chandigarh; Intro to Kullu

Don and took the train from new Delhi to Chandigarh. It was first class which cost 5$ more but we had leg room and a constant stream of food being handed to us.

We arrived in a sea of taxi drivers all hustling us to use their service. We chose a taxi that had AC and headed to our hotel. We ended up arriving at 11ish. We dropped off our gear in the room, and headed to the breakfast buffet to see if we could grab something more to eat. On our way to the buffet, from the edge of the room we heard “Don!!!”. To my surprise, a member of the Kullu team was calling Don over to a table. We sat down and i was introduced to Sita. She explained to me that every night in Kullu was one giant party. I’ll confess, this got me a little worried (after all it was started in the 70’s, and my opinion in drugs is pretty set), and i think she clued in because after a few minutes she said “you know, we don’t party like the west, no booze just socializing!”.

After about 10 min she wandered off on a phone call saying she would be back. Don decided that we should take off and grab some food, so we looked for Sita, but couldn’t find her. We headed out to an Indian restaurant in sector 17. When we walked into the restaurant, to my disbelief another exchange of hello’s were given. This is where i met Bob and Rienya (Just guessing on how to write these names…. You know, Bobs a hard one..).

They both switched tables to sit with us. I then found out that Rienya is Swamiji’s daughter, and Bob is a dedicated member of the team who has been there with Don the whole time.

After lunch we were invited to hang out with them for dinner.

Ok skipping the rest of the day and lets get to the interesting part… So for dinner Sita had everyone get together at the Marriott. When we got to there, we were found the group in a private room. I was introduced to another of Swamiji’s daughters and a few more people. We sat down and i was explained that Sita had the chef’s making us a custom meal that had no garlic, onions or eggs. Throughout the night Sita had the staff waiting on us hand and foot…. at one point she leans over to me and explains that its a self server restaurant and gives me a smile and a wink. At the end of the meal she asks the waiter for a pen and paper. At this point she had everyone at the table write about the service of the waiter and explained “In this world you can only move up with two conditions. Being a good hard worker, and people recognizing your work. Later Sita mentioned that she wanted to visit the Rose Gardens and Bob offered to meet her in the morning. She was not interested stating that she would be working out in the hotel the next morning. I took Bob up on his offer.

On our way to the elevator, Sita took a sharp left turn and pulled our group into another restaurant. As we walked in we were overwhelmed with the smell of fish.. She sat us down at the center table and pulled the half the band over (From what i could tell it was 2 people) and had them dedicate a song to me (i was later told that the lyrics were something like “it pains me to see you go, I can’t live without you”). I had the largest grin ever. At one point the waitress came over to see what we wanted to order, Sita quickly said “we are only here for the music”. With a smile the waitress asked us to enjoy the music.

20150417_22060520150417_220650After the third song i noticed the band had three people in it… A singer… A keyboard player… And a singer. She started orchestrating the whole event. Pointing at one of the singers, then holding up her hand letting them know they should stop and then pointing to the next singer. Back and forth went the mediocre Bollywood singers, who both had grins on their faces as they sang such serious songs. After this we all headed home.

I later found out that Sita is a Bollywood music producer and talent seeker. She is very well respected in the music and movie industry.

6 thoughts on “chandigarh; Intro to Kullu”

  1. I just wish your posts would never end ! They are wonder full! A great way to start ones day! Sounds like you will never forget this trip:) mom

  2. Nice to see you are getting a taste of all the aspects of Indian cultural and social life, from 5 star hotel to beggars on the street. A memorable trip. Although the travelogue is a pain, you will be so happy that you took the time to write it. It will be something to reference back to when the memory of your travels fade, and a good spot to store casual names for future reference.
    Keep us entertained, young man!!

  3. Hey J

    Nice pics! glad you are enjoying your trip!!
    You may want to check out places such as Agra (where Taj Mahal is located), Jaipur, Udaipur…these places are relatively closer to Delhi/New Delhi. These places are amazing…been there when I was 11. Some ideas:
    – check out places where they sing/play traditional music
    – try some exotic fruits
    – try food served on traditional clay pots, banana leaves etc..
    – if you like arts…purchase strange/weird wooden toys from street vendors, 16-17th century style canvas paintings etc..

    Be alert at all times, keep money/documents safe, avoid drinking tap water, dont get diarrhea…

    Otherwise looking forward to new batches of pics and update.. 🙂

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