A “quiet” Sunday (30 October 2005)

Submitted by Pam Baker on Wed, 2005-11-02 09:53.

The police have asked people to stay at home, and so we are here at the Guest House. All entrances and exits to the city are controlled by police roadblocks. The military has bolstered security everywhere. New Delhi is so large that we don’t have any first-hand knowledge of the tragedy; without TV we would be quite ignorant of the happenings. The email shops are closed on Sundays. But other shops are open as usual, in defiance of the terrorist’s attempts to create fear. Just as in New York, New Delhi seems determined to rise above, deal with the problems, and show a stiff resolve.

Sunday evening Jane Schukoske, the Executive Director of USEFI, invited us to join her at a party for the Indian contemporary artist Naseth Kaporia. It was held at the home of Shavin and Herbert. Shavin is a classical Indian dancer, and is on USEFI’s Board of Directors. Herbert is a former Austrian diplomat. Their home is a beautiful place with a large enough yard to have an evening garden party for a couple of hundred people. Herbert gave a very good speech in which he said that they had thought of canceling and then decided that the best resistance to terrorism is to go on with life. A woman sang a moving lament, and the artist asked us all to light candles and place them on the pathways after a moment of silence in remembrance of the 61 dead and more than 250 injured.

After that there was the program that had been planned, a dance presentation by three young women who have come here to study classical Indian dance. They danced pieces from their home countries, an Eastern European modern dance, an Indonesian dance and a Turkmenistan belly dance. Afterwards, the older man standing next to us turned and said, “Now that’s what I call globalization!” It was certainly a beautiful evening. From a tree hung a mirrored ball that caught a spotlight, sending little “stars” swirling around the yard. Each woman’s sari was more spectacular than the next. The food was amazing. Best was the aloo tikka, crisp fried grated potato like our tater tots, but nothing like Napolean Dynamite ever ate. Many of the dishes were fried but not at all greasy. They were being cooked right there so we could see how it is done in three foot diameter, very shallow metal pans, as if someone had taken the cymbals from the symphony and turned them upside down over a roaring propane flame.

And so, another day of jarring contrasts.

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