Sunday: Delhi

Just a few snaps, especially since readers are clamoring for photos of noms.  I’ll have many more tomorrow as we’re going to a concert of Tagore music tonight followed by a slap-up meal of North Indian Mughal food.

I have only one food snap today:  my breakfast this morning: an onion uttapam with coconut chutney, sambar, and fresh fruit. I seem to be eating a lot of South Indian food, but that’s because I love it. (The great dilemma I always face is whether to have an uttapam or a dosa, though the result has always been dictated in advance by the laws of physics.)


Baby mangos on my hosts’ tree. These are only half the size of an olive, but by monsoon season will be huge, juicy mangos: my favorite of all fruits. My only regret at not having visited India during the monsoons is that that is when the dozens of varieties of local mangoes are ripe. On the other hand, I know I’d eat myself sick. . .


The view from our terrace with Kunal, a professor at JNU who, along with his wife Shubhra (a professor at the University of Delhi), are old friends and my hosts. Tomorrow Kunal and I will fly to Bangalore, where I’ll do research on my children’s book about Mr. Das.

As I’ve mentioned before, Mr. Das has at least forty cats (it may be up to 75 or more now), all living in his house. He’s also the premier confectioner of India, owning a string of shops making terrific sweets. I’m told I’ll eat like a king there, with several cooks making fantastic meals three times a day. His sweets are of course also on offer. Stay tuned for more food snaps.

The wisteria is lovely, and you can see the bougainvillea in the background.


This coming Thursday is Holi, the Indian spring festival in which people dance, celebrate, eat, and, famously, throw garishly colored water and powders on each other, including strangers. The dyes are usually permanent, so one should avoid going out in good clothes! Here’s some organic Holi powder:


Here’s a video of Holi in full swing:

One of the things I love about India is the bright colors you see everywhere: in gardens, in the bangles on women’s wrists and in their saris, as well as the flowers in their hair, in the shop decorations, the garnishes on food (indeed, the food itself), and in the art. America, in contrast, is drab: nobody wears bright red or orange clothing.

The photos below are from a page on Indian color at My Modern Met, where you can see seven other snaps:






  1. GBJames
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Most excellent.

    • Posted March 21, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Most excellent, Effendi! 🙂

  2. merilee
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Love the colors. BTW, this American wears mostly red and orange clothing, and I have lots of color in my northern climes house;-)

    • bluemaas
      Posted March 20, 2016 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      I quite concur, Ms Merilee: brilliant colors, YES please !, qwhere within m’Northern Hemispheric – life !

      Actually factually, one of my twitter id – statements is thus: “So .not. my favorite color: beige.”

      Thank you, PCC(E), for these darling dazzling pix !


      • bluemaas
        Posted March 20, 2016 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        SUNSHINE Y E L L O W, m’all – time favored !


  3. KIA
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Recovering Know It All and commented:
    Reblogging. What a Wonderful and Beautiful way to celebrate Spring, Life, Unity and Togetherness. -KIA

  4. Daniel bertini
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Yes, the colours are as brilliant as the food!!

    • reginaldselkirk
      Posted March 20, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      I have wondered, is there any regulation to assure that the coloured powders are safe? Not only does it get a lot of skin application, but I would imagine it is nearly impossible not to breathe some of it.

      • AMY
        Posted March 20, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        :)Is there a “Organic” somewhere in the video? I suspect India is a country full of cult worship culture(they worship multiple god anyway), crooks making a living easily ( when I had a fracture, an Indian asked me to go to India for the cure ( Now I think about the Beatles, LOL)… The situation in India was worse than that in China.

  5. Mike
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    You see all these wonderful Colours in India, but never in Pakistan , why is that? possibly because Islam is such a miserable Religion compared to Hinduism.

    • Posted March 20, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      When I was living in Pakistan, in 1972, I saw all those colours – on the saris, on the women’s penjabi suits (kamis and shalwar), in the shops, in the bazaar, everywhere. I am surprised that it is no longer the case, because bright and luminous colours is ingrained in the people. I myself brought back with me a whole bunch of very colourful saris and penjabi suits which I still have.

    • Posted March 20, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      There are colorful images of Pakistan, you just need to look.

      You should be careful when you call Hinduism a better religion compared to Islam. There were a lot of forced and political converts to Islam in India. But a very large number of supposedly lower caste Hindus converted to Islam to escape the (still) extreme oppression of the caste system. The sad part is that the Muslims in India decided that the Caste system was a splendid idea and there is a split between “Ashraf” (these were the invaders) and non-Ashraf muslims.

      The western view of Hinduism is dominated by the writings of spiritualist charlatans who swept a lot of nasty under the carpet.

  6. Posted March 20, 2016 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    That shrub doesn’t much look like wisteria to me. Wisteria is among my favourite of all flowers, it was climbing up the walls of my boarding school in England, and along the metal arches in the Geneva University Hospital’s hanging garden. Here is an example of the hospital’s hanging garden wisteria (white and pale purple) that I took in 2009.

  7. Richard Bond
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Mangoes are wonderful, but I am not sure that eating many will make you sick. When our son was nearly 5 years old, we visited the Gambia. On our way to a boat trip around the mangrove complex at the mouth of the Gambia river, our driver (a lovely man: a huge and gentle Mandinka) stopped at his brother’s compound, and sent his nephews and nieces up a mango tree to fetch us some fruit. Later, while we were engrossed in watching the wonderful bird life, our son surreptitiously scoffed five of the largest mangoes that I have ever seen. Despite our concern, he suffered no obvious consequences.

  8. mordacious1
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Wow! That woman has some forearms. I bet her kids are well behaved.

  9. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    A coworker’s parents have a mango farm in India!

  10. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Oh and another friend of mine said that she misses the kind of dyes they have in India for Holi as the ones here don’t stain as well. She supposes that they are not regulated and not bad for you so therefore mostly powder.

  11. Amy
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Color in India is amazing. I like Steve McCurry’s book: India, full of beautiful pictures of India.

    Professor Coyne’s taste for sweet is also amazing :))! — I’m the one who likes sweet and who needs sweet, mango is the only fruit that I find a bit too sweet so far.

    Nice travel notes…. Waiting for more…

  12. Amarnath
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    I came to the US in 1970 and visited India several times. Every time I return it is like changing from a color movie to black and white.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 20, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Maybe India is OZ!! 🙂 Keep your eyes peeled for munchkins.

  13. aldoleopold
    Posted March 20, 2016 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Loving the noms – convinced me to drop by the local Indian restaurant here at home. I hope we get to see some colorful Holi festival/PCC(E) participation photos!

  14. Lurker111
    Posted March 21, 2016 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Q: What do you call it when you linger in a Delhi sandwich shop?

    A: A Delhi deli dilly-dally.

    Okay, I’ll be leaving now …

  15. Posted March 21, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Wow – such wonderful colour is right. A whole suite of “What’s that Stuff?” for C&E News, anyone? 🙂

  16. Posted March 25, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    The color in India is indeed wonderful. But it’s not just that. India is a feast of sensations, color, taste, sounds and smells. As soon as the airplane door is opened on arrival, before you see or hear anything, you know you are in India. I always feel like I have been suffering sensory overload when I come back from there — and miss it!

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