greetings from new delhi!
first of all, this tsunami tragedy is mind-boggling. i'm really at a loss about what all can be done to help out. obviously, money always helps though, so if anyone is interested in donating, i've found that google has a good brief list of reputable (both secular and of varying religions) agencies to donate through:
http://www.google.com/tsunami_relief.html. i'm also looking for other ways to help out (something that will hopefully last long after the media hype dies down), and when i find some good ones, i'll pass on that information as well to those that are interested.
other than that, i'm afraid i don't have anything very exciting to report on the grand-trip-to-india front. i met up with my parents in dc, spent a few days helping my mother frantically pack and un-pack only to re-pack nonsensically. we spent ten hours in holiday traffic trying to drive to new york (an otherwise four hour drive), in which some unnamed family members had some unnamed mini-disasters which i am not allowed to discuss (but surely will under alcohol-induced duress (hint hint)).
the flight was fairly uneventful and relatively painless and we made it to dubai by xmas eve. we spent xmas day roaming around dubai and spent the evening exploring a nearby desert. sachin and i went dune-hopping on atvs, sand-boarding, dressed up like natives and generally behaved like the clueless tourists that we were. later that night/early the next morning we flew to delhi and have pretty much been here ever since. there hasn't been any culture-shock or adjustment necessary like previous trips, mostly (we think) because things have changed so much.
the air is cleaner in delhi (thanks to the city's clean natural gas initiative), a lot of people dress fairly western (so we don't stick out as much -- though the sight of a tall girl in grubby sweats is still fairly startling to the men-folk who have taken to staring at my eye-level boobs in shock) and i guess we've matured a bit in the past eight years. the constant chaos is of course still baffling and the sheer number of people overwhelming, but nothing shocking or new. we've spent the last few days meeting one of our nephews (who we've concluded is a human incarnation of stewie from "the family guy") and new cousins-in-law, re-uniting with an older and more mature version of our erstwhile "wild" cousin sunny and generally chillin with the fam while exploring the city. we tried to take a road trip to mathura, agra and gwalior but got as far as agra (after a brief disastrous detour through mathura) before sachin, my dad and i got hit by the demons of dysentery. we've been pretty much trying to regain normal bowel movement and control our projectile vomiting tendencies ever since. tonight should be interesting. we leave for our road trip through the great punjab to jummu-kashmir on the 3rd, so i guess that's when the real adventure will begin. as long as we don't eat or drink anything for the rest of the trip.
more news as events warrant. i hope this email finds y'all well. happy new year!