true vacation. Sleeping a lot helps as well. Last week was quite hectic at work and this was very much needed. We would have taken the bus but Bhakti’s husband managed to take a day off work and we drove. It was a long drive that took around 9 hours. The ride was really interesting – we passed several gypsy settlements, saw many fields, some mountain ranges, sang some songs, I listened to a mix of Hindi and Marathi because both her and her husband, Abhijeet, are fluent in both, ate some snacks, and slept. Bhakti has decided to start teaching me Hindi, with proper Hindi lessons.
Last week I heard a story, learned how to introduce myself, and got a few new vocabulary words. Because it was hectic at work, I wasn’t able to get another lesson. So in the car ride I decided to ask a few questions based on different songs. I learned that “Born to be Wild” is jungly hone ke lie peda hona, I also got some Pink Floyd and Beetles song titles translated. This is useless Hindi I know but it’s really fun.
Her parents are amazing. Both of them are agricultural scientists. Her house is awesome and homely. There are many mosquitoes that have already eaten me up. We’re going to a wedding tomorrow night. I was instructed to bring a sare but apparently I’ll be wearing one of Bhakti’s sister’s saris. It’s beautiful. We spent a significant amount of time choosing an appropriate one for Bhakti and myself, and then sifting through all the fancy sari jewelry. A home is a fun place to be. Home food is also a fun thing to eat. I was joking with all my friends that I’ll come back happy, relaxed, and fat; they’ll just roll me down the hill.
Yesterday we left in the evening to go to a Sardar wedding in Khandwa, a small town about two hours away from Indore. It took us around 4 hours to get there. There was traffic; not just any traffic but big truck slow traffic. We waited about 5 minutes on a small narrow bridge with huge trucks on it. I could never see anyone driving so meticulously in the West, however, I could never see a bridge like that with cars like those anywhere else either.
We got there as the groom was coming in on the white horse. We said hello, did a little dance, and quickly left to change. The hotel we thought we were staying at was an immediate “no.” Abhijeet (Bhakti’s husband) and his friend checked it out and it was not only cheap, but baaaad. I’m used to staying in the low end hotels, but this was apparently really bad. We went to the sabse aacha (best) hotel in the area, which was still not great. I wonder how bad the other one was. We dressed up in our sarees (I’ll post a picture later) and went back. We basically said hi to the wedding party, ate, and left. The next morning we came for breakfast late and thought we were going to miss everything. The wedding was supposed to start at 9:30. We reached breakfast at 9:30, ate aramse (relaxed) and went off to the Gurudwara. It was almost 11:30 before it started. As my one friend said, when I spoke about the timing, it’s a wedding, not a business meeting. It was simple and sweet. The singing was beautiful. They had a tabla player with two harmoniums. The Guru was at the front and they went through the ceremony. I loved the music. And then, it was over. We were going to leave but then they made sure that we came for lunch. Of course, even though we protested, we obliged in the end. After eating, one of the uncles spoke to me. He lives in Pune in an area I know. He wanted to make sure if I had eaten. If he only knew…
We took our leave and came back to Indore.
The food we’ve eaten so far that is special to Indore: Pohe – much different than Pune pohe, with a different masalas; Jalebi – this was for breakfast as well which was a strange experience, but it was the best jalebi I’ve ever had; Cachori – I’ve had it before in Pune and didn’t like it but here it was absolutely amazing – here we had moong dal, aloo and mutter cachori, I think my favorite is aloo; fried khaman – this is fried dhokla (a Gujrati dish); Shikanji – this is one of the most amazing drinks ever, it’s like dahi with sugar and mixed fruits and nuts; Banjo from Johnny Hotdog – this is a famous place that’s been running for over 20 years – it’s basically an omlet in a pav (a type of bread); and of course home food – it goes without saying that it’s amazing.
The rest of this evening we’ll be at home relaxing. We’ll play carram (an Indian non-bored game, it’s played with your fingers on a square board. It could remind you a little of pool but it’s nothing like that). This is a good vacation.

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