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The ABCs of India

The ABCs of India: A way to remember our visit by SBJ

Dedicated to my traveling companions:

Rohini, Shanthi, Shelley, Ann and Debbie.

A is for Ashrams, Auroville, Anthony our driver, and the Amber Fort

B is for Bangles and Bindis and the Bay of Bengal

C is for Cows, Cows, Cows, Cows in the road, Cows sleeping in doorways, Cows on the ghats, Cows with their calves – and some Camels too

D is for Delhi, rolled Dosa on a small plate, Daal made with spices and lentils, and Dogs everywhere

E is for Elephants, decorated with paint, who carried us on their backs

F is for the Full Moon in Tiruvannamali below the Annamalai, and Fresh Flowers in our hair and floating as patterns in water

G is for Ganesha, the destroyer, Ganesha on the spirit cards in the morning, statues of Ghandi, and the Ghats leading to the Ganges

H is for Hindu, written and spoken, Hindu temples with whimsical gods festooning the outside, and for Henna on our left hands

I is for Idly rice cakes at breakfast and the India Gate in New Delhi

J is for Jaipur Jewels and Jantar Mantar, the astronomical observatory

K is for Kurtas bought in Pondicherry and Kites flying from rooftops on January 14 and 15

L is for Lakshmi, the temple elephant, and drinking fresh Lime sodas sweet

M is for Marble sales yards lining the highway, inlaid Marble at the Taj Mahal, Masala chai, and Meditating

inside the incomparable Matrimandir

N is for Naan, buttered and with onion, Namaste, and our driver Nirmal

O is for Ordinary People -- walking their children to school, watching a dance concert, washing in the Ganges, cooking over wood fires, riding on motorbikes, living their lives

P is for Pujas performed by Priests in the temples and Powdered Paint for creating mandalas

Q is for the Quiet Healing Center of Auroville and massages beside the bay

R is for Rajasthan palaces and forts, and for 100 and 2000 Rupee notes

S is for versatile Silk Sarees in reds and yellows and blues and greens worn by women everywhere

T is for Traffic – cars, buses, trucks, pedestrians, motorcycles, rickshaws, tuktuks, bikes – at a standstill or moving horns honking, and Tamil Nadu in the south

U is for Udiapur, the lovely city of lakes, and the Uplifting view from our palace hotel

V is for Varanasi – Vibrant, spiritual, sacred city

W is for Women, watchful and ready with a smile, walking in groups and segregated from the men

X is for Xenophiles, a mutual admiration of Indians and tourists

Y is for perfect plain Yogurt, and the Yamuna River below the Taj Mahal

And Z? Well, Z is for Ziploc bags, of course! Don’t travel without them!

SBJ February 2017

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