Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fools Gold is often the most valuable!

So it's 1 AM and I can't sleep even though I'm really, really tired. I just keep thinking about things and reliving the emotional roller coaster I've been on these last couple of months. I don't know if it relates to the change in culture, the change in hormones I'm going through or what. I'm just starting to feel like I'm having more emotional swings than a pregnant woman lol. (I promise this is not another complaint blog.)

I'll start with my recent vacation and work my way forward. I was up way too late the night before leaving then got up at 5 AM more awake than ever and raring to go. I was so excited! (A little hard to believe since the whole family was in tow.) We got in the car and I couldn't sleep there either. It was a long day full of laughter and lots of riding in the car. By the time we got to our first hotel I was exhausted but still had plans to meet a new friend that night (another expat married to an Indian who moved here) so the excitement kept me awake. I didn't get in bed until 11 PM. I slept like a baby though. AC going full blast, soft comforter snuggled under my neck. A little piece of heaven after 3 months without all the amenities of the US.

The next day I woke up still excited. We had plans! Do Daddy (that's what I've decided to call hubby's dad and Do means to...pronounced like doe or dough) wanted to see Fatehpur Sikri - Akbar's castle - and so did I and we had plans for the Taj Mahal. Woopy! We drove a lot more but finally arrived.

Fatehpur Sikri was amazing and I highly recommend anyone in a relationship with an Indian to go see it. Akbar had 4 different cultures in his immediate family and the palace is a shrine to all 4. There are designs and artwork from all 4 cultures incorporated in every way possible as his way of saying that the cultures were a welcome addition. (Imagine that...with all the stares we get there are famous Indians in history who married outside of their race! I think it's time for all this modern racist to step aside..ty.) I couldn't help but feel inspired knowing this. The palace was simply gorgeous and is a testament to the intelligence of people in his day. I honestly doubt that any architect in this day and time would put all the resources around him to such good use. The castle was air conditioned naturally! This architectural/history palace is well worth your study time I promise!

Next stop was the Taj Mahal...and wouldn't you know it was closed on Fridays. Bummer. But it's okay because we had such a good time in the car making circles because our driver didn't seem to grasp the concept of asking directions before he made turns. At least hubby and I were laughing at all kinds of stuff. Oh and I must not forget the sights we saw.

Now, I always knew India had drastically poor areas and bad roads. But we turned down the road to Bhatepur which was supposed to lead us to Fatehpur Sikri according to some local. This has got to be the worst road ever but the traffic was thick anyway. There were holes in the road big enough to lose bodies easily and more of them than there was road. We saw women in sari's with their faces completely covered carrying large bowls of rocks on their heads to fill in the holes. There were dung huts and cow dung structures everywhere. There were even cows tied to stakes in front yards. The houses were tiny and hubby explained the cows are the main life line of these families. They supply the milk that the family needs to survive and they chain them up because they can't afford to lose them. It was so sad to see these things and know these people live in such harsh circumstances while I can't help but miss my hot showers.

That road was so long and the condition never got better. Traffic was horrendous as buses traveled each direction along with cars and motorcycles and trucks. We even saw a honeymoon couple hitching a ride on the back of a small truck with bags in tow. That part was really kind of cute and sweet. Those two looked so much in love that even that rough ride couldn't deter them. We did eventually get to Fatehpur Sikri as I've mentioned lol and I'm glad we wound up going the long way. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

We went to Mathura and Vrindivan and saw the temple at the birthplace of Krishna where Do Daddy got in a heated argument with the pandit who was asking for money. Do Daddy promptly told him that donations are not to be asked for in God's house. The temple is supposedly over 5000 years old. It was so amazing. If I can figure out how to post pictures here I will post them.

In Vrindivan we visited the ISKON temple and WOW...just WOW! That temple is so elaborate and the experience was amazing. There were people singing and dancing and we got to watch them parade the Krishna and Radha figures into the temple with fireworks and music. The beauty and history was inspiring. If you're on a budge the Radha Ashok Best Western was OK, not fabulous but OK, and breakfast is included with the room if you book online.

On our drive back it was raining. We were in some city somewhere and I noticed a girl in potato sack clothing carrying a sack almost as big as she was. She couldn't have been a teen yet she was so small. She was trying to avoid traffic and was forced to walk into a puddle on the side of the road and I could see her eyes wincing. Then we passed right as she was in the middle of the puddle and I noticed the water splashing onto her and I saw her eyes wince harder. I felt so heartbroken that she had to go through that. I wanted to smack our driver for driving too close like he didn't care. All I could do was sink in my seat. I still can't get that image out of my mind.

Upon coming home I got really sick after the tiredness set in and that made me depressed. I kept thinking of all that has gone on in my life over the last three years in my struggle to start over and then moving to India and all I've seen and felt here. I'm really not good at being sick. Mostly I just curl up in a ball and sleep it off but that doesn't work here. My family was so worried about me they fussed over me all day long. Eat this, drink that, are you okay, tell me what's going on I'll get the doctor. They really are amazing...and I was grumpy (bleh...).

Now I'm getting better really quick and I'm happy again. I'm sure hubby's starting to wonder if I'm crazy with these mood changes lol. Thank God he loves me is all I can say. Two days after we got back while I was whining about how much my tummy hurt he came and told me that he had just overheard his parents talking about how they believed I was the daughter they had lost so many years ago. His mom gave birth to a baby girl who only lived 6 days and I think it devastated her for a while. I just got so emotional and cried when he said that. They have been so wonderful to me and now they think of me as their true daughter, not daughter in law. That truly is a blessing from God.

Then a holiday comes along (Easter) and I'm back to being sad because I miss my family and I can't find egg dye here. At the same time I'm excited because I'm making chicken lasagna, deviled eggs, glazed carrots and pineapple cake to make up for the missing egg dye. And I'm happy. Happy for all the blessings that keep coming to me in my new life. I think I'm on the worlds most twisted emotional roller coaster but I don't want to get off.

Maybe this is the push/pull craziness that causes India to grab such a hold on people like it does. There is so much bad and so much good it sucks you in and won't let go. You're not sure whether to be upset or happy, on guard or relaxed, mad or excited. When it's hot outside I'm not even sure if I'm really hot or just working on adapting to the temperatures. When the breeze blows and cools me down I'm not sure if it's the breeze or the chilled sweat that's doing the trick. Maybe this is what the saying "Ignorance is Bliss" really means. It's about not stressing over the things that don't matter and just working with the flow of life. In doing so, that is where all the blessings lie....the true Gold in life that no thief can take away.


  1. Ah! Posting pictures is easy. When you are typing in that box of yours, look for a small icon that looks like a picture itself, something greenish. Click on that and it will ask you for the "path" of the picture. Select the picture, and after a few minutes of loading (depending on your internet's speed) it will show you the picture inside of the box you were typing in. Voila! you have the picture you want to post.
    As for the condition of roads between Agra and Fatehpur Sikri, the town you live on has worst roads than the one you are talking about.

  2. Paul, I don't doubt one bit the roads here are just as bad lol. Thankfully I have a local that knows which roads not to take and don't have to go down roads like that here. It just amazes me to see these things, and I don't mean that in an insulting way. It's very enlightening and though provoking and helps me better understand this country. Regardless of the emotions that I go through on seeing these things I can't help but be thankful when I see them. Without understanding a culture you can't fully respect it.