January 25

Madu Chhanga

Last Sunday we called Happy’s cousin & best friend Jaskaran at about 10pm to ask him if he wanted to come with us to Taj Mahal and he said “why are you going there you haven’t even brought Steph to my farm yet!!!” Next thing I know we are packing our bags at midnight and getting the 530am bus on Monday morning to Amritsar!! It was a long bumpy cold bus ride but I slept most of the way and once we got close to Amritsar it was sunny again! Happy got me a tea on the bus and I spilt the entire thing all over myself and our bags because it was so bumpy!!
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Jaskaran lives in a very small village called Madu Chhanga close to Fatehgarh Churian, about 45mins drive from the city Amritsar. His sister and husband picked us up from where we got off and drove us out to the farm, in the back of the drivers seat we noticed they kept a gun in there!

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When we arrived at the farm Jaskaran was waiting at the gate with his mum, both with big grins on their faces! His sister Palvi told me he had called her at least 8 times asking if they had picked us up yet, he was so excited hahaha I was relieved to find Palvi and her husband speak English and I had someone other than happy to talk to properly!

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And yes I don’t think they know about washing lines here? Haha

His mum got us all chairs and we sat outside in the sun next to the buffalos house and had tea and gobi pakoras (cauliflower deep fried in spicey batter) sooo yum!!!
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His mum – we called her Didi which means Aunty I think, and Palvi then took me for a walk around the farm and were telling me all the gossip asking me if I could find out if Jaskaran had a girlfriend! And telling me that Happy’s parents love me very much and saying that Happy is very much like his mum – quiet whereas his dad is quite loud and laughs loud like I do! And how Jaskaran had told them all about my laugh!!!! 20140125-114100.jpg20140125-114117.jpg

Then back home for more tea & sweets… Didi literally made us chai tea every 2 hours the entire week we were there, I have never drank so much tea in my life but I was loving it !!
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Jaskaran took me up onto their roof to meet their puppy Bromi, they keep him on the roof so he doesn’t catch anything from the stray dogs around, and also all houses have a flat roof and people sit up there all the time have parties up there and even sleep there in summer!
He was the cutest puppy I loved him!! I used to go up every morning and give him Water and a hug – I wasn’t sure about how much care he was getting hahahha and definitely taking him some toys when we go back!!
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Everyday his mum made us tea as soon as she heard any movement that we were awake!! and kept asking when we wanted to eat and then would bring us chapatis, yoghurt and either dhal or egg bhurji (spicey scrambled eggs with tomatoe and onion) or aloo gobi (potato & cauliflower) for lunch and dinner. Also the three of us always sat on one of the beds in the house for every meal, no dining room tables ! Hahaha whenever the three of us were sat somewhere chatting Didi would come and sit with us for a while and would always ask Happy lots of questions about me, she loved listening into our chats and was always in fits of laughter! Jaskaran is so nice we got along really well and had so many laughs together, men’s friendships are so different here? They actually genuinely really love each and even when we would just be sat somewhere Happy always had one arm around Jaskaran. Didi told me that Jaskaran has missed him so much and she hasn’t seen him this happy in years.

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Everyday when his dad would come home from work he would come straight into the house and find me and have a chat, I mostly couldn’t understand what he was saying but happy said he didn’t care he was excited to have me staying there and had lots to say! Haha
His mum was sooo nice to me everyday and I found it really easy to communicate with her because she used all the words she knew I already knew and also just pointing to things and sign language we got by and could at least talk to each other, also when happy & Jaskaran would go off somewhere on the motorbike she would always come and sit with me or ask me questions, one day I was drying my hair and she brought me tea then asked if she could straighten it with my straightener because she had never seen one before lol! Next minute she had done my hair and put it in a long plat the same as hers!!
She was always bringing me a shawl as well and wrapping it around me and asking me if I was cold, she always made sure I was ok and not lonely or bored etc. if it was ever awkward when I was there on my own I would just get my phone out and start showing her photos, they absolutely loved looking at photos of my family and asking all about each family member!
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One night she taught me how to make Aloo Gobi, and she has her own vegetable garden so we cut the onions tomatoes cauliflower out of the garden ready for dinner then whenever we needed anything else we would go out and she would just cut some out of the garden!
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Every night after dinner Happy, Jaskaran and I would go up into our room and listen to music and chat in bed (all of us in bed under the blankets!!) haha and Jaskaran loved looking through my phone every night to see the photos from that day, one night he told me I was a detective because I take wierd photos and no one ever realises I have even taken any!! He couldn’t believe I photographed the vegetable garden he thought it was hilarious!! Hahaha then once we all started falling asleep he would hop out and go to his room.
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One day it was raining a lot so the three of us sat in the bed downstairs together and watched Palvis wedding DVD which was 4 hours long!!!! Not to mention their tv is black & white so we couldn’t see a whole lot of detail but the wedding looked amazing. His mum sat with us watching it too and then I said to happy I feel like some chocolate. Jaskaran said we can’t go to the shop on the bike it’s raining and started calling all different people in the village looking for a car they could use!!!!! I said to them oh my god just forget it, it was just a passing comment!!! I’m not desperate. But off they went and an hour later returned with 16 chocolate bars and a bag of Gachak! (Peanut brittle).

