what happened in India, stays in my heart

Home, sweet home. I finally got home from a 10-day whirlwind India trip and 4-day Vegas trip.

Time passed by so fast that as if it all had been a dream.

Let’s recap what happened in India.

SOMETHING ABOUT THE AIR
The moment I reached New Delhi, I got a throat infection or whatever that was. I was coughing lots and finally lost my voice a few days later. I wasn’t the only one who was sick. I think it had to be the dust in the air. For me, the lack of rest and the love of spicy food didn’t help my throat to get better. :(

Tip: Take some mild antibiotic with you to India. It’d be handy if you fall sick.

Despite being sick, I opened myself up completely to absorb Indian culture and the love from the people. Indians are loud when they talk, especially when all the family members get together. The noise could be unbelievably overwhelming. However, the warmth that they give to their family is unmatched by any other races.

HANDICAPPED
I stayed with Karan’s family when I was there. It’s very common for middle class or upper class families to have maids, cooks and drivers. I was extremely uncomfortable to let others to do things for me at first, but I got over it. Let me tell you, I didn’t have to lift a finger from getting a glass of water to washing my clothes. When I took my sight off my empty glass for one second, it was miraculously gone. I almost had to hold on to my glass for the maids not to take it away (I like to refill my tea).

FOOD
The food was amazing! Karan’s family has a cook who can prepare Indian and Chinese cuisines. From dim sum to lamb curries, everything tasted like straight from a top-notch restaurant. I really wanted to take him with me to USA. :)

Eating out in Delhi is expensive. We went to a South-Indian restaurant and one plate of dosai was $10. No kidding. You’d think food is cheaper in Delhi than in the States. Not true. I could probably get a plate of dosai in Chicago for $5. I don’t see the point of eating out since Karan has a magic chef. But Indian people love eating out and hanging out. :)

Update (12/13/2010): See comment from Hemanshu Kumar below. I agree with him that there must be cheaper options in Delhi. $10 sounds too much for a dosai. :) But I was advised not to have any street food in Delhi because I don’t have “Delhi stomach” and I might get sick. :)

TRAFFIC PHOBIA
Traffic in Delhi is horrendous. Or should I say HORRENDOUS. If you think Los Angeles traffic is bad, think again. You have to grow up in Delhi in order to drive in Delhi, or else I guarantee you that you’d be sweating your pants after driving for five seconds.

We drove down from Delhi to Jaipur to attend Arjun’s wedding. It was a six-hour drive. Due to the traffic, there was constant breaking while driving the car. And with the non-stop honking, I fell sick, really sick. I threw up a million times along the way. At one point, because we were in a huge traffic jam, I just opened the door and threw up. I tried a few motion sickness medicines, but they didn’t help much.

Since then, I’ve developed a traffic phobia. After the Jaipur trip, every time I sat in the car, I’d feel drowsy immediately. I think it was my body trying to protect me. But still, any trip that was longer than 15-minutes, I’d feel nausea. It’s a problem that definitely needs to be fixed before my next India trip.

WEDDING

Arjun & Supriya

I HAD A BLAST!!!! Where should I start? Just tell me where I should start. It was a destination wedding to celebrate Arjun and Supriya’s union. 350 guests traveled to a small town of Chomu, Rajasthan. There were non-stop action and countless functions to attend. At first, I tried to document everything but I realized that wasn’t possible. I barely had time to breathe.

There was so much organization and preparation that I could tell it was somewhat stressful for the families. But that was “happy stress” if there’s such an emotion. Wedding is probably one of the biggest functions an Indian family could go through.

The scale of the wedding was unimaginable. It was beyond any ultimate wedding shows I’ve seen on tv and I am NOT exaggerating.

The hosts were very generous to give the best to their guests and to create unforgettable memories. The wedding was all paid for by the hosts, from accommodation to massages. :)

I was very lucky to participate this very special event and to experience Indian culture and traditions.

With so much going on, I tried to live in the moment and enjoy every bit of it. So, forgive me if I wasn’t able to capture all the actions in photos. I took tons of mental photographs that will stay in my memory bank for the rest of my life. :)

The couple and the families had received countless blessings. :)

It’s hard to believe that Karan’s little brother, Arjun is now married! I wish him and Supriya a lifelong of happiness and sweet togetherness. Cheers!!!

Afterthought
I enjoyed this India trip tremendously. I couldn’t help thinking about my future wedding. What’s my dream wedding? To tell you the truth, after attending such a lavish wedding, I actually don’t mind not having a wedding. In the ideal world, to celebrate the union of me and my husband, I’d love to give a few surprises to the world by helping the needy.

However, family expectation and traditions are hard to ignore. They are part of me and I am part of them. If I really, really have to have a wedding, it’d be a very small and intimate destination wedding for only immediate family members and close friends to attend. It’d be a vacation for everyone; my wedding is just icing on the cake. No stress, only fun. :) I like everything to be simple and easy. :)

It’s very important to stay grounded whenever I can. The world can be a chaotic and crazy place. I have to be sure of who I am and what my values are; not to be swayed away by materialism. I’m glad that I have a peaceful place in my heart to come back to.

Sharing with you here some photos:

1) Arriving Chomu Palace Hotel, Rajasthan

2) Tikka Party

3) Mehendi Party

4) Rajasthani Lunch Party

5) Sangeet Party

6) Wedding Night Part 1

7) Wedding Night Part 2

Paper Dosa at Sagar Ratna

I love South Indian food, especially the paper thin dosa. It comes with hot and spicy sambar soup.

Although my throat was hurting badly from dry coughing, and I had completely lost my voice; I couldn’t resist from joining my family for a yummy lunch at Sagar Ratna (The Ashok Hotel).

Their dosas were out of this world. You must give it a try whenever you visit an Indian restaurant. Beware, the sambar soup can be quite spicy. :)

family (& big piece of paper dosai)

family (& big piece of paper dosai)

Eating out in India is a family affair

Eating out in India is a family affair

South Indian Coffee (usually is served after the meal to help with digestion)

South Indian Coffee (usually is served after the meal to help with digestion)

South Indian Paan (betel leaf filled with grated coconut and sugar  - chewed as a palate cleanser, a breath freshener, and for digestive purposes)

South Indian Paan (betel leaf filled with grated coconut and sugar - chewed as a palate cleanser, a breath freshener, and for digestive purposes)