Sitting in a car in a traffic snarl in Delhi seems an apt time to begin a blog. It feels somehow familiar being back in the north of the country; I turned in recognition when I heard someone use a familiar Hindi phrase yesterday. That was odd in itself because I only know about 10 or 15 phrases, but still, it’s more than I’ve accomplished in Malayalam. I’m eager to eat some grilled paneer, that dreamy spongy tofu-like cheese of the north, because in the south they serve it hard and flavorless and rarely grilled, where the tandoor ovens are always cooking something yummy in the north.
Delhi is still a snarly, steamy, congested concrete jungle. I’m currently reading Capital by Rana Dasgupta, which is a riveting account of how Delhi broke free from economic controls in the 1990s and the subsequent consequences of the growth. Actually it’s much more than that, and it’s filled with anecdotes and stories that make you forget you’re reading a nonfiction account of the history of a city, which is always a plus for me! I’m only about half way through it, but it’s a great read for anyone who wants to get one person’s perspective on what is wrong and right with the nation’s capital. He makes a lot of interesting assertions, which he doesn’t bother to back up with research, so I’m also a fan for that attitude. Throw your opinions around and let others worry about their merit, I say!
We’re on the first leg of a farewell tour of some of our Indian haunts, and it’s always a respite to come here for the great international restaurants and pampering hotels. There is a certain patisserie here that always seems to draw me in; here's a picture of why.
|Flowers in our room.|
A word about our current hotel, The Lalit, is also warranted. When you are a returning customer of a certain level star hotel here in India, you are greeted by name at the door by someone whose job it is to make you feel special. They whisk you away to your room for signing in (no need to stand in line with the riff raff, you are their “valued client”) where you are feted with fresh flowers, chocolates, massage and meal coupons. It makes me worry about fitting in my work with all this pampering there is to be done… I could definitely learn to make this a habit, but I believe this is it for the fancy hotels and such.
There are some silly luxuries, too, like the TV that's in the bathroom. Not sure who asked for that one. I do like printing stuff by sending it to the front desk and watching it come sliding under my door later, and swimming in their luxurious pool at sunset, and playing "stump-the-concierge" by asking some pretty odd questions that he is quite capable of handling. We leave Delhi in a day, and I'm ready to escape the furnace-like heat and head back to Trivandrum for our last few days there, where the monsoon arrived earlier this week and the temperatures and humidity took a nose dive. Should be interesting to see what monsoon looks like close up. BTW, I just heard what I'm pretty sure were gun shots, so even though I'm in the safe enclosure of this posh hotel, I'm glad to be on the 25th floor!