The next day it was sunny again so we went for a walk with his cousin Jagroop who lives down the lane opposite and I also rode a bike and a buffalo trailer!
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Then back home for more tea &
Sweets!!

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On Thursday Happy’s brother Sonu came to pick us up to take us to the city and to their families house, I was so excited to see him again! We all waited on the roof for him and saw his car coming in the distance!!

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When he arrived we…… Had more tea!!!! Hahaha. And then went for a walk with him around the farm and he was telling me what all the crops were (wheat, canola, rice) and types of trees (guava etc)

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He then took us for a drive to the Pakistan border!! There was army officers there guarding it and a look out where you could look through binoculars and see the temple on the other side and a few houses but that’s about it, it was mostly someone’s farm on the other side.

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We then drove to Amrtisar city to visit Palvi who lives with her husband and his family and sister and kids who were so cute, we had another feast!

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We then went and visited Happy’s parents for a while and then Sonu & Happy were saying to me chaliye chaliye!! Which means let’s go (they were bored) so we left and went back and picked up Palvi and her husband and his sister, they dropped us girls off at a market and they all went to a bar! It was sooo good I bought really nice jewelerry there and everything was so cheap!!

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20140125-132315.jpgWhen we were done they came back and picked us up and all of us went to a restaurant for dinner.

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We then dropped Palvi her husband and his sister home, Happy was driving, we had 7 people squashed into the car, 3 were drunk and everyone was yelling at happy telling him which way to go, telling him to slow down, etc it was so funny I could barely hear myself think and then Sonu was in the very back basically quashed into the boot of the 4WD and was patting my head saying “no problem bhabi no problem don’t worry” in a normal concerned voice, I was in tears absolutely loosing it laughing and then happy screeched on the breaks and came to a stop in the middle of no where and screamed EVERYONE SHUT UP AND LET ME DRIVE!!!! and then we all burst out laughing again. We dropped them off home then Sonu, Happy, Jaskaran and I drove back out to the farm at Maddu Chhanga, I complained that there were no drinks left so we pulled over and they got me a small bottle and a small coke and off we went and Sonu and Jaskaran were making me drinks on the way and everyone was singing the entire 1 hour drive back hahahaha .. When we got home Didi was waiting for us at the door!!! Sonu and Jaskaran were so drunk and tripped over !! Happy said to me “she doesn’t know that they drink” and they all went up to our room, she said to me as I came in “everyone sharab” which means everyone’s drunk and she laughed!!! She knows more than they think!!

Then we were in our room and I was sitting on the edge of the bed and something funny happened I burst out laughing and fell off the bed and landed flat on my back on the marble floor then cried then laughed again!! At this point Sonu said ok time for bed everyone! HAHAHHAHAHA

The next morning we woke up so hungover and I packed all of our stuff ready to go home, we had more tea and food and were about to leave (Sonu was dropping us at the bus) and I was about to get in the car when Sonu said to me “bhabi your chain???” And I realised my necklace was gone that his mum gave me ! An entire house search begun we searched every room and the car and I searched all through my bag and found it at the very bottom of my toilet bag! I must have taken it off when I was drunk! Sonu burst out laughing and said to everyone “no memory bhabi when sharabi!!!” – my sister in law has no memory when she’s drunk! And everyone laughed! So EMBARASSING!!!

We left the farm and it was sad saying goodbye we had such a fun week with them, Jaskaran hugged me and told me he loves me! It’s funny how they are so open with their emotions and feelings here!!

We drove to the bus and my whole body was aching from falling the night before. When we said goodbye Sonu said to me “Bhabi I miss you everyday please call me everyday from now on ok!” And saved my number in his phone.
I cried when we got on the bus !!! Over tired and emotional!!!

When we got to Jalandhar Happy got off and got a juice and was so thirsty he skulled it, then had a funny look on his face, then projectile vomited it back out next to the bus!!!! Nice!!!!!

We barely spoke the whole way home it was SO LOUD on the bus people playing loud music on speaker on their phones!! Movies playing, people yelling, dust flying thru the windows, people trying to squish into seats etc not to mention the bumpy road I was literally mid air on several occasions!!! The early morning bus is definitely a better option! I was so happy to be home again finally 5 hours later, What was supposed to be a 2 day visit ended up being 5 days!! We went and got fish & chips for dinner then went to sleep! (The “chips” gave us a bit of a shock when we opened the container!!!?!)

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