What an incredibly lazy morning I had. I pulled myself out of bed around 9.30 and wandered downstairs in my new cotton nightie/kaftan affair. Collapsed on the sofa and was waited on hand and foot by the caring family and the ever-smiling Choto.
To help us alleviate the aches and pains of the long journey, a lady from the village was coming to give us a full body massage. I let A go first, just to ensure she was OK. Brave, aren't I ?! Then it was my turn. So, there I am, face down on my hostess' bed having some sort of oil being rubbed in places that even my Hubby didn't know existed. You have heard of the G spot, well I think she found my Z spot.
I must admit to feeling a tad embarrassed when one of my toes became entwined somewhere in her groin area. She was massaging my arm at the time and became quite ecstatic as she moaned 'Beautiful. Beautiful.' She should have gone to Specsavers.
Little by little she pushed, pulled and pummelled my body until I felt totally chilled, which was quite an achievement considering the temperature. She spoke little English and I spoke less Hindu. I believe she told me that her work was to help put her children through school and her husband was a bathroom tiler. Must get his number. She possibly went away thinking my daughter was a typist and Hubby a grave-digger following my efforts at Charades!!
Another feast had been prepared for my delectation before we set out for a trip to see one of the highlights of the festival here. We crowded into the cars. Well, not as crowded as others we saw but definitely crowded by UK standards. I have long since abandoned any attempts at finding seatbelts because you don't know whose body parts you will grasp.
After parking in a minuscule spot, I was warned to stay close. I didn't need telling twice and stuck to them like glue. After being introduced to a couple of dignitaries we were taken to front row seats. Some poor souls were ejected again. The stands were heaving with people. I stared and stared but I was the only white face there. No wonder people stared at me.
Across the field were three enormous effigies of gods. They were filled with firecrackers. After an eternity of speeches and photographs (some of us) the 'fun' began. The play depicting the fighting between Lord Ram and his enemies took place on stage. As they were finally defeated a flaming arrow was fired at the effigies.
Never, in all my life, have I heard or seen anything like it. Frightened me to death. What a racket! Firecrackers sounded like bombs going off. Then the moment when I realised Health and Safety had not reached this area. The crowd surged forward as one towards these burning Wickermen. The local custom is to try and grab a piece of the wood to bring good luck to your house for the coming year. Ignoring the fact that a gigantic burning head was about to topple on them, people leaped in and out of the area.
This was our time to make a quick exit. One or two firecrackers missed my legs. That reminded me of Jane Barratt's Bonfire Party when a Jumping Jack left my first pair of stockings in tatters. I skipped and dodged the burny bits and followed our Host's son -lovely lad- back to the car.
We had to hang around for a while as the crowd came out like after-the-match fans The car was jostled a little but there was soon a gap for us to do a very neat little three point turn before going home.
The game of Carrom has become quite a favourite during this trip. I am not an Cupertino but I like it. Unusually the board is placed on your bed and you sit on the bed trying to flick the counters into the corner hole. My expertise is potting the large white one. Any counter I may have acquired has to be returned I am an expert in acquiring a minus score. Please Father Christmas will you put this on my list??
Having been fed a few snacks, I thought that our food intake had finished. After all, it was almost 10pm. Ha ha the evening had just begun. Back to the car for a game of 'Who sits Where?' And a trip to the local restaurant to meet up with friends.
The older men had their own table. The rest of us were divided into veggie and non-veggie. I was in the minority former category. I was craving gnawing on a bone. I would like to tell you what I ordered but all I can say is it involved chicken.
We meat eaters were served first with a chicken leg. That was all. Just a chicken leg. The veggies waited and waited. They were vegetating - GROAN!! Mrs S was not amused that they had to wait. She went into magistrate mode and headed off to see someone. Well, that caused a bit of a furore. The women don't normally complain. They leave it to their husbands.
It did the trick. Well, half the trick. Their soup arrived in a large bowl but no little bowls to put it in. So they waited some more. Meanwhile we received more chicken with other bits and bobs. Now some of the chicken looked too pink for my taste so I nibbled the edge and put the napkin over the remainder.
The service was so slow. I felt like the dormouse at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party (I'm sure Jane Barratt played that part in Junior School. Gosh, that's twice I've mentioned my old school pal. If this blog goes viral, she will too!)
Thank goodness no one ordered puddings. Farewells were given and I made my way wearily to the car. Ah I love India x
PS. As it was N's birthday at midnight, we played Carrom on the bed with our hosts' older children until the appointed hour. As the clock struck twelve we burst into song and presented her with the cards and gift I had concealed in my case. Happy Birthday N