February 25

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Fun in Jhanjoti

Nearly a year later I finally plan to finish this post and publish it! Life has been hectic and I hope to get back into blogging this year! So this post was from March 2015 when I went back to Punajb as Happy was having visa issues and I hadn’t seen him for 5 months, we then returned together in April. A lot has happened since then but I will do a separate post for that! 

I arrived back in Amritsar on 31 March 2015 as a surprise, Happy thought I was coming a few days later but his cousin Shubh made me promise not to tell anyone I was coming, he picked me up after my long flight with his two friends at midnight, I came out of the gates and the three of them were madly waving and jumping around laughing, I had mixed feelings about returning to the place for various reasons but as soon as I saw their faces I knew I had made the right decision.  

 and we drove back to Jhanjoti, laughing hysterically the whole way, when we arrived we called Sonu (Happys older brother) to come out and open the gates, he just assumed Shubh was coming home from a party and didn’t even see me in the car then I jumped out and said Sat Sri kal !!!! And he just looked at me in shock then burst into laughter. We went into the house which was complete darkness, entire family was asleep and I woke Happy up, he jumped up on the bed and said is this a dream what the hell ??????? Haha then we had a big hug after not seeing each other for 5 months it felt surreal to be here, the lights all got turned on and  whole family woke up and were laughing and so surprised, then his mum made everyone tea at 1.30am!!! When they went back to bed 6 of us stayed in our room and drank whisky until 7am!!! We got through 4 bottles!! The boys made me go out to see the new “hen home” at 4am and kept saying we’ve got hens now !! We were a bit drunk and laughing and imitating the chickens, when we came back in one of the boys was still saying we’ve got hens !!!!!!! And I noticed happys mum had one eye open watching us enter haha she never misses anything!     
Spent my first day there with a major hangover and woke up wondering where the hell I was when the rooster was screatching! 
     

On my first day we hung around at home and relatives from surrounding houses came in and out all day visiting me and drinking tea then Happy & I went to the city for a drive around .. I saw a man making burgers on the back of his bicycle !!        

   
    
When we got home that night Prabh was waiting out the front for me, she had been at college so I hadn’t seen her yet it was so exciting I lept from the car hahaha she said to me last time you left I cried myself to sleep for 2 days!!! I said I’ve been crying for months hahaha I went over to her house and we chatted for hours 
     

  

  
The next day I wanted to go to Madu Chhanga village to visit Didi and Jaskaran and when we were getting ready Happys mum said the others might want to come too, next thing I knew we had 9 people in the car with us!!!  

 We spent the afternoon there eating and drinking tea, I went for a walk with Palvi and ended up at a random relatives house down the lane drinking tea!! Happy rang and said “where are you?? your always getting taken off somewhere” Hahahha The others left to come back to Jhanjoti that night because the kids had school but Didi asked if we would stay as I hadn’t seen her for so long, so Shubh Sonu Happy and I stayed and Saaba took Pinky and the other auntys home, we had chicken curry for dinner which was so yum!!! Over here they use every piece of the chicken and I always somehow find a chicken neck in mine !!! Sonu saw me sifting around and started finding meat pieces for me and passing them to me when no one was watching, he’s like a mind reader !! 
    
One night turned into two nights and we ended up spending 3 days there, I hadn’t brought anything with me but luckily had some makeup in my handbag and Didi found a bag of mine from last time I was there months before that had some Punjabi outfits in it for me to wear. Shubh and Sonu stayed with us too and they hadn’t brought a single thing they just used Jaskarans clothes and I wore jaskarans tracksuit to bed! Happys mum kept calling asking when exactly we were returning but they kept telling her “tomorrow” 
                    
    

      
   
 On our last day there I went to a Mela (festival) with Didi at the village temple and we had lunch there (Langar – free meal for the community) and sat with some of her friends, there were hundreds of people staring at me but I just pretended not to notice, I realised after so much time had passed I just didn’t care about people staring anymore. Happy had dropped us at the front gate of the temple and when we were finished the car was waiting for us at the gate again, I felt like we were VIPs because not many people in their village have cars and everyone was watching us hop in and get driven away ! 
 
