Chai tea and english biscuits, it is 3AM and Addu and Ramani, her mother, and I sit at the dining table. I am awake and aware but nowhere near coherent, my mind cannot compute how I am here (in India) when once I was there (in New York). Dinky, the lady in wait is asleep in an adjacent room, a sash on the door marking her as the "bride-to-be." The family dogs, Devon, a german shepherd and Chennai, a golden retriever doze at our feet. Chitchat gives way to yawns and soon we make our way to bed. It feels amazing to lie flat with enough room to stretch arms, legs, hips, back. I fall asleep to the stirring of a city about to wake.
Morning reemerges and there are introductions, first with Divyanka then with Rehka and a mini stream of other family, friends and staff who make their visitation during mid-morning. Freshly made hot chocolate follows with breakfast dosas. First the savory Indian crepes are served with coconut chutney, pickled tomato and gunpowder (a spicy remoulade of spices and oil). Then they are followed with the sweeter version served with granulated sugar and a selection of marmalades and jam. The meal is accompanied by sweetened coffee steeped in milk (not water) and served in metal demitasse cups.
Another friend of Addu's arrives from New York, and after breakfast we are transferred to Brunton Heights (with the British Indian intonation sounds a bit like Downton Abbey), a hospitality hotel where we will be lodging for the week. The hotel suite is lovely and has a balcony overlooking the frangipani tree in the garden. Once unpacked and settled, I shower (loving the rainwater faucet set up), change, grab my camera and go.