Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Hyderabad Hydraulics

A brief "looseness" early on in the trip gave me some hope that the risks of Indian infections would be very minor but the day after the wedding left those hopes shattered. I found myself having one of those delirious dreams that only happens when your body knows something is wrong - a pounding headache was what awaited me when i came out of it and it was all i could do to crawl over to my bed and scrabble for some Advil - the instant coffee that I hoped might clear my head somewhat was expelled in perfect liquid form 10 minutes later and when breakfast came the only thing i could tolerate was some juice which also came back up perfectly (it doesn't taste as good the second time around) - everything that went in was coming back up minutes (and inevitably the rest of my body's water was finding alternative means of exiting).
The friendly waiters at the resort gave me a few opinions as to what i could be - did you take liquor last night, sir? Well, i had a beer. That must be it then!
The cause could have been anything - over ripe mangos, something from the wedding but most likely to my thoughts was the kalu (I think that's what it was called) drink that i took on the way home from the wedding. In between the thousands of mango stands that line the streets and highways there were occasionally women with earthenware pots selling the national drink, a date palm water. Rahul's wife (and I am shamed that I have forgotten her name ... although she would always address me as Brother [so i guess she forgot my name too but i could call her sister]) called it 'white wine' and would i like to try some.
Thinking it must have been some fermented version of it i thought it would be good to try but it was perfectly natural with no additives and was very delicious. The first time I tried it they made sure i stayed in the car while they went and fetched it. On the second day, i thought i'd go get some myself and it was then that i realised conditions may not have been up to Dr Bhatt's standards - flies and ants everywhere - the earthenware cup that the woman served it to me in was rinsed out from another bucket of water she had next to her (THAT's the most likely culprit i think) - it was delicious and i will definitely have it again I hope but that's the risk one takes when in India.
My driver came to take me to Amoor, Raj's home village, where we would be having the reception - I was a bit delirious with dehydration and the headache - we stopped once to get some tea, i thought i might be able to handle some Sprite but no sooner did it go in than it came straight out again. Not the best condition for the party but i endured.
Upon arriving at Raj's place I had some more foods and drinks pushed upon me but i couldn't even consider taking more than a sip to be polite and after meeting some more of his fambly i was soon picked up by Vamshi, his old school friend, and a different man from Raj you wouldn't find. Vamshi had sorted out the rest of my touring through Delhi way and was adamant that everything would be fine and if anything went wrong I was to call Vamshi and Vamshi would sort it out. He took me to the Premier Lodge where I would be staying the night so i could rest before the reception. Whilst I seemed to get a few too many opportunities to rest this was one that i wanted to take, unfortunately, Vamshi had other ideas and no sooner had i dumped my bag in my room than i was dragged into another room for whiskey and beer and very spicy food - I desperately tried to explain that i just couldn't take anything in - I was throwing up constantly and it wasnt that the food was too spicy, i like spicy food, i can take spicy food, just, right now, it's just not going to happen.
Unfortunately this pleading fell on deaf ears and drinks were poured and put into my hand, food was put into my lap, and i sipped and nibbled to keep them quiet - desperately hoping it wouldn't come straight up. Perhaps the whiskey killed the bug because nothing came up after that - i was extremely wary of drinking considering i'd had no food in my system for about 24 hours and was very dehydrated but i eventually managed to extricate myself and got a few hours sleep before we all headed to the reception.
Vamshi and rest of his crew were roaring drunk by the time i woke and they were still trying to ply me with more booze - I still had a headache but luckily things seeemed to be able to sit in my stomach this time - my instructions for dress was formal (as per the wedding) - I'd worn a suit the previous day and found i was the only one doing that and Raj clarified "formal" as being just jeans and a t-shirt or something (he forgot to put the IN in front of it I think) but this time when I did wear jeans and a t-shirt this was the time everyone was dressing up - i just did what i was told so i felt my Conscience Clea(red). The reception had a few rituals but basically seemed to be Rajveer and Priyanka standing in front of the flowers with every permutation of family and friend member geting photographed - soon afterwards i went to try to get some food and was dragged into the incredible kitchen (photos to come one day) where the spicy meats were piled on to my plate - it must have been the whiskey because it all stayed down - lots of introductions with the main body of questions being variations on Are you married? Why not? What are your qualifications? What do you do?
The less said about the subsequent hotel night the better - suffice to say I did get a few hours of fitful sleep (only due to complete exhaustion) and I understand why Raj offered me the opportunity to stay at another hotel in the next town ... but that's for another post.

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