Last night was rough. Even though I went to bed early’ I tossed and turned well into the morning. At some point during the night, I brought the cot in from the balcony and laid on it because I couldn’t sleep on the bed. The grandmother also came to check on me; she felt my forehead and said I had a fever. She was probably correct because I didn’t feel so hot. I slept for a couple of hours until I woke up at 0800.
We had tea, and the tea made me sweat a little bit. The little boys were watching cartoons on television while Arthi cooked breakfast in the kitchen, and Naveen got ready for work. It was just another Tuesday morning before Arthi & Naveen went off to work. Little boys in India love to watch cartoon just as much as little boys in America. We had a lazy morning. For breakfast, the grandmother had made uppapam. Uppapam is a fine grain made out of cracked wheat. They serve this at the hospital, but this was better.
The plan was for Malaethi to arrive, and we were to go shopping in Gandhipuram.
Malathi & Priyanka arrived about 12noon. Even though we don’t speak the same language, we managed to make do. Arthi returned for lunch at 1:30pm. We ate white rice with gravy. After lunch, Malathi, Priyanka, Arthi, and I headed down to Gandipuram for shopping. Malathi is a beautician, so she had come to town to pick up some supplies. We entered into Sree Kumaran Thangamaligai, a jewelry shop. We sat down, and I observed all of the wonderful collections: bells, platters, necklaces, earrings, anklets, bangles. They were beautiful. They started bringing out pieces of jewelry: anklets, earrings, bangles, necklaces. They were beautiful. Then Malathi started holding the earrings up to my ears, the anklets up to me, the necklaces around my neck. Arthi informed me that Malathi had wanted to gift a special piece to wear to show the appreciation for visiting with her. The entire family enjoyed my time with them over the last couple of days, and they wanted to show their appreciation. I literally cried tears of joy when I heard that. I couldn’t hold back the tears. I explained to Arthi that her family has provided me with an inside view of true Indian culture. She welcomed me into her home on Friday night with open arms. Since then, I had become part of her family. You don’t know the impact you have on someone’s life- always show love. Even though there was a language barrier among the family, I don’t think I will ever be able to forget the way we communicated over the past couple of days. We decided on anklets. In India, you purchase 2 anklets and wear them around both ankles. Malathi wears her anklets daily, so everytime I look at my anklets, I will think of her and my time experiencing true Indian culture. However, the anklets didn’t look superb around my ankles with my green colored Keen hiking sandals, so I knew my next purchase would be a pair of ‘girlie’ sandals.
We continued to explore Gandipuram and shop. Over the past couple of weeks,I have been walking the streets, exploring, and window shopping by myself. With these ‘true’ Indian ladies by my side, I experienced shopping differently. First off, they knew the language and the streets. We walked, shopped, dined, and enjoyed each other’s company. In the states, I’ve always been taught to purchase items in stores as opposed to street vendors. As we were shopping, we explored and viewed the street vendors more than we entered the stores. We walked down the way, stopped near a ‘juice bar’, and drank mango juice. First off, mango juice is absolutely delicious! I loved it- it was warm, a little frothy, and delicious. At this ‘side of the street’ vendor, they serve the juice in glasses, not paper cups. You drink the juice, return the cup, continue on you way. We stopped by another street vendor selling ‘girlie’ stuff. We tried on earrings and bangles. We decided on two sets of earring, and hair bands. We passed a couple of ‘chappal’ shops (shoe/sandal), and I inquired about them. Arthi and Malathi both told me ‘no’ as they knew a street vendor down the way. We approached the street vendor, looked at the sandals, and settled on a pair with ‘jewels’ on them. They are ‘pretty’ & ‘girlie’ sandals that make the anklets look nice, unlike my hiking sandals. Now, I have 3 pairs of shoes on this trip! We continued to stroll and explore. Arthi left us as she had to return to work. Malathi, Priyanka, and I continued to explore.
We passed another street vendor selling a concoction of food. Malathi ordered 3 ‘bowls’ of something for us to eat. We ate this delicious food made of peanuts, carrots, cilantro, onions, and other delicious edible items. Priyanka’s had corn in it. We all ate while we waited for Naveen, Arthi’s husband, to take me back to AVP. Over the past couple of days, I have felt part of an Indian culture. The departure was bittersweet. As much as I wanted my own space, a matress, time to relax, I did not want to leave this family. The entire family welcomed me into their family with open, welcoming, and loving arms. However, at the same time, I did not want to overstay my welcome. Naveen dropped me at the hospital where I was welcomed by the hospital crew.
Sarah and her ‘gang’ we sitting outside chit chatting when I strolled up. We had a short discussion about the ‘outside’ world before we all retired for the night. Sarah and I chit chatted a little bit before we called it an early night at 10pm.