It is 3:30 in the morning and I am finally off to sleep. I awoke to the riotous sound of birds squawking , monkeys laughing hysterically and a growling tiger — celebrating dawn’s arrival. Looking up at the high ceiling fans and Kantha tapestries hanging all about the room, I realize I’m not in Kansas anymore; I crossed over the rainbow.
Shamlu and her quiet staff are waiting for breakfast and tea. It is a gastronomic feast and I am famished. Mangos, omelet and Indian toast and jam await, yum. Next order of business is finding several saris and blouses to wear to lunches and dinners. We play Indian Barbie doll, I try on about 10 saris, each one more beautiful than the last. Many have been made by Shamlu and her team of rural women weaving the tradition Kantha embroidery . I choose all of them! Then Shamlu and I are off to her club, one of the oldest golf and cricket clubs in India. We are table hopping as Shamlu seems to know all of Kolkata, if not all of India. We sit at a table with many of her friends and I am eating all that is offered, it is delicious. We leave around 3 PM and then off to dress for a party she is giving in my honor to introduce me to her friends. As they arrive I am taken by their dress, each woman is wearing the most beautiful saris and salwar kameez. I too am wearing a sari that Shamlu has chosen and wrapped around me; I doubt I could do it myself but will have to learn. The staff has quietly prepared a feast of all Indian snacks which are delectable. They keep offering me everything, some things I choose not to ask about and just pop it into my mouth. I know I have eaten foods that I would never have chosen had I been in the states – and yet everything is amazing. I am stuffed. I meet a young Italian film producer and we chat for the night, I know she and I will become friends.
Later, Bobo, the Lab, comes bounding in to find me and play. I am charged with training him during my stay – he is just 1 year old and has limitless energy. As I say goodnight and dress for bed, I hear the bedroom door bang open and, thinking it is an intruder, I head for the bathroom and close the door – it is to no avail, the door bashes open and I am pushed to the floor – Bobo again; he wants to play and it’s now 1 AM! The staff comes running in to “help” me and I am laughing with Bobo sitting on top of me. They shuttle him out of the room, he is looking forlorn and is whimpering. I promise that I will play with him the next day and finally go to sleep.