Indore Trip

on 10th morning, we took the one hour flight to Indore (madhya pradesh) operated by Jet Airways and came back on the night of the 11th. Spent the day and half with Raam Maamaa-maamii (My mother's maternal uncle) and their children Santosh Maamaa-Sangeeta maamii and their children Shubhra and Charudatt. They are a musical family and it was very plesant to be with them, enjoy the VCDs of Santu maamaa's programs, and listen to Raam maamaa and the grand children sing and play instruments in harmony.

Weather in Indore was hot (about 32 to 45 Degrees Celsius = 90F to 113F) and very dry (<60% humidity) and reminded me very much of Albuquerque and Phoenix without the AC!! Maamaa's home was cool by the grace of the giant evaporative cooler and we pretty much stayed indoor (Indore - pun intended) during the day and ventured out only in the evening. The heat also made us very thirsty and we felt exhausted without doing much activity. First day was pretty much spent recuperating from the exhaustion but on the second day we did a lot of small sight seeing and purchasing but I will remember the heat.

On the 10th afternoon, we experienced the culture of the state of Rajasthan without leaving Indore (with is in the state of Madhya Pradesh). The place is called "Nakharaalii DhaaNii" and had several games and cultural shows representing the neighbouring state of Rajasthan. The food was excellent and I had the pleasure of experiencing three new items: baajre kaa khichaDaa, maalpuwaa and baaphalaa. Of course, all other items on the menu (including aamras and paneer curry) were excellent in taste. Not only did we play jhulaa and ride a camel but we also danced to pop music (hindi as well as english) and participated in the folk dances. IT was an evening to remember.

On the second morning (11th) I ventured out for a morning walk with Raam Maamaa. He showed me several temples in his neighborhood (including that of Venkatesh-Balaji) and introduced me to many of his friends that he keeps in touch only by walking with them. Since maamaa jii also teached music, many regarded him with immense respect and received blessings from him along his way. He and I had great conversations. He is now 77 but defies his age by his active lifestyle. He cooked deliecious rabaDii for our lunch while we went shopping later.

The travel between Mumbai & Indore by Jet Airways was a pleasant surprise for me. The service was without much delay, and served full course meal for both flights even though the duration of the flight was only 1 hour or so. The staff was couteous and the fare reasonable. We paid Rs 8k round trip per person for these direct 1 hr flights. not bad, I think. Jet and many other other airlines are making travel withing india easier. I am sure in a few years, the transportation market will experience price reductions due to competition. Looking forward to that.

We are now back in Bombay and spent the day here in Thane with my brother and his family (Girish-Deepali-Nihaar). In the evening, we spent soem time with Nihar's counsellors from school to hear about his progress reports. Then we went to the Mulund Shoprrite Hyuper Mall, the new mall which includes shops like shoprite, shoppers stop and My Dollar Store. The experience taught us that the craze for cheap buys is not just an american thing. Everything is Rs 99 (about $2) in this store trying to mimic American dollar stores. Then we dined at the McDonalds with Paneer Salsa Wrap and Veggie Burger combo. The McD atmosphere here was very different from that in an american McD.

Now we will embark on a 3-4 day road trip to Pali-Karajgaon-Khed and back to see more of our family and the Konkan beaches...