We have arrived in India, where we will spend the next three months exploring as much as we can possibly jam into one itinerary.
For many months, we have had the opportunity to learn how India has affected many friends. We have watched the eyes of people like Bernard, Bob, José, Arthur Frommer, Sarah, Mr. Singh, Dan and Margot light up as they described their own experiences in this land, which just now seems so mysterious to us.
But special thanks – and a dedication of my postings on this country – are given to the lovely Sunita Jariwala-Gajjar. She was an incredible resource for Don in his planning of this trip. She and her handsome husband Jay Gajjar may live now in Brooklyn like all cool New Yorkers, but they continually inspire and intrigue us with the stories, the food and the culture of India. We will try to do them proud as we explore their country.
We have begun in Chennai, after a very long flight from London. We seem to have missed a night somewhere, so we are a bit groggy today. The airport at Chennai is very modern, but rivals Las Vegas in its use of light and color, guaranteed to catch your attention at 5:30 AM.
Our driver was waiting and took us to our hotel, about an hour from the airport as dawn was breaking. It was quite a trip. Everything that seems to come with India was on the display on the road sides. Buildings that could only be called hovels with an excess of generosity, stray dogs, roaming cows, and color everywhere. Indians seem to abhor blank walls, so paint and posters abound. And the people – walking, sweeping, standing, talking, eating – added any missing colors of the rainbow with their clothing.
And then there is our hotel. It is almost shocking in its stark modernity and clean lines. We love the drama of it, but it is clear we have entered a separate world.
Luckily for us, we have a lovely suite to relax in as we get used to our new life – which is probably quite similar in its luxury to the old life of the Raj, when the Brits ruled supreme.
I have to say, one could get used to this, but it is only a tiny part of what we hope to experience.