    

    
  
 When we finally arrived back in Jhanjoti mummy straight away said she thought we were never coming back!!! Hahah I had said to Happy in the car I bet your mum comments on us staying there too long! She has a habit of never wanting us to leave . I said to Happy we were at a relatives house not a nightclub ! He said she’s like a hen that wants all her chickens in the one nest! She gave me the biggest hug when I came in the door and asked me to go get the wedding album out to show the guests. Noooooooooo!! Not again!!! 
The next morning we sat outside by the fire near the buffalos and mummy and pinky and pinkys sister in law Pindoo (who is also mummy’s relative) who had slept over, were making mooli parathas (white radish) in the middle . We ate it for breakfast with a bowl of yoghurt, soooo yummy!! I had an out of body experience, sitting 3m away from 14 buffalos, 4 cows and 12 chickens wandering by, eating my breakfast & thinking where the hell am I !!!!! 
         

    
   Everyday mummy asks me if I want hot water to bath with (in the bucket) – my answer is always yes!! it was hard coming back to the bucket again filling it up and using the jug to wash but you get used to it!!! There is something wrong with the hot water tap so daily she has been bringing in a big bucket of hot water and pours it into the one in the bathroom…after a few days I wondered where on earth she brings it from?? Then I asked happy where does your mum bring hot water for my bath from is there another tap? He said no she boils it on the fire outside! WHAT!!! DAILY??? He then told me I am the only one that baths with warm water everyone else has a cold bath!!! How embarassing but there’s no way I could do it cold! And yes that’s the big pot in pic that it’s boiled in !! 
     
 The other issue I’ve had is coming back to the bed – matress that feels like a block of cement I wake up all throught the night feeling sore, now each night when it’s bed time she brings in a thick overlay and puts it on my side of the bed! I said to Happy does she think I’m difficult needing all this special treatment !!!! He said no she loves looking after you don’t be stupid!!  
Now everyday when I see the other girls going to bath I think oh god their having their cold one and I’ve just had my nice big bucket of hot water and do they know!?!?! Hahahhahahaha 

  

  
On Monday we travelled to Chandigarh for the night, Happy Shubh their two friends and I. We had told his two friends in the city we would pick them up at 8am, Happy woke up at 10am and they were ringing and ringing. I said to them we are in the village on village time we won’t be there for hours!!! We arrived to pick them up at 1pm ! Had tea with vishavs mum and then set off, then Happy realised he had left his shoes at his other aunties house we had stopped at on the way so back we went to get them, always a drama!  

 We had so many laughs along the way it was a 5 hour drive and we stopped for lunch, we had to cross a very busy road and Shubh & his two friends held hands to cross!! So funny!! Aussie boys would never do that!! 
       
 
 When we got to Chandigarh we went to BBQ nation for dinner it was a buffet and the boys didn’t realise and when I told them you can eat as much as you want they then ate about 8 full plates each, as we left Paloo was grabbing brownies and stuffing them in his mouth on the way out!!! Hahaha    

    
 We stayed with a friend from Perths family for the night they were really nice and made us feel so welcome. Shubh as usual came completely unprepared and had brought one shirt for the next day! I leant him my pyjama top as I had a spare Top and luckily had a toothbrush for him from the plane in my handbag, they make me feel like I’m the mummy! I did have several fits of giggles at him in my pyjamas tho! One of the boys even asked if I would mind ironing his shirt in the morning but not to tell the others!! 
    Shubh in my pjs  

  

   Elante mall

   

  
  

 The next day we went to the famous Elante shopping centre and then went to my favourite sector 22D market – I bought a sparkly blue dupatta and some blue punjabi jooti’s!  

  I also ate an ice cream at the market for breakfast it was heaven!! 
We then drove back to Amritsar we were all so tired, we slept in the car, in the last hour I randomly found a block of chocolate in my bag, we devoured it in seconds !!! Everytime I fell asleep the boys would wait a few minutes then yell into my ear to give me a fright!!! The fourth time they did it I lost it and abused them all hahaha Happy said to them I knew that was coming I wouldn’t do it again !!!! 

We arrived home into the middle of a major argument between Happys oldest brother and wife Pinky! Awkward!!! I went into my room and sat on the bed, Happy went to drop the others home in the city, they were yelling for a good half an hour then Daddy got involved and was yelling too, next minute mummy is in my room sitting on the bed with me in tears then I cried too when I saw her crying!!! Then Sonu came into my room and sat on the couch, mummy locked my door and said let Daddy speak to her we don’t need to listen. Sonu and I chatted until 1am, mummy fell asleep at the end of my bed and Happy got home and came in and said what’s happened here!!! The three of us had fallen asleep and i was half hanging off because his mum had layed across the end!  
Basically she made a huge issue out of nothing and stirred everyone up! Like she had gone too far and couldn’t backtrack! 

