Hello good people, I'm a bit late posting as I've been busy in Bangalore with my mothers birthday party and a short trip to Pune to visit my sister and her family. I also visited friends and relatives who waited till the last week to stuff me full of food, making it impossible to fly back to the UK in the same clothes I went to India in. Fortunately, I know that this happens, and always carry at least one outfit that is a size larger than my usual, so that I didn't have to fly back looking and feeling like a stuffed pillow. Now that I'm home, I've developed a stinking cold, but have had to go to work - after such a long leave of absence, it would be unfair to my colleagues and patients to extend my time away. Anyway, enough with the excuses!!
So in the end, my mother had not one but two celebrations. After all the fuss and make believe embarrassment, she 'allowed' us to throw her a birthday party and invited a hundred people to lunch the previous day herself!! A prayer was said at a temple of her choice after which we all trooped back home to lunch where a marquee had been set up, caterers brought in food and she seemed to enjoy herself thoroughly.
Every surface that could possibly be festooned with marigold garlands was decorated, including a couple of tree trunks. Mum inspected the food and agreed that it looked palatable before she let her guests loose on it. In a complete departure from the norm, she served beer and biriyani as well as the regular vegetarian fare that is usual after a visit to the temple - at 90 she is pretty untraditional!
I had cousins come all the way from Canada and from far flung places in India, and all in all it was a fun party. As soon as the last guest left, we went into 'we must rest, we must rest up or we will be exhausted tomorrow' mode. A masseuse was brought in to give all the ladies a good rub down, to prepare us for the next day and we chilled out so that we could be sure to have fun at the party the next evening.
My sister in law and I were throwing the party for mum the next day - we wanted so much to have it by the poolside, but it rained ferociously at about 6pm. We were anxious that a repeat performance would destroy all our plans, and moved the party indoors. We decorated the room with banners and bunting, and then it was time to have some serious fun. Sonali, a very talented artist had painted a portrait of mum from some photographs I had sent her, and we set that up on an easel at the entrance to the room. We had a saxophonist play soft music for us and with the cocktail bar open, we were ready to rock.
Two of the ladies even wore Caprilicious!!
Mum was pleased with her party and said she enjoyed the speeches. After this, we had the masseuse come in again - her pay packet was stupendous, but I'll bet her arms ached that week. The rest of the holiday was an anti climax, and all I wanted to do was rest, although I did fly out to Pune for a couple of days to visit with my sister and her family, and got invited out to dinner most nights, so much so I put on a load of weight eating out every day.
On the 18th of April, the whole of India celebrated a festival where all the women buy a piece of jewellery to ensure prosperity throughout the year - I'm sure this festival was invented by jewellers and though I'm a heathen non believer, I thought it was a good enough excuse to go out and buy myself a couple of pieces of siver jewellery from my favourite jeweller on Commercial Street in Bangalore. After all, when in Rome, etc. etc.
It took me a couple of weeks before I could post here, and I truly missed my routine. However, I could see that I was quickly becoming a nuisance, asking to borrow the office laptop at night and having to wake up early to return it before anyone needed it.
I'm back home now, over the jet lag and back at the day job, so will be posting more regularly.
Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.