Tag Archives | Delhi

Monday Listicles: 10 Photos, 10 Wishes

This Monday’s listicle comes at the request of Kim, at Zook Book Nook: she’s having a new baby, maybe even right this very minute, and she wanted to create a series of blog posts about “the senses.”  This week’s series is about “sight,” so we were asked to put together our ten favorite photos.

The people who really know how to work this here newfangled internet thing did pinterest and instagram and all that stuff, and others simply posted lovely, wonderful photos, probably culled from their immaculately cataloged digital archives.

Yeah. Well. Yay for them. Me, not so much.

Husband has done an admirable job of cataloging many of our photos but many (most?) are scattered around any number of hard drives, any number of photo file systems.  So some things are right there where they should be but, for instance, most of 2005 is missing.

So I can’t put my hands on my favorite photos, or not all of them anyway, but here are some photos that could be seen as wishes…

1. May your diapers never account for most of your total body weight:

two year old Caleb

2. May you know the joy (mostly) of an older sibling:

boys, City Palace in Jaipur

3. May you know the joy of silly hats (and silly walks, also fart jokes):

4. May you have the gift of imagination and the empty time in which to exercise that gift:

5.  May you have the gift of music:

Washington Square Park, NYC, 2010

6. May you have the gift of art:

sand painting, Union Square Park NYC, 2011

7.  May you have adventures:


8. May you have mysteries…

a screened window, Humayan’s Tomb, Delhi

9. …and beauty…

Rub-al-kali, The Empty Quarter

10. …and peace:

Sedgewood, New York State


Continue Reading · on November 28, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, birth, Children, family, Monday Listicle, NYC, NYUAD, Travel

Delhi Driving

There is a Formula One racetrack in Abu Dhabi.  Before I moved here, I had no idea that people “follow” Formula One in much the same way that people follow baseball or football (both the pigskin kind and the run-run-kick kind).  The racetrack raises a chicken-and-egg question for me: did they build a racetrack here because Abu Dhabians drive like maniacs, or do Abu Dhabians drive like maniacs because there’s a racetrack in town?  Do people in Indianapolis drive like maniacs because of the Indy 500?

The game here seems to be “how fast can you go between stop lights,” a game that’s also known as “ha-ha you didn’t know I was changing lanes, sucka.”  Maseratis, Ferraris, Porsches, the occasional Lamborghini, flash by in blurs of color and tail pipes, while the taxi drivers try gamely (terrifyingly) to keep up.  In order to move traffic more quickly, major intersections have “free right turn,” a lane that allows cars to turn right without stopping or slowing down for traffic signals or pesky obstacles like pedestrians.

Up until November 3, I thought Abu Dhabi would be a terrifying place to be a driver (it’s also a hair-raising place to be a pedestrian).

What happened on November 3, you ask? Simple. We went to India.

We’d arranged to be picked up from the airport with Namaste Tours and then to have a half-day tour of Delhi the next day with the same driver.  We figured that for the rest of our stay in Delhi, we’d manage on our own.  Our drive from the airport was so hair-raising, however, we decided on the spot to hire the amazing Prem Singh and his white Innovia mini-van for our entire time in Delhi, and our time in Agra, too.  (If you’re ever in that part of India, you want Namaste on your speed dial. In all senses of that word. Trust me. You want Namaste at the wheel). Prem:

Because Prem was driving, we were free to watch (with a white-knuckled grasp on our seatbelts) the Darwinian game of chicken that passes for driving in India.

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Continue Reading · on November 17, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, Travel, UAE

shampoo and profoundity: trying to write about india

We survived our trip to India: nine days, two kids, four people, one hotel room, three long train rides, many ruins, one safari, a smattering of elephants and crocodiles (but no tigers), a snake charmer, and the requisite souvenirs: scarves, bangles, carved Ganeshas (Caleb’s patron saint, we’ve decided), and a small but exquisite rug (which I’m sure I got for a great price because the salesman told me so: “for you, madam, very good price, the best price”).

I understand now why people go to India and never come back.  They’ve been hypnotized by the whiplash of extremes, seduced by the flash of a hot-pink sari sliding through the crowds at a train station.  The scent of Delhi’s polluted air—a combination of wood-smoke and chemicals—wafted out of our suitcase when we got back and today, three days later, when I found the sweatshirt that Liam had been wearing on our last day in India wadded into a ball under his bed, the smell was still there. It clings, gets under your skin, into the cracks.

We didn’t do anything extreme on this trip, which was eight days in the “Golden Triangle:” Delhi, then a side-trip to Ranthambore National Park for a tiger-spotting safari (hide-and-seek with tigers, tigers won), then Jaipur, Agra, and back to Delhi.  There were tour buses rumbling through each city and idling outside every monument (I guess they figure the air is already polluted, so what’s a few more particulates) but even with this clear evidence of an entire culture being packaged into little postcard-sized niblets, I think we gave ourselves a tiny taste of “real” India (train travel contributes mightily to this sense of authenticity, I have to say).  This taste-of-India trip felt like it was “ours,” but it seems impossible to write about any of it without falling into a deep crevasse of ridiculous cliché.

I’m writing this post while my cleaning lady, a lovely woman from Sri Lanka cleans my apartment and with the haze of Delhi still in my head, I can’t help but wonder what F. thinks of the abundance with which we surround ourselves. Lining the edge of my shower, for example, are three kinds of shampoo (one belongs to Husband), a body soap, an almost empty jar of conditioner, a new container of conditioner, a tub of “hair masque,” two razors, face soap, and a tube of exfoliating  stuff that I got for free when I bought my face cream.  The counter is littered with shaving cream, face lotions, body lotions, and assorted other tubes and tubs and vials.  And that’s just my bathroom.  There’s also the kids’ bathroom and all their cleaning products; and don’t even get me started on the tech in our lives, on the clutter of cords and ipads and ipods and laptops and desktops and television-related boxes and cables and plugs.

But even this observation is a cliché: to return from India aghast at the over-abundance of Western lives.  I suppose to completely fulfill the cliché, I should be giving away all but the barest essentials, but I’m not. I loves me my Frederic Fekkai shampoo, dammit, and his conditioner, and given the desalinated water that comes out of the pipes here, the tub of deep conditioner is a necessity, not an option.  So it’s not like I’m going to go all ashram-austerity here, but still. The abundance of my life means that I should never, ever complain about anything, pretty much ever again. (I can hear my husband cracking up at this last line and saying something about “then what the else will you talk about,” but I’m going to ignore that in favor of higher order thinking.) Continue Reading →

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Continue Reading · on November 13, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, environment, expat, Travel

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