Sunday, October 07, 2012

A Great 68th Birthday in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India - October 3, 2012

I just spent two hours at the computer and had this post all but completed.  Somehow, 
it disappeared.  I cannot believe it.  All that work for nothing.  I just hate being at
the mercy of the gods of the internet!  Oh, well, here we go again though I'm a bit
tired of looking at my wrinkled birthday face!

I got up at my usual 6AM on the 3rd of October, all my joints and muscles aching to
remind me that I am no sweet, young thing.  I've been having massage alternate 
days almost since arriving in Jaipur and, for about six weeks, I've also been having
accupressure.  I really do think that has helped tremendously.  At 7AM, my lovely
landlady, Madhulika arrived with a beautiful bouquet of red roses and I had my
morning chai.  

After breakfast and my massage, I headed to Dr. Galundia's office.
He welcomed the "birthday girl" and greeted me with a kiss on the cheek and, 
at my reminder that "this is India," I got a second kiss.  Come to think of it, NONE 
of my U. S. doctors has ever kissed me.  After the kiss, he left his office and, though 
he's told me I need to lose more weight, he came back, bearing a candy bar - "only 
because it's your birthday."

From Dr. Galundia's office, my driver took me to the Holiday Inn for lunch with my
friend, Food and Beverage Manager, Surendra Dhabai, formerly of Royal 
Caribbean Cruise Line.  The hotel has a lovely buffet with a large selection of 
both continental and Indian food and a nice dessert spread.  I was able to limit
myself to only five jalabees, a sweet Indian concoction that has become a favorite
of mine.  It's almost like flat swirls of a batter, fried in ghee, then soaked in a 
sugar syrup.

Many Indian hotels have handsome doormen like this, sporting turbans and these
large moustaches!

Lobby of the Holiday Inn, Jaipur

Definitely NOT a place for the weight watcher

The Holiday Inn dining room

Lovely salads

A delicious meal, every bite

My friend, Surendra Dhabai

Chef Roushan

I love it!  I got a rare positive comment from my youngest son, Jeremy ( soon 
to be 28 ):  "Damn, looking all skinny.  Keep up the good work."

Surendra and me - he needs roller skates to keep up with all his work!

Here are all those handsome Indian fellows - they remind me of the Royal 
Caribbean wait staff - I lovingly called them my "Bollywood boys."

About 4P, as I was leaving the Holiday Inn, Ajay Singh Shekhawat, manager
of the beautiful heritage hotel, the Umaid Mahal where I stayed three days in
January and two days this past June, called and told me to be on the Umaid
Mahal rooftop at 5PM.  "Good grief," I thought, "I can barely waddle to the 
taxi."  I could hardly disobey my Jaipur hero and I even arrived early.  
Precisely at 5PM, he escorted me to the rooftop restaurant where a lovely
bouquet awaited me, along with a chocolate cake, and Spanish, "Sangre de
Toro" wine.  Of course, there were also Bollywood boys present.

Ajay is amazing.  He has always remembered that yellow roses are my favorites.

Cake number 2 - I shared it...but the wine was all mine.

Chicken pakoras with my favorite spicy green mint sauce.


My Umaid Mahal Bollywood boys

With Ajay Singh Shekhawat

Now, one would think that would be enough birthday celebration for a vintage
American in India but, oh, no, more was yet to come.  My landlady had arranged
dinner at our residence.  We had a pre-dinner birthday cake out in the garden
with her daughter, Geetanjali and son-in-law, Karan Rathore, and her two 
grandsons, Vishu and Arjun, and my friend, Ajay Shekhawat.  

Cake number three, a glorious fruit and whipped cream concoction

Vishu helped me blow out candles.

Nani Madhulika and Arjun 

Ajay, in non Umaid Mahal clothes, for a change!

My beautiful Indian purse from the Rathores

A wonderful birthday dinner

Beautiful Geetanjali Rathore and Vishu

Madhulika and her grandsons, Arjun and Vishu

Bindi ( okra ) - a favorite of mine

Wonderful spicy red good as New Orleans, but minus ham or andouille

A delicious meat ( not beef, of course ) dish

Well, that was my 68th birthday - the first one I've celebrated in India.  I felt so
pampered and indulged, with birthday phone calls from "family" all over India
and so much special treatment by my Jaipur "relatives."  I can't even begin to
thank everyone enough.


  1. Your 68th Birthday sounded awfully special, Carmen. They know how to treat a lady on her special day:)

  2. Similing faces and excellent meals, what a nice birthday it must have been. And you really look skinny!

  3. Anonymous3:06 PM

    What wonderful way to start a new year. Wishing you everything good and a great time.

  4. Anonymous4:13 PM

    A wonderful Birthday to you. I always know when Oct. comes along you and Pat S. birthday will be here.
    I am doing okay.....still working hard but do like to do that. ...We moved to Palm Desert and are loving it here. So much more quite and just lovely.....So we will be here for a couple years until I get ready to retire and than probably move to Georgia to be near my daughter etc. Anyway...planning and more planning etc. .....I hate moving.
    Diana F.

  5. Anonymous6:33 PM

    Hi Carmen! Happy Birthday To You! What a lovely birthday celebration, delicious food, beautiful cakes, and wonderful people all around you wishing you well. Here's wishing you well from the States and we will see you in November and celebrate some more! xoxo Kris

  6. Carmen, you look so happy! And I can tell you've lost weight. Looks good.

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  8. Oh, that happens to me with posts sometimes too - so maddening! What a fabulous way to celebrate your birthday. Belated good wishes and lots of love from Sicily. xx