Friday, April 1, 2011

25 Days in India

Our time in India is up.  Yesterday we packed, settled bills and started saying our goodbyes (an all day affair - various people calling in on us).   

We take with us from India priceless memories - the anticipation of Neve's birth, the exhilaration of the first time we held her in our arms, the fear of the first night alone with her, running in our little park, frustrated shopping trips, more Indian meals than should be legal, terrible movies (does anyone know how Ultra Violet ends?), a first bath without tears and a first smile, traffic and pollution and throngs of men, beautiful women in saris - riding sidesaddle on motorbikes, carrying bricks on their heads - new smells (some good, some hideous!), stray dogs, Hamish's new BIG hair, being covered in colors and welcomed to the neighborhood, making new friends from strangers, the Indian head bobble, cricket mania (bleeding blue!), masala tea, winding through the maze of Indian bureaucracies, everywhere metal detectors but not a one that works, oppressive dust, swatting mosquitos, surromama, Dellip, Mr. Mohank, Mishra (our trusted driver), Jesse (who helped with Neve the last few nights) and eating across from my husband for a stunning 75 meals in a row (that's got to be a record)!  This is just a taste of our journey.  But most importantly, of course, we take with us from India an AMAZING BABY DAUGHTER!

We have gone from the outright joy of a new baby being born - the disbelief that this could actually be happening for us after so many years of wanting and waiting - to starting to understand what "it" all really "is".  Neve is no longer an abstract desire or a fuzzy dream or something I can mold and change in my head.  She is her own little being - exerting herself quite assuredly with definite ideas of what she wants (bottles on demand, to sleep on her side, to be held just so) and does not want (to be undressed, to wait at all, to be around her parents when there is "tension").  Capable of intense charm, capable of intense will - simply more capable than I had ever imagined something so small to be.  There is no fear left that this little person will parish by forgetting to breath.  She is a fighter.

We can already see signs of who Neve will be as a girl, a tween, a woman.  Our hands will guide, but I believe she will lead.  We have concluded that she is more of the "old soul" model than the "happy go lucky" type.  Skeptical and curious - content when attended to in the fashion she dictates.  She dislikes being laughed at and I am trying to be more empathetic but she's pretty funny sometimes (although she does not mean to be).  There are obviously many more twists and turns to come from our little bundle and worlds more to learn and be taught, but we are starting to get the swing of things.  Not EPs but maybe coming out of the newbie phase.  We are getting to know her and to like the person she is.  And she too is getting to know us and, we hope, to like the people we are.

25 days in India. So much is so different now.  

Last night we had our final meal cooked for us with care by Mr. Mohank and Dellip.  We had all of our favorites - chicken tiki, spinach paneer and pappas.  Dellip and Hamish had gotten into a discussion a week ago about the greatness of the Levis brand which Dellip thinks is the bomb.  So, that day when we were "bad parenting" round the super mall, we stopped in at the Levis store and bought Dellip and Mr. M shirts (logo prominently displayed).  After dinner we exchanged gifts (and tips!) and took photos (see below) and for the first time Dellip grabbed up Neve in his arms (I thought Jesse the baby nurse was going to lose it!).  After we leave the apartment a Pakistani family (one member of which is recovering from a liver transplant in Delhi) is coming to stay for a month.  We could tell that Dellip and Mr. M were less than psyched by the change in guests (the Pakistanis apparently don't talk to them at all) and I feel a twinge of pain at what a normal day in the life must be like with 6 plus guests in the apartment who don't care about the vegetable book, or Levis or want to celebrate Holi together or eat pizza and watch cricket.  Leaving them behind is strangely hard.  

Leaving all of India behind is strangely hard.

This morning we were up at 4am (Hamish never went to sleep -- conference calls till 3:30am - ouch!) to ready ourselves for the great departure.  We have a massive amount of luggage and it took two cars to get us to the airport.  The roads were quiet save for the stray dogs who seem to roam wildly at that hour (no wonder they sleep all day!).  The new airport was easy and we breezed through security and on to the plane armed with 7 bottles - just you try to finish that on a 6 hour flight Muncher (Hamish's new name for Neve)!!  We got the bassinet seat (although Neve has decided the bassinet is for those babies lacking the will power to make their mother's hold them).  And Neve just did her first massive poop at 10,000 feet - firsts all around!

If Singapore Airlines is any indication of what's to come, I am going to be a super fan of Singapore.  The plane is quite simply immaculate.  The air hosts (both male and female) are dressed beautifully and are by far the most service oriented I have encountered anywhere in any class of service.  For example: I did not eat all of my eggs so the hostess comes by after collecting the tray to ask if my meal was not acceptable and couldn't she get me something more, male host just stopped by and asked in a panic why Neve did not have any plush toys and raced off to get some (she's 3 weeks old and does not recognize toys from pillows!), hostess is walking around after the meal with a tray of beer (no, I did not take one!), hostess helping old woman out of the toilet, etc.

I will try to keep up the blogging as we continue our movement around the world (but don't expect too much until we are settled in Melbourne next week!).  And I will try to squeeze a guest blog out of Hamish as well.  I know I have fallen behind on the Neve photos but how many pictures can you take of someone sleeping in a boppy on the same couch or bed and keep it fresh?!  But I will do better.  Thank you all for encouraging me to keep a record of our time in India through this blog.  It has been my pleasure to have you all along and your support has been felt from continents away.
Farewell India . . . and thank you for sharing your great gifts with us.  We are quite truly forever in your debt.


G, H & N

Dellip and Mr. M modeling the new shirts!

Hamish at the Last Supper with Big Hair.

Dellip holding Neve with Mr. M and Jesse.  
Notice how Jesse is holding on to Neve's head as if to be there to catch her should Dellip let go!

Neve for the five minutes that she slept in the bassinet on the airplane. 


  1. G & H and Neve, so pleased that you have managed to leave Delhi. We found our last days filled with nostalgia but a longing for home.

    We love, love love Singapore Airlines, we found them to be brilliant. Jesse is wonderful, i still laugh at the look on your face when she picked Neve up and changed her after changing ours,

    We very much look forward to reading more about your journey,we hope our paths cross again

    much love, CC, John, Max & Lily

  2. Bon voyage! Your new memories will haunt you with smiles for a lifetime to come....
    Your blog has made ME smile so many times! Can't wait to meet you all in person soon when you get back home. Travel safely and smile often!!! Nothing will ever be the same.

  3. What a beautiful post! What a lucky little girl Neve is that you have so many wonderful memories of her birthplace. Safe travels and look forward to reading much more on your journey to becoming EPs.

  4. oooohhhhh, I'm sad you're leaving too!!!! It was such an extraordinary experience!!!!

    Travel safe and keep us updated. xoxo L

  5. Congratulations on moving on to the next leg of your around the world trip! Enjoy the rest of your trip. Safe travels. Lee and I hope to meet Neve when you return to NYC.

  6. You all are amazing to have accomplished this! Traveling around the world is no problem for you!! Awesome.

    Ps: thank pink synchilla blanket is Ruby's favorite. Sleeps on it every night.

    Pps: love Hamish's big hair! It's longed to be that puff! India set it free.


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