From Shopping to Sickbay

Vintage Banjara textiles, round 1

9 a.m. 

Slammed. This sore throat started creeping up on me last evening, just after getting an ayurvedic oil massage that left me diving for a shower to wash all the oil and powder off of my Delhi’d skin. I’d hoped that with extra doses of super-green powder, probiotics and Yin Chiao I’d be able to fight it off, but it had a ‘nother think. I hope I can still avert the worst, but this all the earmarks of a cold that could well lay me up for a few days of serious unhappiness. Damn Delhi, I can’t wait to get out of here, in spite of its various joys.

Too bad, because I’d just finished a raging day of productivity: a swift half-day of sorting through old furniture picking a few gems from among a lot of dross, followed by a visit to TARA Projects, one of India’s pioneering fair trade advocacy groups and my main source of officially certified ‘fair trade’ goods. There I looked through various new items, restocked on some stone goods and visited with Puneet, one of my main regular contacts there. Good folks.

Almost snuck in a visit to the upscale FabIndia to look for a bit of more local-style wear, but the driver I’d hired for the day (an infrequent luxury but a necessary one given the distances I’d had to travel into the deep south Delhi suburbs) was clearly getting ready to return to the fold. Maybe later.

This morning, in just a few minutes, I’m heading off with Vasant to Old Delhi to scout out the Delhi Musical Systems shop in search of some groovy instruments. My old friend (and occasional Dharma client) John put in a special request for me to look for “any weird percussion instruments” while I’m here; also I’ve been hankering for a good drone-ish thing to play, maybe an ektar. Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and find a sweet harmonium too? I’ll never learn to play unless I have one around, I suppose. Then we plan to make a pilgrimage to Gulab Singh’s ancient house of attars, perfumes and essential oils.

By then, my sense is I’ll be about ready for some rest. Plus, I still need to figure out if I’m doing anything crazy like heading to Jaipur tonight…

8:40 p.m.
Well, so much for traveling anywhere tonight. I can barely stand, at this point. The fever is beginning to make its play and the achey breakies are coming up the backstretch. Just found out I have to leave the confines of the Abracadabra guest house tomorrow, a day or two before schedule, due to an houseful of visiting French—so I’ll steward my energy this eve and go hunting through Paharganj for a good place to lie in bed and be sick and read. Ah, there’s no place like thousands of miles from home…

Time to swallow the red pill of fever reduction and climb under the covers.

Martin “Vasant” Brading returning from the chai hunt in Old Delhi, a happy man!


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