Two weeks ago a professional photographer and a fellow FS spouse based in Chennai came to Delhi for a scheduled portrait shoot. She needed a photo assistant and I realized that I badly needed to get out of the house to capture on film all of my favorite details about Delhi–unencumbered by irresistibly kissable baby limbs and funny, if distracting, toddler antics. Continue Reading
I’d always aspired to do a ‘day in the life” post here in Delhi to record for the kids the banal, everyday details that really defined our lives here but that we might otherwise forget. With only 5 days until movers show up at our front door though, I think I’ve finally procrastinated past the possibility of recording a “typical” day for us here. Our friends keep texting with increasing urgency, our tough, no-nonsense housekeeper burst into tears last week when we tried to talk about pack-out, and our house looks like two years worth of living abruptly flew out of the closets and landed in haphazard piles across our family room. Nothing feels ordinary here anymore.
But if I had to aggregate two years worth of quiet little rituals and experiences into a single day, we’d have a day like the one I describe below.
I bought an old film camera in Old Delhi a few weeks ago. It’s a Minolta with some spots on the lens and more light leaks than I know what to do with right now. But the way it makes my fingers hum with every click of the shutter and the way India looks through its anachronistic little viewfinder make me feel like I’m seeing the world here around me in a different light.
And I am seeing the world around me differently. Cameras aside, there’s a countdown now, a date on the calendar after which we will no longer be residents of Delhi and we’ll be applying for residency cards in Milan, Italy instead.
It’s not hard to conceptualize that we are leaving India, but it’s difficult for me to picture in my head what life in a country with potable water might look like. It’s not hard to understand that my dearest friends here will keep having new babies and healing from surgeries whether we are in Delhi or Millan, but it’s hard to imagine starting over in Italy without having all of them just a text message and a 15 minute drive away from me.
I’m not particularly self-aware. It’s taken me nearly a month to realize that the real beauty of my new little camera is the fantastic amount of distraction it provides from the more life-changing matters at hand. There’s a distinct appeal to not knowing how a shot really turned out until I get it back from the neighborhood dry-cleaner cum photo lab. Each roll is a series of 36 mini unknowns to distract me from all of the bigger unknowns we are facing.
We’re in that strange transition period between feeling at home in one place and soon being compelled to make a new place feel like home. I feel like I won’t know which stories or emotions or experiences will really define our last few months in Delhi until we’ve already unpacked and resettled in Italy. And until I do, the world just makes more sense when I’m looking at it through my cloudy new viewfinder.
Our friends and family in America celebrated the arrival of the spring equinox last week, but here in Delhi we are slowly resigning ourselves to the beginning of our hot dry summer season. In Delhi they say that the heat arrives with Holi and so it has. Continue Reading
I don’t feel like the dust has settled enough around here for me to make any grand, sweeping proclamations about life with two kids but I think I like it. There are moments of crazy, there have been days I wonder how I will get dinner on the table or whether Shiloh will sleep long enough for me to play with Will for more than 10 minutes at a time. There was the time Chris had to work until 9pm before Shiloh was 3 weeks old while I had two sick kids at home. Continue Reading
I shouldn’t make a trip to Old Delhi with a toddler sound like a cute song and dance number. I got hip-checked by grumpy old men into traffic twice. I swore at the motorbike that nearly ran us down. I carried my toddler up and down a staircase so unsettling I once spent 20 minutes coaxing a heights-averse friend down each step. Continue Reading
I love road trips. What transpires in the distance between driveway and destination makes for the stuff of legend. Legend and a myriad of inside jokes that are funny to no one outside the moving vehicle. Continue Reading
Someday I may tell our youngest child about the day I stood, 6 months pregnant, ankle-deep in Yamuna mud with neon yellow paint powder smeared across my cheeks, surrounded by saris swirling to a trance-inducing drumbeat. Continue Reading
I knew we’d found Amar Colony when I saw the rats’ nests of chair legs tangled above a roofline of blue plastic tarps. Continue Reading
I keep a large stash of crackers and biscuits in the backseat of our car. Enough to feed a small army. A small army of beggar children that is. Continue ReadingOlder Posts >>>