Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"A guest is like God"

or so the saying goes. My friends Hemant and Gaurav (each, independently) told me of this Indian saying, and indeed, they believe it. Again, their mom and they put me up for a couple days, attending to my every need, and then some. Plus, we saw some stuff around Delhi, had some whiskey, saw a dirty picture, watched some cricket, you know. Ate delicious food, thanks to Mrs. Mohan. Skyped with my family, after some hilarious MacGyvering the internet on both ends. (Many thanks to the Kumars for helping this happen.)

(okay, okay. it's a Hindi film called "Dirty Picture," about an actress in the 80's. Mildly scandalous by Bollywood standards, not scandalous by Hollywood standards. Mildly confusing by English-speaking standards. For some reason I thought Hindi films might sometimes have subtitles?)

I met up with Satti, a co-worker of my mother's who works in Noida. We had some delicious kebabs of all kinds.
Someday I will understand what "kebab" means, but that day is not today. Growing up, "kebab" was only used in "shish kebab", and it meant we put pieces of chicken and peppers on a skewer and grilled them. In Europe, "kebab" meant "doner kebab", a sandwich with slices of roasted meat. Beloved by us inexperienced foreigners, especially after some beers; I may or may not have memorably sang "K is for Kebab" in a Cookie Monster voice at one point. Today, at the Kebab Factory (a fine place, despite the fact that if your restaurant is named "factory", you're doing it wrong), we were served a very nicely soft textured patty of spiced meat, a chicken leg, a fried bit of fish, a piece of boneless chicken, and a sausage link. And they were all "kebab"?!
Anyway, he generously took me to lunch and then to see his office, despite the fact that he is surely a much busier man than I!

And then I bid a sad goodbye to Delhi. Rather, I bid a sad goodbye to the people I know in Delhi. I'm not all too choked up about the city itself; it must be the least walkable place on the planet, and the suburbs are worse. (and yes, walkability is the only thing that matters; discuss.) I got to the train station an hour early, so I decided to walk back to the famous Chandni Chowk, and I'll agree with William Dalrymple's assessment that it's become a rather crummy place.

But right, the people I know in Delhi. I am quite bowled over by their kindness. I can only hope to host them in the US someday and return the favor; a distant possibility perhaps, but the offer is indeed open!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I recognize those folks from the Skype session. I hope they see this BIG THANK YOU for hosting our transcontinental reunion and talk with your grandparents. Come to Cleveland, Ohio some day!