Tag Archives: Chandigarh

So where did you stay??

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As I sat on that plane in JFK I took a deep breath and thought to myself I don’t know where the hell I will be sleeping once I get to the other side of the world. My father gave me a pep talk a few weeks earlier. He said India is different. They don’t have heating in their homes and it’s going to be winters over there. The showers don’t always have warm water and the electricity flickers. He said he isn’t sure how comfortable I will feel, but nonetheless, him and my mom would be there if I happen to freak out. I kinda thought, okay, I’m pretty tough, I live in NY and have moved around a lot. I’ve seen a lot of crappy apartments. I’ve lived in some. I’ve dealt with life. I can handle it. But then the American mindset kicked in and I thought that a craphole in the 3rd world is way diff than a craphole in NYC. Or is it?? Nice in the 3rd world is different than nice in the US…or is it??

Anyways, I had no idea what to expect. Then I arrived. I was pleasantly surprised! Here are some pics & videos of our beautiful neighborhood in Panchkula:

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The last pic is my uncle’s (thaiya ji) home. He has a balcony and the roof. The roof was scary lol. I went up there once and I was like “yeah I’m never going up there again!!!” BUTTT a day before my last day there, I decided to man those narrow stairs. Here is a clip and some photos I took from the top. What’s cool about where they live is that from above, you can see the mountains of Himachal on one side, Punjab on the other and Panchkula is basically in Haryana. I would not be upset waking up to this view every morning!!

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I’m such a creeper lol

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These stairs were the call of my death

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My aunt lived a quick 2 min drive away. Her house is very nicely decorated. I think I liked it there a little better. There was a bit more going on. More noise, with the vegetable guy screaming through the street and such. (BTW I found that pic!! See below!!!) Here’s what her side of the street looked like:

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awww my beautiful Bhua ji & the sabji walla (aunt & the vegetable man)

As everyone would take their 8th nap of the day at 1 in the afternoon and I was full of energy that wasn’t being used, I spent a lot of time watching traffic go by on the street (noo that’s not sad…ehh…maybe a little ) but it was fun at the same time. I loved people watching/street watching in India. Every time I tried to take a video though, nothing interesting happened. No interesting vehicles drove by until I put the camera down. Kinda teaches you as you travel, sometimes it’s good to just witness things as they come. One time though – LUCKILY my cousin was with me because I don’t know how I would have handled this if I was by myself. Mind you, this happened RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE:

 

 

This also happened:

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My first impression

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I’m really late on this, I know. Those who have been following me for a while might have seen a pattern in which I tried to go in order of my travels & I really hyped up my India trip last year….yetwhereisthatpost???

I feel like I have a lot to say about India and my thoughts (therefore my posts) will be sporadic on the motherland. I told you about my journey but incase you forgot or if you are a new subscriber since that post was like from September – here is the link:

https://karenskaleidoscope.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/my-first-encounter-of-my-mothers-land/

So yeah – to continue – I finally step outside into beautiful Chandigarh! —-wait, wait, wait — I don’t think I mentioned this before —before I went to India, I obviously had 10874967 different impressions going through my head, and speaking to people who regularly go to India trying to alter my impression was not something I was trying to do – especially since they go to other parts. There is a movie (Punjabi) that I grew up watching (well, not really, but it was always in the background – and my mom used to play the songs as she cooked hahah ❤ ) I told 2 friends that if Punjab does not look like the following song from that movie I’m gonna be all upset. Friend A was like “yeah yeah it will!!!! Totally!!!!” so that was excitinggg to hear even though he hasn’t been to India for like 10 years. Friend B, who also hasn’t been to India since the 90’s was more like “yeah good luck with that” – BOO!! I know, you are like “show the song already” — this is the song:

Yup – it’s old school! But that’s what I love about India. The culture is so rich. Preserve it. I was happy that at least in Chandigarh it was still pretty traditional.

