Having spent a magical three nights at Ahilya Fort, doing as much or little as each wished, we were ready to frenzy-shop in Delhi. We were not disappointed – and neither were the stores. Add the last cooking demo at the studio of Nita Mehta (India’s Julia Child), sightseeing in Old Town including the spice market, and a mithai shop stop, and the day was packed with sensory delights.
The last night in Delhi, we gathered at (aptly named?) The Grill on the 28th floor of our hotel to swap reminiscences. Perched high above the shimmering lights of Delhi, the group shared the following impresssions/highlights:
Barbara: playing Holi topped her many other previous experiences in India
Joanne: the Taj Mahal – gave her the shivers to finally see it
Dawn: the heat and food and shawls somehow connected. How ubiquitous is the Indian shawl.
Val: moments of kindness within the group and from the people of India; getting the inside story from the group’s “resident experts”(mostly Anita and Sheena)
Alison Colvin: how kind the people of India are; also agreed with Dawn about the shawl to protect, adorn and comfort
Alison Girling: openness and kindness of the people; beauty of landscape in spite of long bus rides; the span of history and continuity at the Ajanta and Elora
Lynn: doesn’t understand how the country works but it does, as do the group dynamics. Initial apprehension gave way to enjoying – literally – the trip of a lifetime. Also the barbershop for John’s haircut
John: seeing both the preserved and living history of India, as in the life of the Maharana of Udaipur at Holika Dhahan, and the Prince Holkar
Shreekesh: how India has changed on the surface and how it hasn’t from when he was a student here eons ago; how we will continue to take whatever we seek from India
Rohan: getting to know everyone in the group, particularly Nani (Tanuja)
Tara: boat ride to the island and looking up at the stars
Dunja: the train ride in second class breaking barriers and getting a glimpse of the real India as Gandhi knew; the tamarind tree
Anita: the timelessness of Kailash at Elora – how beauty and friendship live on long after we’re gone; connecting with people she would not normally come across, and learning much more about the people she already knows
Shila: reliving India through the group’s fresh eyes; the train ride’s transformational power
Bhavna: Holi! And boat trip amongst diyas and under the stars at Ahilya
Liz was down with a cold and couldn’t join us… fill in the blanks please?
As I write, the group has already found their way back home, hopefully wrapped in warm memories of our trip, the group, and India.
Shukriya – Thank you for making it possible!