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
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
Many Indian hotels have handsome doormen like this, sporting turbans and these
Lobby of the Holiday Inn, Jaipur
Definitely NOT a place for the weight watcher
The Holiday Inn dining room
A delicious meal, every bite
My friend, Surendra Dhabai
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 beans...as 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.