When toddlers attack

Saturday, June 9, 2012

June at the Svelte Cantonment

Dearest Nigel,

The heat is simply beastly. I loathe Delhi in summer. Father and Victor have gone off with their regiment to Rawalpindi, nearly everyone else is spending the monsoon in the blissful coolness of the hill stations, and I shall never forgive Mother for insisting we stay behind . Why, no polo matches, no dances, no teas on the green -- it's just ghastly!

Do write soon -- I'm ever so bored without you.

Your loving Nan

Okay, while I do feel walled off from the real city pulsing outside,  the Svelte Hotel isn't exactly the British Raj circa 1934, I don't really loathe Delhi in summer, and the only Nan around here is a brand of baby formula, but we're certainly living in our own little Western-flavored bubble. We hang out with other wonderful IPs from the States, Australia, Norway and the UK.  When we have nurses, we meet for dinners and trips to the gym. We go shopping together.  I feel like a spoiled Westerner, insulated from the daily life of the city.  It's weird living like this, being in such a fascinating place with so much to discover and... not... but that's not really the purpose of this trip, is it? 

Our ventures out usually consist of walking over to Select Citywalk Mall, where you pay nearly-Western prices at the same shops you'd find at the Beverly Center or the Grove in Los Angeles. It's a life-saver having two supermarkets, ATMs and two baby shops next door to the hotel, but aside from a quick visit to India Gate, we haven't done any sightseeing. Good thing we enjoy spending so much time staring at the girls. They're a nice antidote for my usual compulsion to stay moving and explore. On our last trip, we took tuk-tuks all over the city and took trains all over Rajasthan. This time, we barely leave our room.

Most of the expat talk centers around... well, poop. Last week witnessed a hotel-wide crisis as Delhi Newborn ran out of Farex, the formula they sent our babies home with. In our case, the condition was heralded by a single rabbit-like turd in Clara's diaper. For days, we all endured fussy, gassy babies and breakfast conversation tended towards what worked best. Massage? Prune juice? In one case, gradually increasing doses of prune juice produced a sputtering, splattering Kilauea-like eruption as soon as the diaper was removed.  Personally, we managed to avoid volcanic babies, and as supplies of Farex were located at different pharmacies around town, the crisis for everyone passed.

Our most ambitious foray out of our little neo-cantonment was a trip a few nights back to Karim's in Old Delhi, a local institution. that looks like a good place to court intestinal maladies but you always seem to escape unscathed. Adrián and I went there on our last trip here and loved it. The place has been dishing out butter chicken, tandoori specialties, biryanis and more for nearly a century and is a favorite of film stars and politicians. At least, that's what the guide book says. I think. I haven't actually read the guide book on this trip. Anyway, it's delicious.

We left late, since so many of us leaving at once threw the nurses into chaos.  They didn't figure out who was going where until after all of us had already left.  Todd and Dan brought their son, Colton, down to our room and left him with our nurse Remya.  We all joked that it was anyone's guess whose child would be where when we returned, leaving us with our first major test of parenthood:  like penguins in a giant colony, recognizing our own offspring among hundreds of possible candidates.  Okay, a dozen or so.

But now, most in our little community of expat IPs have left -- Avey, Renee, Temmy, Dan and Todd from San Diego, Rob and Dave from San Francisco, Posh and Lara from New Jersey -- leaving us, Bernadette , and Jan and Eveliis alone here at a much quieter Svelte like bored British debutantes.

We'll bring the girls back for a proper trip across India when they're older and have functioning immune systems.  Meanwhile, I'm late for my gin fizz on the veranda.  Excuse me.
I leave you with last Friday night in Old Delhi.
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  1. What a fabulous post. Love your sense of humour with the British opening! Photos of Old Delhi bringing back memories

  2. Hey Guys! We live in LA and we're currently exploring our surrogacy options from selecting a service in LA to the possibility of India. We'd love it if you were open to some offline email conversation or even meeting up when you return to LA. Congrats on your little ones and becoming a family!

    1. Thanks, and we'd be happy to meet up! Send me a note in three weeks or so.

    2. Sounds good! Can't wait to hear about the journey and congrats again!!!

  3. Thank the gods the baby formula shortage was sorted out! Sounds messy!

  4. I love that photo of Adrian looking at the camera in the midst of the Delhi mayhem. You're such a good writer, Jason. Will you be my ghost writer? Wonderful post!

  5. Hi Guys, great pictures. I meet some very interesting characters at the British Embassy as well. Hope the girls are well and that your going home soon.

  6. Your community in India almost makes me wish I did surrogacy there. It's so awesome how you all have each other for support.

  7. I agree with Michael! What a wonderful community you have there!