Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sad News Today

I have tried to call a few different times since we last spoke in early January.  At that time she told me that she was responding to antibiotics and she even sounded happy.  I had sent a small package of a few things to her for her stay at the hospital.  Some magazines to read, some western style toilet paper, a few chocolates.  I knew she did not like chocolates but treats always helps with a stay in the hospital to get a little better nursing care.  My calls were not being answered, in fact the phone was not even on.  I had just tried again this past weekend but today I got a call.  Kalsang died today.
Kalsang was our first hired house manager.  She is the one who settled us in India.  When we met in December 2010 she had no experience with a family and we had no experience with house staff so we were perfect for each other.  She worked with us until her visa came through to return to Australia to be with her friend she had visited time and time again in Australia.  She left India in August with her hopes to never return.  Her visa in Australia ended along with the month of October.  She came back to New Delhi with her hopes deflated and what seemed to be a serious case of depression.  I talked to her once before she left for "south" where her family lives.  We only talked on the phone.  She explained to me why she would not come to see me.  She didn't want to bother me she said.  She explained that she left Australia crying and sad.  She knew she had to leave Australia but she never left her room and was sad at the house where she was visiting.  It sounded like many tears were cried as she was brought to the airport in Melbourne to return to India.  Her friend met her at the airport in New Delhi and from there Kalsang stayed in a hotel until she got a train ticket to go "south" to her parents.  We talked a couple more times on and off at odd times.  When it was hard for me to have a long conversation and when it was hard for her to have a long conversation.  Around Christmas I received word from a friend of a friend that Kalsang was ill and in the hospital.  I called, we talked, but she didn't want to talk about her illness.  I asked if I could send anything for her and she requested magazines.  After the package arrived we spoke again two more times but that was a month ago.  I really thought she was doing better but I guess she was just getting better at making me think what I wanted to think.  We miss you Kalsang and our love and gratitude for your friendship will forever burn in our hearts.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

One FULL Saturday

For those who have never been to New Delhi or visited Dilli Haat, Surajkund Mela may be hard to imagine.  Have you ever gone to a craft fair?  Visited something similar to a church bazaar?  In all of these likenesses; Dilli Haat, craft fair, church bazaar, now imagine them on steroids and place them into the spatial likeness of a fair grounds.  It’s HUGE! Surajkund mela has many “zones” with crafts from all over India, and this 2013 year from all over the world.  It was decided last year to increase the foreign visitors to the event the organizers of the mela have now transformed this annual mela to Surajkund International Craft Mela.  These same vendors are found in likeness showing crafts that rotate through the Dilli Haat shopping areas in New Delhi (both locations).  For two weeks, February 1-15, visitors can shop for crafts from all over the world.  From what I saw it was mainly crafts from India, two or so from Africa and one from Pakistan selling marble vases and tables. The food court area becomes very busy from 1:30pm onwards, as does the mela itself after 1:00pm.  I attended the mela twice this year, once during the week and the other on Saturday and both days the mela was very crowded around 1:00pm.  I would suggest an early morning arrival.  There is a 50 rupees entrance fee and gates open at 9:30am but many vendors do not have their booths uncovered and selling until 10am or later.  It was sunny but not hot both days I attended and the colors were bright and cheerful. Entertainment spills out into the main street in the grounds and all walks of entertainment keeps visitors interested and looking for more.
This particular Saturday, after the morning and a large part of my afternoon was spent at the mela I stopped at home long enough to change my shoes, bake a gluten free cake for a birthday girl (friend) and collect the family for a night out.  We didn’t go far, a simple drive to the American Community Support Association (ACSA), our local club we are members of.   Saturday’s dinner special was seafood which satisfies the majority of our family's taste buds except kid three who is far too picky for most menus.  Also the band, The Paisleys of New Delhi, was scheduled to play at 7:30pm and they are always a great show.  They had guest performances from some AES students.  Very well done!
It was a fun and full Saturday of entertainment.  For those of you following our saga, we also have our new driver.  He has been employed with us for one full month now.  We hope he can stay working for us until we leave this summer.  Oh yeah, and we are planning to leave this summer.  We will not be returning to the state where we own our home but instead we will look for housing in the state where moms and dad are living. More to come in later posts, we will be adding “transitioning out of India” as a label.