Saturday, February 27, 2010

Random Photos of India and Mark

This post has one picture of Mark and a bunch of pictures from my trip to India.  Many of them are from the wedding of Dr. Patel's daughter, but we start with a picture of Mark looking off to the side while eating a bagel.  The wedding was in Anand, which is in the state of Gujarat in the northwest of India.  The other locations where these pictures were taken are Jaipur, Delhi and Agra.  All of these are within a few hours drive of each other, in the north central part of India.  The Taj Mahal is in Agra.  Jaipur has a beautiful hotel called the Rambaugh Palace, which is the nicest place I've ever stayed in my life.  Other posts in my blog have pictures from there.

Mark eating a bagel

Nayna, who carried Mark, and her husband

The band that played at the wedding of Dr. Patel's daughter

Dr. Patel's daughter and new son-in-law

My friend and travel partner Beth (left) with the woman that helped dress us in our Saris for the wedding

In Delhi at a store called Nalli, where you can get the most awesome fabrics

Grand entrace to the wedding of Dr. Patel's daughter

Right to left: Dr. Hitesh Patel, his daughter; his new son-in-law and Dr. Nayana Patel

Elephants in Jaipur heading for a castle

Man washing himself outside in Jaipur

Taj Mahal around dawn (shrouded in fog)

Taj Mahal with the fog lifting a bit

Taj Mahal with the for lifting more, and taken from a greater distance

Princess Crystal sitting where another princess once had her picture taken

Friday, February 26, 2010

Africa's lost tribe in Gujarat, and Goa, India

On my last trip to India, out of the blue I asked a BBC reporter if India had Africians. I really had no idea why I even asked the question, and was shocked by his reply. Yes, they do have an African population and they are known as Siddi's. They are descedants of the ethiopians. I vowed to myself that on my next trip that I would make a point to go and visit the community myself and take photos. As my upcoming trip is just days away, the Siddi's have really been on my mind. I went to a few different book stores, but they didn't have any information. What I do know is that India has a prehistoric relationship to Africa. Also the slavery of Africans commenced in India during the fifteenth century and continued till end of nineteenth century. Goa, India had a thriving slave trade. The faith that many Siddi's practice is Hindu, Muslim, and Christian religions, they inter-marry without any reservation across the religions. India has a prehistoric relationship to Africa and its art.

I will go with an interpreter who speaks Gujarati. Over the next few days, I will be thinking of quetions that will help explain how this community operates, and what oral history they are willing to share.

Monday, February 15, 2010

11:23PM Cheesecake factory and Valentine's

I'm unable to sleep so I thought it would be a good time to blog. After much snow here on the east coast, I was having a bit of cabin fever so I thought this would be a good day to hit the mall. My drug of choice would be White Flint Mall, because I like that Talbot's store. I arrived around 11:10 not realizing that the stores in the mall open at noon on Sunday. Cheescake factory restaurant of course was open, so whats a girl to do especially on Valentine's day but have brunch. The receptionist greeted me and asked if I would like to be seated, but I choose to sit near the bar and just sort of be out of the way. When you are of color, your mind clearly is aware of other people of color in the area, which there happened to be three other black woman, sitting alone on Valentine's morning either drinking a mimosa, or another beverage of choice. At first glance the realities of their lives escaped me. After placing my order the women a few seats over from me smiled pleasantly, and I nodded in gest, then said I said that I didn't realize the stores were not open until noon. I'll call this woman "E". "E" kindly explained the Sunday schedule for the mall and made a toast to Valentine's day. I smiled and said the same to her then made a comment to the effect that I had never seen so many black wait staff at that Cheesecake location. Given the number of years that I have lived in this area and have frequented that mall, there was a time when not that long ago that blacks were just the cooks or the bus boys.

My comments led to a Sunday confessional especially since "E" said she just came from church and really didn't want to go home to cook for herself. All I kept thinking was please don't ask me if I go to church, I just updated my profile on facebook, where it says religon, I changed it from none to atheist. I learned that "E" was highly educated and is certainly a minority in her field. Over the years she has taken a beating from white men who are intimidated by her knowledge. "E" said that in order to get along at this point, she has to dumb herself down, just to be a team player. My mind kept racing back to my years in college when I had to write a paper about why 50% of educated black women never marry, and this was 25 years ago. Clearly the stats have not changed. Is the chasm just too high or do a lot of men feel exactly like John Mayer when he said in his playboy interview that "My d--- is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a f-----’ David Duke c---."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Back to India

I'm headed back to India in March, and at this point with the cold weather that we have been having it might be a welcome relief. I will check on Najla's surrogate and take some photo's for those who would like to see how their surrogates are doing. It will be nice to sit down the Nayana and Hitesh and see how things are getting on at the clinic. If time permits, I will take a trip to Delhi for a little bit of shopping and to say hello to Dr. Shivani.