Cristal and Bling Bling

Trip Start Mar 11, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2006

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Flag of India  ,
Monday, June 5, 2006

We were not in New Delhi long the second time, but I wanted to have a post just to mention AJ and why all you kids out there want to be Cal grads. When we'd rolled into town that night, it was into "Old" Delhi station, located nowhere on the mental map we'd previously made of the city. Also, we had nowhere in particular to go as we were probably not welcome back at our last hotel given our unwillingness to let them rip us off for an extra day's charges as we'd left. With no other plan, we managed our way to an internet cafe, where as once and for all it can be proven that God is a Golden Bear, there was an email waiting for me from another member of the Cal Delhi Alumni Club named AJ who was an offer for a place to stay when we got back into town. Never ones to either turn down hospitality or a chance to meet an Old Blue, I hopped into the phone booth and he graciously agreed to meet us at his front door a bit after 11PM.
AJ (short for Amerjit) was an EECS '89 grad and has done quite well for himself in India, with a very large place (especially for India) that was polished and decorated immaculately. He showed us to the guest room that was much nicer than any at the places we'd recently been staying and said he'd be back in a bit to collect us to hang out after we'd had a chance to settle in and freshen up. Back on cue 30 minutes later, he led us to the sleek and modern study where we kicked back on some old school couched with AJ and his wife Namrata and broke out the good stuff from the liquor cabinet. Being somewhat of a caveman myself, I didn't understand AJ's bewildered look when he asked if I wanted anything with the whisky and I said Coke before Ryan shot a look in my direction to indicate that I probably ought not to mix the $100/bottle liquor with cheap soda as I was accustomed to doing with cheap drinks in college. We had probably the most randomly funny conversation ever, ranging from who is inside Oski to AJ's lipid count and then sunk contentedly to sleep.
The evening before I had noticed the security guard patrolling out front but I didn't think much of it. Perhaps he was on watch for the whole neighborhood or whatever, and I certainly didn't think to ponder how many people AJ's family had working for them alone. When I wandered out into the house the next morning, I began my count and didn't stop until I estimated that about 15 people work for these folks just in and around their home! I'm going to assume they were all Stanfurd grads.
As soon as I'd stepped out of the room there was a hired servant (for lack of a better term) to greet me, ushering me to the table, and bringing out plate after place of food until I couldn't any more. There were servants for the kids, servants for the kitchen, servants to clean, servants to drive, there even seemed to be one that took a particular interest in only the dog. I did to be honest find it a bit unsettling and somewhat demeaning, but they assured me as they could that they had good, well-paying jobs, and it's difficult as a foreigner to argue about that sort of thing with locals in their own scene.
Once it grew close to time to catch our flight our, the driving servant took us first to Namrata's kids' clothing boutique and her brother's cigar bar (where we certainly could afford no Cuban) and then to the airport to make like a banana.

Moral of the Story: When I'm as big pimpin' as AJ, I'm gonna have the same spread but also have the doorbell ring "Hail to California"
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