Jhunjhunu, India

January 9, 2003

Weather: high of about 75ºF and clear

We are extending our stay at the comfortable Jamuna Resort. Many people come through for just one night, but a few friends of Laxmi, the owner, stay on longer. We stay longer and so fall in with the friends of Laxmi.

One of the benefits of staying longer at the Jamuna resort is that we are able to move into the Golden Room that has been painted like the havelis of Shekawati.
Staying in the room is a little unnerving. The detail and complexity of the painted designs makes your head swim. After two nights we switch to a more modest room.
Laxmi drives us to a Hindu temple that seems to be based on sati, the practice of widows killing themselves on their husband's funeral pyre.
We also stop to see an old well that used to be the center of the community. Everyone would come here in the morning to draw water, bathe, seek counsel from elders, and gossip. The advent of home plumbing has left a hole in the communal fabric.
The four towers in the center were the symbol announcing the well to all visitors.
We manage to convince the staff to give us an Indian cooking lesson in the middle of one of the busiest dinner hours. The man on the left is the head chef. On the right is the head waiter (who bicycles 240km to Jaipur to play bicycle polo).
The spices are in these large wooden boxes that the cook reaches into with his ladle to make each dish as it is ordered. I saw no measuring devices anywhere.
Three other cooks did the chopping and made the chapatis (flat bread). There is a lot of garlic, onion, and corriander in most of the curries.
Julie takes notes and tries not to look too closely at that wall above the tile.

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