Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Small World!

After I left Kannauj, I came back to Delhi, where I was supposed to stay for one day, before heading north, once again, to Dehra Dun. In Dehra Dun, I was in touch with an institute that had agreed to let me their laboratory, so that I could analyze some of the essential oil samples I had collected during my voyage in India. To make a long story short, I wish they had told me from the beginning that it was actually not possible given my timing, because I ended up waiting in Delhi, calling them over and over again, waiting for their authorization, which after a week, ended up being no. So I stayed in Delhi a lot longer than what I had initially planned. But it allowed me to type up my report on India, which took quite a while, because a LOT happened in 4 months here!

In Delhi, I stayed with Jai and Siri, a young couple working at the US embassy. I randomly met them in an internet cafe in early November when I was still in Kerala. they had come to the internet place to call one of Jai’s family close friend- Xan’s (a close friend from Wellesley who is from Kerala) father!!! That was the first (insane!) coincidence, the second being that Siri also graduated from Wellesley, 6 years ago! Small world!! It was a lot of fun staying with them, in their comfy apartment after having stayed in so many filthy and lonely guesthouses all over India, and to eat some non-spicy Western-type food (my stomach was happy). They also have a very cute dog. Mmmh... actually Cassie (the dog) is a crazy handicapped dog – she still manages to be cute though, at times. They found her just after she had been hit by a car, she could not move at all as she only had one good leg (2 were broken from the accident, and the 3rd one is too short by birth defect) That’s why they called her Cassie (from the French “Cassé”, which means broken). Although she has this shorter leg, she is so muscular and can jump around just like a cat!!! At times, who know what goes through her head, but she starts running back and forth on the couch, putting all the cushions on the floor, then when the phone rings, she howls like a wolf until someone picks it up... I’m not sure if she loves me or if she is really afraid of me- every time I come in she starts jumping on me wanting me to pet her... but then, when I’m alone in the house with her and I approach her, she lowers her ears, as if she were submitting, then she starts backing up, wiggling her tail from left to right more and more rapidly, and when I start petting her, she urinates... So I’m not sure what dog psychologist have to say about this- I’d be curious to know!

Here are some other pictures from Delhi:

The Qutb Minar, a red-sandstone muezzin completed in the 13th century is about 72 meters high and ornated with Arabic inscriptions. Like Humayun's tomb, it is also on UNESCO's World Heritage list. It was built to celebrate the victory of Mohammed Ghori over the Rajputs in 1192.


Details of the Qutb Minar


In the Qutb Minar complex, there is also the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, which is the earliest extant mosque in North India. The pillars have actually been taken from 27 Hindu and Jain temples that had been destroyed by Qutbu'd-Din Aibak.


Also in the complex, Ala ‘i- Darwaza was built in the 14th century as a gateway to the Mosque.

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