Day 2: the one with the orange dot and the pizza

It looks like ketchup but the bottle doesn’t say ketchup.

We’re having breakfast at the SIRM right before heading towards the Mandi village. I forgot what its name was but it’s like a potato roll. Kind of spicy for a breakfast. The bottle is being passed around: everyone wants to try the almost-ketchup.

“It tastes like ketchup, but I can’t tell if it’s spicy or not”

“Same here”

“Indian ketchup”

Giaccomo halts one of our guides and asks him if it’s ketchup. It is.

“Like ketchup-ketchup?”

“Ha. Ketchup-ketchup”

Ha means yes.

SIRM campus
SIRM campus

In Mandi, we’re like gold fish in an aquarium. It doesn’t matter how we’re moving, there’s always someone watching us. Ok, maybe we’re slightly better than gold fish: people asked to take pictures with us. Just the kind of ego boost you need on the second day you have to wake up at 5 AM.

I was worried that today would be less special than the day spent in Ranpatura. The questionnaires took too much time to be filled. As my guides/translators, Dipak and Garimah, took over to speed up the process (spelling Indian names is as hard as they sound), I set to discover the second floor of the purple pucca. In socks.

Pucca in Mandi
Pucca in Mandi

We visited most of the village and one of the families invited us over for a cup of chai – mainly tea and ginger, delicious. On the way back to the bus, our guides stopped by the temple. We all went in and we went back out, we each had an orange dot drawn on our foreheads.

That orange dot means that you have been blessed by the Hindi gods.

Mandi family
Mandi family

(Side note and an interesting fact about Mandi:

In June 2000, villagers discovered a treasure in a mount of mud that has been untouched for many many years. The jewelry recovered dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization. The villagers supposedly uncovered 500 kg worth of treasure. )

***

“There’s a roof?!”

Monica nodded and asked me to follow her. She’s also an intern at AIESEC Jaipur but we’re not working on the same project. Her Egyptian accent is contagious.

I don’t know why but we leave the common room running and head towards the staircase that I have been ignoring for the past two days. We have no flashlights but we miraculously manage not to fall. I am going to spare you the description of the view the roof offered. Just know that even if it wasn’t much, it was a mix of fuzziness and serenity at the same time. Oh, and Eevie was playing Riptide on the ukulele. And it was raining.

When we went back down, we ordered pizza, food we were all familiar with. We called pizza hut three times, changing the order each time, trying to get it right. The delivery guy showed up twice. The pizzas were devoured in five minutes.

More ukulele and guitar.

Good food. Good music. Good people.

Perfect.

PS: the tuk-tuk pimp won the bargain for the second time today.

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