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A two-week trip in India is not that long at all. Too short to get properly acquainted with the way bread tastes so different (yet delicious), but long enough to fall ill in that special and agonizing way (chills, diarrhea and puking, it’s a party!).
Brevity aside there are some details I can’t leave out:
1. I am too fat for rickshaws. I knew this was true, because from what I’d seen, three Indian women could comfortably fit on rickshaws, every day, pretty much all the time. But when my sister (my THIN sister) and mother took a seat and I joined them in the middle, it did not go as planned. More like my ass bones were digging in their thighs, which they were not very happy about. I myself was terribly upset, ’cause no one wants to be upstaged by their native folk. But fat and upstaged I was. Apparently I need one rickshaw all to myself, complete with a pillow for my achy fat back, and a platter of Indian sweets since I guess all I do is eat all day. I can only hope that the abundance of fast food chains in India will fill out the thin girls in years to come (thus supplying me with faux self-esteem upon my future visits). I can only hope.
2. Textile shops are full of young boys who are experts in the trade of women’s wear! Indeed, go to any decent textile shop in India, and they will seat you in this room (sometimes with bench seating, sometimes cross-legged on the floor), then welcome in the throng of adolescent boys. The boys never say a thing, but as you mention different colours of saris you’d like to see, they reach towards the shelves lined with clothing, throwing down option after option. They then remove the fabric from the clear packages, draping each one against their bodies. I never would have imagined 14-year-old boys draped in saris, but it helps when they’re in that “middle” phase of growth, when the shoulders aren’t yet too broad. The smaller the shoulders, the more we can envision ourselves in these very saris. So yay for boys draped in saris, who were crucial in my purchase decisions.
3. Indians effin’ LOVE their gold. I could have sniffed this one out from my very own upbringing, as my parents have always been obsessed with melting down and then re-casting their gold. From chandelier earrings to big fat man-rings to huge necklaces, gold is the ticket! And in India, there are so many freakin’ gold stores. Sure, you can call them “jewelry” stores if you want, but when you enter inside and wonder if the sun is shining bright at high noon? You’ll decide for yourself that there’s ass-loads of gold on display. What I liked most is that the jewelry store owners TREATED us like gold, if you don’t mind my use of a horrible pun. They had little boys working at the shops, and they would run out to the restaurant next door, to bring us fresh tea in glass mugs, or Sprite, or sweets, or whatever we desired. Meanwhile deep discussions on melting and re-casting ensued. That part I found a little boring, but I knew it was important. In fact any Indian cause for celebration (engagements, weddings, birth celebrations) involve the gifting of gold, even if you don’t have money. An absence of gold-gifting is frowned upon I’m sure, so skip your meals for a month, but you sure as hell better have a stockpile of thick and golden man-chains (or possibly anklets, for those uncles who live life outside the box).
It seems fitting to end this year’s blogging on the topic of gold, not because my blog is golden, but because it’s Christmas, and there’ll be golden foil-wrapped chocolates a plenty (three-inch belly expansion predicted).
And on that note, I hope everyone has a festive holiday. I shall return sometime in January, with the same URL but a different theme, since I tend to get repulsively sick of myself.
Happy New Year and thanks for reading. See you in 2010…
finding your blog was undoubtedly my early xmas gift.
Thanks so much for keeping me entertained, you’ve got a fan for life in me.
Here’s hoping you have a great 2010…and ill expect a new blog by 1st Jan 2010!…ok ok…I’ll give you a day or 2 to recover…
You got that right The Burg! Let’s eagerly anticipate Romi’s 2010 blog!
What a great way to end 2009, tales of chills, diarrhea, and puking. Fun!
1. What’s these weakling rickshaw drivers anyway?
2. 14 year old boys in women’s wear shops? Holy crap. For real, huh?
3. May the golden gifts come your way soon Romi! Thanks so much another entertaining year of your blog posts. 🙂
Shocks, Romi… this year sure went by fast! I’m looking forward to both your upcoming novel, and the new blog. May the bling bling, the chocolate kind, be with you!
I love it, as always. See you next year! Rest up…2010 is your year to entertain us all…books, magazines…Oprah…
You should visit Turkey sometime, I think you will find it shockingly similar to India. Especially the gold markets and the helpful young shop boys. You can get a full meal here by just pretending you’re going to buy something!
As for clothes, the coolest ones I’ve ever seen and worn have come from the Indian Subcontinent. Those guys know how to dress. I had alot of friends in college from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka–and they were the coolest-dressed I’ve ever seen. One reason, I think, is the absence of a collar on a shirt. I have a shirt like that, made in Bangladesh, and I love it. Unfortunately, I’m too fat to wear it right now, but hopefully I’ll be able to get another like it in a 3X. There’s just something about that lack of a collar–it looks so spiritual, monastic, as if the wearer is a sage. The colors are also fantastic–subtle patterns of subtle colors–especially brown.
Also, it makes perfect sense to me about the boys’ knowledge of women’s wear. I take it they’re not the designers, but still…Here in the U.S., most fashion designers (for women’s fashions) are women, or homosexual men. This has never made sense to me. People claim to select fashions for themselves–but that’s the secondary reason. The primary reason is to attract members of the opposite sex. In other words, if there were no men on this planet, women wouldn’t be so selective in their clothing styles–just as we men wouldn’t care how our clothes looked, if there were no women. So, in my opinion, the best fashion designers for women are heterosexual men–and the best fashion designers for men are heterosexual women.
After all, we humans are animals. And we cannot escape our instinctual courtship drive. The only thing unusual about us is that it’s the females who are beautiful (if indirectly, through makeup), and the males who are plain. In every other species, it’s the males that are beautiful, and the females that are plain. I’m don’t know why this is–but it may be one of the causes of our evolution into humans–or it may be a result of our evolution.
Hi Romi, it’s me- Anne (formerly known as JQ14) – I enjoy reading your blog and wish you and yours Happy Holidays too 🙂 Have a brilliant New Years and I look forward to many more great stories xoxoxHUGSxoxox
Looking forward to your 2010 theme, just as I enjoyed your 2009 (and 2008) theme!
May the chocolate be worth it!
Happy new year to you, Romi, and looking forward to another blog year to come!
You opening a whole new blog then, or continuing in this one?
Hello to you!
Hey, hey, hey, Romi! I just discovered your blog. Now, you’re not going to quit now, are you? It’s so entertaining! Ghana and India have something in common, the love of gold!! But I really love the boys modeling saris!
Happy New Year!
Well the rickshaws are pretty conjusted!
I’m just catching up on my blogs. Finally got to this. I love your India trip. Ass too big for a rickshaw! LMAO They size them for Indian people not Canadians! Great post sweetie.
Romi! Where are yoooooooooooooooou? 🙂
OK, I read your article and i hope you will come India again to enjoy . I also love gold .
Romi, I just read your comments on the agency thread..congrats!…hope all is going well. She has my manuscript..also a cross cultural story..hopefully I will be as fortunate as you. Keep on writing! and best of luck with selling your manuscript.
Thanks a lot Annielaural, and best of luck to you too on your MS! 🙂