I was roused by an enthusiastic shove by Sanjay. It took me a couple of moments to really wake up and remember where I was: on a bed in the living room of a nice house in Sultanpur. I washed and dressed before joining Sanjay for a morning walk to get some chai and breakfast, which consisted of samosas and jelebi. The day became filled with random activities.
Firstly, Sanjay, Devansh and I checked out the house across the road, which is a massive old multi-storey home in which Sanjay was born. It is now being renovated and will eventually become Devansh’s home. Devansh and I hung out through the morning discussing all matters of life and the differences between Australia and India. Late morning, a meal was made especially for me by a family member: a beautiful thick chapatti and a potato/pea curry. In the early afternoon we all enjoyed chicken curry together, the chicken being a special treat.
In the afternoon Sanjay took me on a tour of town and I met many of his friends. It was then that I learned that Sanjay is a respected member of the community. His grandfather founded a college in Sultanpur and a statues of both his grandfather and father stand in the college grounds. I learned to show respect to elders by bowing down and touching their lower leg before touching the top of my head. Our adventures ended with a visit to a charming old man in a magnificent house; the man is a senior law advocate and Sanjay’s mentor.
In the evening I played some cricket with Manas and friends, and then, at about 8.30pm, I left the house with Sanjay to attend a wedding celebration. The celebration was extravagant (the groom’s family is apparently loaded). I felt like I was at a town carnival. A massive stage hosted a variety of performers (singers, dancers, fire stick jugglers); stands full of every type of food were spread out everywhere; and there was even a fancy buffet available. We stayed until around 10.30pm, which was still really early – apparently the bride and groom wouldn’t arrive until after midnight and the celebration will continue until about 6am. While seeing such an event was great, the rest of the experience was very uncomfortable as I found myself being shunted around from person to person, being shown off as if I was a trophy.
Back at home I chatted to Manas a little before calling it a night and preparing myself for another mosquito-ridden night. Last night I resorted to turning on the ceiling fan, but I think using the fan is an extravagance and generally avoided. At the same time though, there is no way I can sleep without warding off the bugs. There are so many hungry mosquitoes that even with the fan blowing I have to sleep completely under a blanket, head and all. The trouble with this is that it’s also very hot.
|Accommodation||Home of a lovely family|
|Distance ridden today||0km|
|Total distance ridden||17,122km|