 The next day she acted like nothing had happened and was back to her normal self but we hadn’t forgotten and from then on I started to avoid her a bit, in the beginning we got along well but over time jealousy took over around the time of our wedding and now she’s just hard to get along with. She says little comments to people  to put them down then laughs and walks off, no one finds it funny! And I am right onto her these days! 
   

 A few days later Saaba’s wife to be Simar came to visit for the day with her brother, we sat around chatting most of the day and in the afternoon I asked if Prabh and I could take her with us to Shimla market and they said yes! Mummy is keen to make sure she gets along well with everyone. We had so much fun, she has good English and is easy to talk to and very kind and caring, Happy dropped us off and picked us up and we bought some material and outfits and laces and bits and pieces, and some biscuits and snacks for home. On the way back we stopped at Raj Auntys house in the city to visit her too and she was adamant that she wanted us to stay for dinner then wanted us to sleep over and was begging Happy !! Happy said we can’t we have to go back we will come another day! She said what about tea again then, he said no we are in a hurry!!! 2 minutes later she brought out another tray of tea hahaha we all laughed because she wouldn’t give up she loves having visitors !! We got home at 8pm and mummy said It was VERY DARK AND LATE hahahaa !!!! Happy just looked at me and smiled I said to him she has no idea that we used to go OUT at midnight let alone coming home at 8!!!!! I said to mummy it was Raj Aunty fault and she just laughed
     
   Simar thought the service was slow in the laces shop and started serving us hahahahah 

 
I was in a rush to get home because I knew we were having chicken curry for dinner which is a very rare event as we eat vegetarian most of the time. That morning when I was having breakfast Sonu had asked me if I like eating chicken I said yes I love it! He said ok we will kill one of the chickens today then to have tonight! I said what!!!! No I don’t want a chicken killed so I can eat chicken for dinner !?!?!? I thought he was joking then later on when I was outside he picked one up and said THIS ONE?? And put his hand on its neck and burst into laughter !!!!!   

  I said I do NOT want to know otherwise I won’t be able to eat it!!!! That night when we ate the chicken curry for dinner I was trying not to think about it that it was one of the poor chickens wandering around that morning!! Then Sonu said “was he tasty? It was the one you chose that I was holding in the morning!” I said no no no I never chose one don’t tell me!!!! Luckily we had gone to the market and didn’t see the preparation!!!!! He had especially put a chicken foot in my bowl and when he gave it to me I nearly threw it at him they all laughed then argued about who got  to eat the feet!!!  

  

 But a few days later he got another one and made sure I witnessed it, I took a video and now really appreciate how much work goes into that little packet of chicken we fling into our trolley at the shops in Aus! 
   
    

  
 

 Saaba’s wedding day arrived and it was a mad rush getting 9 people bathed with a “bucket wash” by 11am, it resulted in me being the last one to wash and then chucking on my outfit wet hair and no time to put makeup on or anything I felt so annoyed!!!! Happy said to me let it go it’s their day not ours and you don’t need makeup anyway! So I did but I refused to be in any photos hahaha I looked like a drowned rat, but whatever shit happens!! Chucked some lipstick on and off we went

   
  

 They had a small temple ceremony with our family and Simars family only and then we brought her and all her suitcases back to our house and she officially moved in!! All the aunties from surrounding houses came in and out all day visiting Simar. Prabh, Mummy and I made endless cups of tea and washed dishes and served snacks , Pinky “napped” in her room all afternoon – clearly not dealing well with the fact that there’s now 3 wives in the house instead of 1!!! Simars family gave them a new cupboard, TV, air con unit, painting for the wall, Bedsheets makeup and toiletries and few things for Simars room to make her more comfortable in her new home – this is traditional and every family gives their daughter some furniture on the day for them to use in their new life. That night everyone went to bed quite early and Prabh Happy and Shubh and I sat on the roof chatting all night, I felt exhausted it was a long day and we had so much to do! Simar is lovely she’s very kind hearted and we will be good friends, her Prabh and I get along well and she seemed to fit right in and because her family was already family friends, it wasn’t a completely unfamiliar place for her and she knew everyone & their quirks!  

