Sunday, August 17, 2008

Monsoon, Independence Day, and Rakshabandhan

What I thought was monsoon really wasn't. The last few days apparently have really been monsoon. It rains hard all day. Then you get a little sun, no cloud visible, and in the next ten minutes you get a downpour. August 14th, the day before Independence Day friends invited us to see Noida and NRI City, Nehru Place (an electronics market), and a family farm belonging to the driver. It turned out not to be a great day to drive around the area. Besides the fact that it rained all day, many roads were blocked for security reasons so there were humongous traffic jams all over the place. We spent a lot of time, finding "scenic routes" to get places. We did see NRI (Non-Resident Indian) City, "integrated living at international standards", a new development for and by NRIs out near the airport. It's sort of a neat concept, because I believe they are offering homes with amenities most of us would expect. And the prices are not bad. If I wanted to stay in the Delhi area, I would move there in a minute. But, apparently, they have run into problems with titles and things that have made NRIs nervous. Too bad. There's a freeway there that is very nice, the Greater Noida Expressway, which is sort of sybolic of the difference between NRI City and the rest of Delhi (India?). I have to add that our friends were in the front seat, one driving, driving very fast in hard driving rain, WITHOUT THEIR SEATBELTS. Like the backseat driver from hell, I told them clearly (from the back seat where the seatbelts had been neatly put away) that they should have their seatbelts on. One of them diplomatically pointed out that there was a big difference between the U.S. and India. That the U.S. was far ahead of India. And left his seatbelt off.
All this had taken us so long, we headed home without seeing the farm (too wet) or Nehru Place. After hours in traffic jams, we approached the Yamuna Bridge near our neighborhood. This traffic jam was caused by the fact the bridge was flooded. I would like to tell you there was one lane that was not under water, but that would not be true. Our car started taking on water, and the truck in front of us was stalling. I honestly thought I might drown. All the rickshaw drivers were pushing their vehicles. Apparently, there was a pump pumping water under the bridge.

Three little kite fliers on their roof (those are 2 black water tanks which all bldgs have on their roof, and a little temple on the roof across the street from us.)

Independence Day is August 15th, and one of the things people do is fly kites. Most people are off work; the kids are off school. And they visit with friends in the street. It was a wonderful day. The sky was magnificent.


Raju, Bhanu, Suman, Harsh, Krishna

Suman and Krishna

Punam and Ashish preparing to leave in the rain

Rakshabandhan - Suman feeding Raju a sweet

The day after Independence Day was Rakshabandhan, a festival where everyone visits their brother, gives them a special bracelet and special bindi, and solidifies the bond between brothers and sisters. It was a wonderful day. We all got bracelets. R.K. had his sister-in-law, Puja, and her brother, Ashish, come and give Gopal and me a bracelet and a special bindi and sweets. It was very nice. Krishna's daughter Suman and her son Harsh came from Uttar Ranchal for the festival. The evening of Rakshabandhan

Gopal and I had dinner at Ashish Soni's with his parents and his sister Puja. It was really nice to see them in their home and spend time with them. The food was wonderful, and the service great. It was a very nice end to a really great day.

Raju and Harsh

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