After Bhutan we were to continue eastwards to Thailand and Singapore. But about a month ago we decided to instead take a shortcut through Delhi to Austin. I wanted to meet friends in Delhi, and the kids and Jo thought it would be nice to spend Thanksgiving back in Austin before traveling eastwards.
A day and a half in Delhi is pretty short but we got to meet everyone. We went to Arjun’s parents’ from the airport. I first visited them here 32 years ago. They were younger than I am now, which isn’t saying much, but still. Arjun’s dad took us for lunch to the beautiful Delhi Golf Club, where we ate outside surrounded by huge trees and the golf course and centuries old ruins and the famous Delhi smog. You see the red bandana around Evan’s neck? He’d slip it over his nose occasionally to fight the smog. And in the photo from the golf club you see the bearded guy? When Vivian was a few months short of being three years old she sat at that very table and looked admiringly at Shaunak and said “What a guy!”
We stayed at my friend Mayura’s in Delhi. I’ve known her for about 45 years. We mostly hung inside her lovely home on the outskirts of Delhi and chatted and caught up while the kids remained hooked to their devices. We went to my friend Sanjay’s house for dinner. Rkie came up from Hyderabad literally for dinner. I’ve known Rkie for more than 40 years. Sanjay took me to another room to meet his mother. She mostly stays in bed but her eyes are as bright as sparkling diamonds. When Sanjay asked if she remembered who I was, she said in Punjabi, “Of course. He used to come home for alu parathas”. That was 35 years ago.
Friends are why we came to Delhi – friendships that were started decades ago and sometimes under appreciated for years but rekindled in seconds. You meet a lot of people. You have had hundreds of acquaintances, class mates, kids’ friends’ parents, coworkers, sailing buddies, fellow travelers, soccer team mates, room mates, and possibly plain old mates. And only some of them are friends that you travel to go see. My wise wife posted something from Delhi while I was dragging her around the city to meet people I’ve known longer than she’s been alive. Here’s the screenshot of her post on FB. Yes – I appreciate her observations. And much more.