I said to Shubh when I was going to bed “maybe Saaba and Simar tonight for the first time are having…” I didn’t finish my sentence and Shubh burst into laughter and said “Bhabi you always say something funny at the end of the night!!!!!!!” I only say rude jokes to him because I know he’s not used to it and his hyena hysterical laughter is too funny !!!! Hahaha 

A few days later Happy and I  travelled back to Chandigarh (5hr drive) to attend Happys best friend Ranas sisters wedding, we picked up Jaskaran on the way – he doesn’t go anywhere without a cousin! Happy was so excited he hadn’t seen Rana for 18 months, and Rana had flown in from Aus for the wedding. Prabh & Simar had even made me a special suit for the wedding. We stopped several times along the way for snacks and ice cream ! Jaskaran called his mum (we call her Didi) hourly telling her where we were, I said to him you could NEVER move overseas you can’t separate from her! He said No Way wouldn’t even consider it Love her and proud of it!  
  
    

  

Reunited!  That night they had a huge party and DJ and Jaskaran would not dance he was so quiet and withdrawn I knew he was homesick I then ended up having to babysit him coz I felt sorry for him hahaha 

The wedding was the next day at an amazing wedding Palace, there must have been over 500 people at the wedding !!! 
   

  

   

 After the wedding we travelled home that afternoon..  We got to Jaskarans house late and Didi had waited up for us and made us dinner, we slept the night there, Didi had woken us up early and said Happys mum had called to send us home as they had visitors waiting for us … Noooooo not more rellies!!!!  Back in JHANJOTI that night We went downstairs from the roof and I saw Mama ji (above) was asleep outside (he is the drunk man who works on the farm) 
  I asked if he sleeps outside all year round, Shubh said “yes we give him an extra blanket in winter!!!” Hahaha. Shubh and Happy lifted up his blanket and were fooling around and Mama ji rolled over and his turban dropped off onto the floor, the four of us burst into laughter and ran off back up the steps and he yelled something out to us !!! Hahhahaha we are always playing tricks on him 
The days are passing by so quickly and we have been having so much fun all together I don’t want to go home !! 
     
For 2 days I was sick and had a fever and gastro, I knew it was that dodgy samosa I ate in the street without his mum knowing, rebelling against her saying I wasn’t allowed to eat outside of home! She must’ve checked my forehead about 60 times a day and one day she had been out at a relatives, she got home at 7pm rushed into my room to check my forehead! at 9pm she said that’s it get the car we are going to the city, the three of us drove to the city and searched around for a doctor who she heard spoke good English but she couldn’t quite remember his location at 1030pm we found his house and happy rang the mobile number on the door he let us in – so embarrassing! My mum doesn’t let us call anyone after 9 let alone turn up to houses! But he was so kind and took me straight into his surgery he did a few tests then gave me anti nausea injections and I yelped! He said his son was a doctor in England, he told Mummy all about what was wrong with me – no patient confidentiality here! We got home at about 1130 and I was finally feeling better again however all I could eat for days was apples, so she bought about 3 bags and told everyone they were not to be touched! 

   
   
When I was better We went to the city for Prabhs birthday lunch with her college friends, they had invited Happy & I as a surprise for her and she was so excited, then when Happy paid the bill at the end she cried! We went to Brothers Dhaba near Khalsa College near Khalsa College it was delicious!!!  
 

   
   

   
After lunch we went to visit one of my best friend Navs house (he had also come from Aus to visit his family the same time I came) I met his mum drank tea and then we went and had drinks nearby he also came back to Happys farm to visit our family which was fun 
   
   

 A few days later it was his engagement party and we attended that in the city , since I arrived it has been none stop parties!!!!  
 

Most of my days were spent sitting around drinking tea with Simar & Prabh, making new outfits or shopping at the markets with Mummy for veggies if we had run out! 
   

   
Finished product of this one further down in the photo at the temple 

   

 ME “I’m going to the markets with Happy”
Suddenly back doors open and shut and we’ve got 7 others on board! 

   

 Chicken shop at the markets OMG

  

      
A buttons shop my Aunty Heli would have loved!!! 
     
