Saturday night Chris’ dad left for the airport to catch a plane back to America. We are alone in our house for the first time in over two months.
We were only in India for 10 days before Chris’ parents arrived and while it is always wonderful to have them around, there is a certain peace to knowing that I have a month’s reprieve before I have to start cooking dinner for four or more adults every night again and brewing 12 cups of coffee at 5:30 every morning. Both Chris’ mom and dad will be back in December, but for now it’s just us.
Saturday, while Chris’ dad packed, we ran over to Connaught for Chris to visit a “bespoke tailoring” shop while I had plans to scour Shankar market in search of velcro. Turns out, the market didn’t need much scouring. Our first stop was a ribbon store and, at 30 rupees a yard, buying velcro in Delhi turned out to be just about the easiest and cheapest non-food purchase I’ve made since we got here.
In the alleyway behind the ribbon store, we caught a glimpse of two men manning giant vats bubbling over in shades of turquoise and hot pink, dying lace. They poured powdered dyes into the bubbling pots, checked the color against a piece of lace taped to a bright white piece of paper, and then adjusted the mix time and time again. Watching them, it occurred to me what a specialized skill it must be to get the colors to turn out exactly the same, batch after batch, without any written formulas, recipes or measuring utensils.
Last fall I spent many incredibly sleep-deprived hours holding infant Will while he napped. For the first 4 months of his life I couldn’t put him down. I didn’t have the free hands necessary to cook or write, nor the functioning brain cells to do much else productive and so–enter Pinterest. The thing about Pinterest is that it is sometimes too inspiring, too full of felted and crafty goodness–so much so that it makes a person do crazy things. Like request a glue gun and a stack of “fall-colored” felt for Christmas to make an “autumnal wreath,” in spite of a rather serious lack of timeliness, craftiness, and hand-eye coordination.
Which brings us back to the velcro from Shankar Market. 1 year later, I finally made that darn Thanksgiving-y wreath. I McGiver’ed a wreath base out of some old packing materials and duct-taped them into a vaguely circular shape. Then I alternated wrapping yarn, tangling yarn, and muttering strings of expletives for an hour while Will napped. Then I burned myself with a glue gun a dozen times trying to make felt flowers and finally (finally!) I velcro-ed my autumnal felt nightmare onto my wreath base.
I used velcro instead of the glue gun for the last step on the theory that velcro would allow me to switch out the embellishments seasonally–potentially accommodating a whole year’s worth of holidays with just one wreath (I am nothing if not efficiency-minded). Of course that presupposes I’m capable of summoning up the motivation to see this felted grand plan through to the end. As I explained to Chris’ sister the other day, I’m only crafty until I reach the half-way mark in a project–at which point I usually say “screw it! good enough!” and slap the rest together with all of the precision and focus of a drunken monkey eating pixie sticks.
Moving on. Sunday morning, our first morning without house guests, we were sorely tempted to sleep in and slovenly lounge around the house all day, but we had made a 7am date for a walk through Old Delhi with a couple of friends. So we slammed some cold coffee, doused Will in bug spray and away we went to the old Muslim quarter.
We stopped for some chole bhatura and watched as the vendor’s son scooped the puffy balls of fried dough out of the boiling oil and onto a plate with a dish of stewed chickpeas for us. We drank chai and watched men receive early morning street-side shaves and hair cuts and people scrubbing clothes on the pavement and ironing trousers with antique coal-powered irons. There were delivery men pulled towering stacks of shoes and fabrics on pull-carts and and bicycle rickshaw drivers offering their goods and services every few steps.
The air was thick with fog and smoke but the scenery was interesting and the people mostly friendly, as usual. Afterwards, for a bit of unintended dramatic contrast, and to satisfy a serious breakfast craving, we headed over to the Imperial Hotel for the fastest all-you-can-eat breakfast we’ve ever had. It was a bit of a gamble taking a couple of overtired babies out for breakfast after our morning in Old Delhi, but we all managed to eat and down 2 cups of coffee each before the kids let us know it was time to leave.
I had hoped to get some nice shots during our walk, but my camera was acting a bit wonky and sluggish and my SD chips kept failing. Also, and I hate to admit this, but I’ve got a bit of camera envy. I’m just a hobbyist with a lot to learn, but it was eye-opening today to listen to the machine-gun cadence of our friends’ camera shutters firing over and over while I watched my shots blur out of focus waiting for my own shutter to close on just one frame. I’ve tried every combination of ISO, aperture and shutter speed possible to try and get both the speed I need and the clarity I would like, but the inherent, fleeting “capture-the-moment-before-it-before-it’s-over” nature of taking photos on the street simply seems to require a bit more from my camera than it will probably ever be able to deliver. Oh well. Photography is just a hobby for me and there is still lots of life left in my little Rebel.
How was your weekend? What did you do?