I found an interesting observation was the news. My family would sit down for meals and discuss some politician who was the topic of town. We couldn’t go into Chandigarh for a few days because there were supposedly riots going on due to this fella. At the same time, those moments when the wifi worked, news back here in the US was about the black kid in Chicago who got shot by the white cop in Chicago. It was so weird how the place I was at was talking with such intensity on the issue going on in their world, while the world I am from were discussing a totally different issue and both my worlds were clueless of the other issue. That’s one to remind you that the world isn’t as small as we seem to think it is!

India is so colorful! Its so animated. At my Bhua ji’s house (Aunt – my fathers baby sister) it was like I would be sitting there and all the sudden some vibrant Bollywood song would start playing?!?!?? I’m like what’s going on??? That was basically her doorbell (OMG AWESOME IDEA I WANT A DOORBELL THAT PLAYS CHUNES!!!!) She ran out and grabbed me & she’s like “ohhhh aa ke dekh, sabji waala agaya, you vill fun” (“ohhhh come look! The vegetable man is here!! It’s fun to watch) then came the milk man & the newspaper man!! It was cool how sleepy the afternoons are and then you hear the vegetable guy in his rickshaw screaming in the street so people know he’s there. Kinda like the ice cream man here, sorta!

The reason I went to India with my parents was because I knew this was going to be the one and only time for them to show me our homeland, our family, our home, where we came from. I met family who I never even knew existed, as well as family I saw after many, many years. Now I am so close with them all and it’s soo nice!! That unconditional love you only get from your family is a priceless feeling. It’s nice to know I have a home there (a few actually) that I can go to whenever I tell them my bags are packed, I’m coming.

My next several India posts will be pictorial. The story behind the pics will be in my captions. Watch this space…to be continued…I promise I will post about India (even though I have a new vacation coming up in a few weeks!!!) but for now, here are some random pics:

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These women are BOSS!!!

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I thought the other women were boss but this lady is the BOSS of BOSS. She’s carrying that thing on her head WITH NO HANDS!!!

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Goat Herder in the pindh!! It’s like are we in India or Afghanistan?? And what century?? #ilovethisimagesoooomuch #idonotbelongintodaysdayandage

 

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—My family told me they were taking me for a drive…then surprised me and took this amazing Hanuman temple!!!

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Pretty regularly my family goes to a specific school/shelter for abandoned girls and serves them lunch. These are some of the amazing young ladies.

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This is how traffic gets jammed in the pindh

 My boyfraaanndd, Arun 🙂

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This random cute kid tried to steal me away from Arun by putting on a show. Such a stud!! I almost fell for it buuuuut what can I do! I’m loyal lol

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This girl had soo much spunk!!! Don’t mess with Nargis!!

 

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at a wedding with my cousin sister

 

Hookah Night with my baby nephew! He tried explaining to me how hookah was invented in the villages of Haryana…….LOL

My first encounter of my mother’s land

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It only takes all this to go to India!

It only takes all this to go to India!

Well, I’m semi-lying when I call it my mothers land. Mama Bahri was born and raised in Kenya. But she moved back to India in her teen years and we have a lot of relatives from her side in India.

ANYWAYS, India…India, INDIA. Where do I EVENN begin!!!! Arriving in Delhi airport. I had a long night ahead of me. I could only find a flight with an overnight layover in Delhi (I sorta was trying to do the “trip within a trip” thing here too, but not really bc this was all they had and it was overnight so I wasn’t planning on hanging out in the big bad city by myself at night). I initially thought this layover was going to be tedious and annoying because I just wanted to get to Punjab, take a showerrrrr and see what it looks like, see my family members, and see what situation I was going to be staying/sleeping (!!!)