When his mum walked over and handed me a bag of eggplants and said it was Happys favourite,I died a little inside – I HATE eggplant and wondered how on earth I would swollow it that night! Well I found the solution, at dinner time I headed next door to Prabhs house and ate dinner there then I heard Happys Dad yelling from their house so loud “STEPHIEEEEEEEEEEE STEPHIE ROTI!!!!!!!!!!” he was 2 houses away and I could hear him! I came running out and he smiled and said “Roti!!” I said I already ate and was full, he said no worries patted me on the back and we walked home, sooo….. All that yelling for nothing ha ha ha ha 

   

 Onions!!
 

  Shop that sells trimming & laces – my fave!
  
  Every morning at 6am Mummy makes the daily roti dough! She has some seriously strong hands! 
  
  The contents of a Punjabi family  fridge LOL… Homemade milk, yoghurt, butter, paneer entire dairy fridge ! And fresh eggs from the chickens 
  
  One night Happy took me to the movies and I saw this truck packed with people we laughed so hard driving behind them!!! His family made some comment about the movies being a waste of money, I didn’t care I just said yep love the movies!! I was ready for time out and a westernised outing! 

   Simar told me her mum really wanted us to come for dinner before we went back to Aus so we went there one morning and stayed until midnight it was the longest dinner ever! Haha Happys dad came with us and ended up getting drunk with her Dad!  

   

  

  

  It was a fun day we also went to the temple nearby their village because Happys Mum had told me to make sure I didn’t forget to go there and pray for Happy to be able to go home to Aus with me because that temple has special powers…. It turned out that the next day we woke up and his visa was awaiting in our email ! Simars Mum gave me a red Punjabi suit as a gift and thanked me for looking after Simar in her new home.  They kept making me endless banana smoothies! They must’ve googled “western drink” because no one else was given it!! 

 On the way home that night we saw an entire family of 6 sleeping along the road side on sun beds (it was a hot night) , Happys dad turned to see my reaction , I had my mouth wide open then we all burst into laughter! Stuff like that still shocks me ha ha ha we must’ve covered them with dust as we passed by! When we got home it was late, daddy was drunk  got out of the car and was doing a wee in the field, we all went inside and his mum locked the gates! Happy said to her daddys outside! She said to Happy he can find his own way in! And frowned and off she went back to bed, uh oh he was in trouble! She obviously knew he was the reason we had been there 12 hours!
  I could hear him rattling around at the gate, the next morning I saw him come in from next door he had gone and slept at his brother’s house ha ha ha ha !! 

   
   

   
  

On our last day in Amritsar it was happy’s Niece japnoor’s first day of school, Happy spent quite a while getting her all dressed in her uniform, I like how in joined families everyone who lives in that house is responsible for the kids too! Must make it a lot easier for the Mums!
   
At 7am that morning I checked my email and received an email saying Steph good news everything has been fixed Happy can go back with you to Australia, a giant weight lifted off my shoulders I started shaking Happy and telling him, his response was “where are we what happened who???” He was still asleep , he couldn’t believe it and said don’t tell anyone I will tell them, I came out of my room and his mum instantly said “visa???” I said no…. And looked away thinking shit tell her she is gonna hound me!! 

At breakfast Happy said to his Dad can we go to the city to buy my plane ticket, everyone swung around in shock and then clapped and laughed and hugged us both, his mum said to me later it was because of that temple wasn’t it ! 

 That day Happys mum said we had 12 houses to visit to say our final goodbyes, my heart dropped at the thought of visiting that many houses and having tea and a meal in each !!!! I suggested we call everyone to come to our house instead and have a party! Luckily Mummy agreed. Happy & his dad & I headed to the city to buy a plane ticket, some cake & soft drink and last minute clothes shopping, Sonu was in charge of getting the chickens ready and Mummy & Simar called everyone to ask them over. 
  
  
 Raj Aunty (left) is Happys Dads sister, and Didi (right) is his cousin, they were best friends growing up and I told them they looked nice in their matching suits! Didi said they have always liked the same things since they were little . Didi gave me a gift bag at the end of the night, it had 2 tshirts inside and 3 packets of my favourite snack fulwaria. She said no more suits your going back now. We cried a few times that night !!
  
  Daddy slept early he was exhausted from the huge day! Shehnoor (Sonu’s eldest daughter) sleeps in between Happys mummy & daddy every night! Cute 
  
  Finally back in Aus, it took some adjusting and months of Happy being homesick, sad depressed and missing his family smothering him, it’s hard when you love two countries and feel lost in between – then one day 6 months later he woke up snapped out of it and has been fine ever since! 
I will try make the next post earlier than a year late! Over & Out! X

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