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You say Khyiat – I say Hyatt………..

February 6, 2009

In writing this blog, I want to share all of my feelings of being in India. Mostly, because I don’t want to forget them. The good, the bad, and the nervous. I want to remember everything I see, hear, and feel – maybe not everything I touch – but you get the idea. So, sometimes you might get the feeling that I am just talking to myself – very loudly, so that you can hear – but really just to myself. This could be one of those days.

Yesterday, I was at at new parents meeting and they told me about this great directory that lists all of the markets in Delhi. There are many, many markets and there are districts – like where to buy food, where to buy clothes. Yada Yada. So this directory is supposed to ‘splain all that and apparently lists what time the different markets are open and what days they are closed. There is no Sunday here – yes, it’s on the calendar. But there is not a universal “closed” date or time. Some markets are open on Tuesday – some, not so much – some open at 11am – others, not so much. So you need to check before you go anywhere. That sounds like a useful tool. I’m a big girl – I can go get that.

So, I get in the car and I tell Kahn that I want to go to the Hyatt.

Me: Kahn, do you know where the Hyatt is? I’d like to go there, please.
Kahn: the khyiat?
Me: I think so – yes
Kahn: the khyiat? alright Ma’am
Me: I think so – yes – the Hyatt – it’s a hotel – in Delhi
Kahn: alright Ma’am – the khyiat.

Okay – I put my seat belt on figuratively and literally – Kahn is delightful. But not so great on the English. I am not so great on the “how to get around in Delhi” knowledge and have zero Hindi language abilities. I really cannot even remember how to say thank you. Yes, I am pathetic.

And one thing about having a driver that is very, very different than driving yourself is that you really are never quite sure exactly where it is you are. I don’t know how to get anywhere except the park – and I only know that because I can walk there.

So we drive around – I get to see new parts of town I have not seen. Kahn points to a building – the khyiat, right ma’am? He is not telling me, he is asking me. This is the khyiat?

Yes – enter, deep cleansing breath – that is, in fact, the Hyatt.

This is going to prove to be very interesting indeed. He drove me to what he thought was the Hyatt. But the whole way there he felt just like I did. He was hoping and praying that we would end up, some how, some way, at the right place.

We are kindred spirits me and Kahn – we do not know each other – we can speak a little – but we are both continuously praying that we understand what the other means. That we end up in the right place. We are navigating through culture and language together. It is a game of the Blind leading the Deaf. So far, so good.

But there is more to this story.

I will very frankly tell you that when the terr*rist attacks in Mumbai happened, my world actually stopped spinning. I could not breath and I did not want to move – either from my chair or across the ocean. It was that simple. It was the first time I really and truly felt the overwhelming burden of being a parent. It was like I had swallowed a rock. A big rock. A very big rock.

We have certainly had our share of emergencies and some that were very scary – there was a time that I was not sure Flower would leave the emergency room and another that I was not sure Bear would leave the ER. Angel has been to the ER too. Yes, my heart skipped many beats during those times. But it had to keep going. We had no choice – action was required. Immediate action. We did not choose to be in the ER ever – we just were. Very there.

However, this move to Delhi was a choice. Not the choice I would have made on my own. I was comfy cozy right where I was and did not see a need to change or move. Bring on some b*mbings and my heart gets cemented to the floor. The floor in the U.S. with family and friends close by. On a quiet cul-de-sac in the middle of nowhere. Where I drive myself to Target. And I know how to get there.

So we delayed our departure. Hubby and I were at a crossroad. What to do. We compromised and came in February instead of January – instead of not at all.

But driving to that Hyatt brought on some of those familiar uncomfortable feelings. The b*mbings happened at a hotel frequented by Americans, it was in big Indian city, the attacks targeted Americans. Does any of this sound familiar? I am an American, in a big Indian city, about to enter a hotel frequented by Americans. HMMMMM.

Kahn pulls up to the Hyatt and there is a gate. Every car is stopped. Inspected. Doors are opened. Trunks checked. Mirrors are placed underneath the car. We pass inspection and continue round the bend to the front door. Kahn lets me out. I have to go through a metal detector. My purse is searched. I am thankful. I walk inside and the hotel is opulent. Welcoming and calm. I find the directory. I exchange the last of my American dollars for rupees and I am on my way.

Breathing again. Kahn knows what “home” means. Even if it is not the home I would pick right now – I am on my way there. Mission accomplished.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. February 7, 2009 9:41 pm

    Badass _ learned Nay today – that means no.

    Nancy – Sometimes I want to walk backwards – but I am doing my best to keep moving forward.

    Lola – Good luck with that! 😎

    Josie – I just keep taking deep breaths.

  2. February 7, 2009 4:52 pm

    Oh, I am so feeling your angst! Unfortunately, those same fears are here in the US as well. My hubby works in one of those high rise banking buildings that is on the target lists. And we live near a big nuclear energy plant that is on the lists as well. I so wish we lived in a more peaceful world!!!

  3. February 6, 2009 10:23 pm

    Hey, I might pick up a second language from reading your blog. Nice!

  4. Nancy permalink
    February 6, 2009 6:46 pm

    I am so proud of you. I shared this one with my brother. He said, “With one brave foot before the other, this is how we grow. Most impressive.” And you are. Love you.

  5. February 6, 2009 7:37 am

    Hey, a good post and a Hindi lesson, all in one! Sweet.

  6. February 6, 2009 4:16 am

    That’s how I write pronunciation of Hindi words for myself. Hope this works better for you: aahpkuh buhoot shookreeya (“kuh”, “buh” ryhms with “duh”) 🙂

    But at least in Mumbai, I never hear anyone saying “Thank you” in Hindi. This might be different in Delhi where you are. A word I hear often is “achcha [aah-ch-uh] (long, almost double “ch” sound). This is used for everything that is good or you agree with, or just as a filler like “I see” 🙂

    How are you? – Achcha
    Does it taste good? – Achcha
    How was the salad I made? – Bahut achcha!

    And that was my Hindi lesson for today 🙂

  7. February 6, 2009 3:38 am

    Jurate – Apka bahut shurkriya – now I just need a pronunciation key. 😉

  8. February 6, 2009 1:37 am

    P.S.: my smilies don’t work, I should go back to the original style 🙂

  9. February 6, 2009 1:36 am

    The feeling of “hope he/she understood me correctly” or “hope he is taking me to the right place” is sooo familiar :o)

    “Thanks” in Hindi is “Shukriya”
    “Thank you” – “Apka shukriya”
    “Thank you very much” – “Apka bahut shukriya”

    I enjoy reading your blog. Take care.


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