So lets start with the confusion factor which happens (at least to me) every time I step off the plane into a foreign city. I just follow everyone else bc I don’t know where to go. I saw a bunch of ladies wearing those doctor masks on their mouths (I guess to keep germs away) kinda strange…! Then they handed me an Ebola form to fill out…! #gotcha

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After that I roamed around in duty free and a few of the shops. I needed to find a place to sit and chill for a few hours while I figured out how to kill the night in the airport. I found an uncomfortable place to sit with a loud family who were not controlling their screaming kids, so as tired as I was, I got back up. I walked out to a different corner of the airport and ALL THE SUDDEN something fabulous happened…I heard Bollywood music!!! LOL! Those who know me well know Indian music is THE one thing that perks me up no matter what!!! So, I turn and turn until I discovered it was coming from this FUNKYYYYY, cute, cute little airport bar!!! PERFECTTTT!! I was so excited I had to break out my phone and take a video LOL (which, of course, didn’t give the whole situation justice. BOO!) so I go over and sit. Here begins the beginning of my fabulous evening and fabulous new friends!!!

First thing is first, I noticed (as always in any airport) the prices for a glass of wine were really pricy. I really wouldn’t have cared if they had a bigger list of wines but they barely had anything. The lack of beverage choices was soon made up for from the outstanding company I had that evening! The bartender and the manager were SOOO cool & we clicked instantaneously!!! Honestly, I just figured I would sit at the bar on my phone and people watch for a few hours, but I ended up having the best time hanging out with some cool Delhiites who were sooo lovely, extremely hospitable and fun conversation!! Very helpful too.

I’m very curious about people (especially Indian people) from other parts of the world (especially India) and how they are similar/different from Indians I am used to growing up in the United States. I wont get into what I thought the youngster of India would be like, but I’ll just say these guys were sooo nice, hospitabe, Indianized, hilarious and very kind! I was very happy to have made amazing friends who I am still in touch with now (and who are reading this blog I hope lol) within the first hour of my arrival. After about 5 hours I thought I better stop bothering these guys and let them finish their work LOL. So I went to the overnight lounge area to get a little shut eye before my morning flight to Chandigarh.

The lounge was pretty nice but I basically slept on an oversized chair, which was not AS uncomfortable as it looked. I was so tired though it was fine for a few hours. I must note that I wished the reception here was as amazing as my bar boys…..!

Relaxing in the sleeping lounge on my

Relaxing in the sleeping lounge on my “bed” for the night.

Morning came and I was really annoyed when I checked out from the overnight lounge (or whatever it’s called..I know I keep calling it that, it could be called something completely different!) I was heading out to find my flight and the guy told me I have plenty of time and I should wait. I was very impatient and told him I can wait at the gate. He insisted I wait there.

I finally saw a huge line at the elevator so I was like sorry homie, I’m out and I left. I ended up being LATE and had to RUN because they were CALLING MY NAME because the flight was about to TAKE OFF WITHOUT ME!!! GOD I WAS SO ANNOYED!! What happened next was interesting – all that running and the flight sat there for an hour and a half. Technical problems or whatever. UGH.

Finally plane took off and 45 minutes later I’m in “The City Beautiful” – Chandigarh!!!!! 🙂

GET ME OFF THIS PLANNEEE I WANNA SEE PUNJAB!!!

GET ME OFF THIS PLANNEEE I WANNA SEE PUNJAB!!!

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Unfortunately my luggage didn’t make it and we spent the next 3 hours in the airport as my uncle, who is a lawyer at the high court (whatever that means)threatened …*cough* reasoned/worked with Jet airways to bring my luggage, which they left in Dilli (you have to collect your luggage from the Port of Entry – the dumb kid in JFK told me my bags would go straight to Chandigarh so that wasn’t my fault!! I’m not getting into this story omggg ughhhh).

So yes, I was without my luggage for 3 days. It was lovely going underwear shopping with my whole entire family….!

Oh, one last thing. I spoke about this so I might as well mention, after we FINALLY got outside the Chandigarh airport – I walked out and the first thing I heard was Bhangra!! GOOD BHANGRA MUSIC!! I wanted to start dancing but it was hard as my family was shielding me like crazy! LOL

Delhi Airport has the coolest bathroom stalls I have ever seen in my life!

Delhi Airport has the coolest bathrooms I have ever seen in my life!

I started at this for the hour and half my plane was sitting still in Delhi waiting to take off

I stared at this for the hour and half my plane was sitting still in Delhi waiting to take off