Delhi Part 2 -- Chez Karishma
We stayed with Joanna’s friend and ex-Woodstock-staffer, Karishma. As more proof to the tiny-ness of the world, Karishma went to Beloit for a semester, before my time. How’s that for random? Anyways, Karishma lives with her family in a “village” just outside of Delhi proper. She picked us up at the airport and we bumped and jolted our way along a very poor excuse for a road for a while, then turned through a walled/gated enclosure into…a whole different world.
Their house is set on 2 acres of beautifully manicured lawn, with trees and massive rock formations (apparently the whole area was massive boulders and they cleared out tons while building the house). The house itself is amazing. For one thing, it’s octagonal. You walk through the main entry way, resplendent in marble with a fountain and large metal statue of Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god. After the entryway, you find yourself in an interior courtyard. Then off to each of the eight sides, are more rooms, none of which adjoin each other—you always have to go into the courtyard to get from one room to another. Marble everywhere. It was just gorgeous.
My favorite room was probably the living room/library. You walk in and there’s an eating nook with a small table. Then beyond the table, two sets of staircases, along opposite walls, lead up to a loft, three walls of which are covered in bookshelves brimming with novels of all shapes and varieties. There isn’t enough room on the shelves, so more books are stacked up on the floor, patiently awaiting a spot. It made me giddy.
And I quickly discovered just how easy it is to get horribly spoiled. The family employs several full-time domestic helpers, including house-keepers, gardeners, a cook, and a general butler-type guy. This fabulous man would appear in the morning as we were blearily waking, offering us tea and coffee on a tray. In the afternoons, it was lemonade and trays of star fruit and veggies. Mmmm. The cook took requests as to what we’d like for breakfast or dinner and took great pleasure from creating the best scrambled eggs ever and some divine caramel custard (sort of like flan). Decadence indeed.
And did I mention the dogs? 14 of them to be exact. Yes, 14. And we’re not talking Yorkies here, either. They must have averaged 50 pounds each! As far as I can tell, they’re all mutts. Karishma and family have a large soft spot for strays and regularly rescue them. And you know you’re dealing with dog people when the construction of their house took the dogs into account. They have a large outdoor run, a holding area where they’re bathed and fed, and even their own refrigerator and min-kitchen where doggie dinner is prepared. Sadly, they’re not super friendly so I only got to meet a couple, but I would watch out the window when they were let out several times a day. The door to one of the rooms off the octagon courtyard would slide open (they all slide; none opened on hinges) and a frenzied mass of barking fur would stream across the courtyard and out through another door. I loved it!