As we were twirling down the mountain at rapid speeds, the rain subsided and the monkeys came out to play. We pulled over to get pictures of the family of monkeys as they frolliced on the fresh, clean mountainside. They were quite curious about us, and came very close to the car making us a bit nervous. By now we were well aware that the monkeys can be a bit violent and agressive. But, they watched us as we watched them, strangers taking in each others strangeness. The excitement of being that close to wild monkeys doesn't wear off even in 2 months!
Back to the speedy twirling down the mountains. We headed for Sonu's home village to meet his family and enjoy a home cooked meal. We arrived in this luscious, green village and were introduced to at least 20 of Sonu's relatives. They were so excited to have "real American" women there visiting them. Sonu became an instant hero for bringing us to liven up their humble lives for a few hours. Many beautiful auntie's pinched our cheeks, and bright eyed youngsters practiced the little english that they knew on us. They brought us out back to see the Buffalo mother and her baby. They were both so beautiful with those classic, loving, ancient eyes to match those of the people who cared for them. We hugged the buffalo calf and took pictures kissing her nose. We sat with Sonu's mother and father and he translated so that we could have somewhat of a conversation with them.
Then the amazing meal was served on the best china. Sonu had told his mother that our favorite indian dish was bhangan bharta, a spicy egplant dish. It was the best bhangan bharta I had my entire trip in india. With it she served nan, flat bread, and the strangest accompanyment of fresh buffalo butter. She encouraged us to eat the butter with a spoon, not on bread, but merely with a spoon like ice cream or something. It certainly was thick and buttery, but I never ate butter with a spoon before, and to be honest, I don't imagine I shall ever again. The butter tasted nice, but it was too rich, too much to eat all by itself. But, we smiled and scooped big spoonfuls of it to make our hosts feel good. They were so kind, we did not want to offend them at all!
After dinner we all sat in the evening air and enjoyed light conversation, over happy full bellies. Eventually it was time for us to emerge from the loving embrace of this village of relatives that Sonu was so lucky to call his own! The children ran alongside the car as we drove away, leaving behind promises to return one day.
And on we spiraled down the mountains and back to Delhi. Eventually we landed at a friendly and familiar hotel we had stayed at many times during the trip. We settled in and passed out, with dread of the following morning.
We awoke and ordered our ritual breakfast of 2 chai's, aloo parantha's (potato bread), spicy mango pickle's, and curd (yogurt). We sat silently dreading the afternoon, and Sarah's departure. After breakfast Sonu met us and we decided to go out with a bang one last time. We went to the liquor store to get big bottles of king fisher beer. We sat in our hotel room and got drunk and giggled. We talked about all of the fun we had on this life changing trip. We talked about our plans to return the very next summer. We drank and talked until we were warm and mushy inside.
Finally it was time to take Sarah to the airport. Sonu and I waved like maniac's as we watched tiny Sarah and her HUGE bags disappear into the crowds at the airport.
Silently we walked back to the car. The drive was heavy, and sad. We were silent mostly the whole way back. Sonu left me at the hotel and promised to return in the morning to take me to my bus, for my return to Rishiskesh. I looked forward to the opportunity to dive into yoga with my new guru. I missed my partner in crime. I fell asleep late that night after watching too many wierd and fun bollywood movies. I left the tv on all night tricking myself into feeling as though I wasn't alone