Jaya and her family invited us over for dinner last weekend. We all have a lot in common, and when we are together, there is none of that awkward silence we find a lot when we visit a national's home.
The dinner turned out to also be a mini-celebration for me! Apparently there is a celebration during a woman's pregnancy around the 7th month where she will sit on a seat decorated with flowers, and friends will bring her gifts. Not gifts for the baby, but gifts for the mom-to-be! So when we finally sat down to dinner (at almost 9pm - very typical dinner time here!) I had the seat of honor. My place setting was decorated with flowers! It was very nice. Dinner was served, and it was delicious as usual. It was all veg of course - fresh veggies, lentils, a dish that is sort of similar to cottage cheese (but not really), rice, flat bread, homemade yogurt, and my favorite were the ginger potatoes.
After dinner, we all went into one of the bedrooms, where an AC was running. Up until this time, we were just under fans. As I've mentioned before, Jaya lives with her husband and in-laws, which is very common in South Asian families. Her in-laws are all artists and musicians; her father-in-law plays the violin, and her husband and mother-in-law sing. So they had asked husband before hand to bring his guitar, and he sang a couple of songs. Then the father-in-law played the violin, then Jaya's husband sang a couple of songs, etc. I had one embarrassing moment during his very serious and beautiful love song where sneezes attacked me. Of course.
After they all had their fun being musical, it was almost 11pm and time to leave. But Jaya wouldn't let us leave quite then because she had a surprise for us! She sat us down on the couch and brought us some gifts! She gave me a beautiful tan, red, and black sari. A sari ranges from 4 to 9 meters long, depending on what style it is, and you wrap it around strategically and then throw it over your shoulder. It's a very difficult thing for out-of-practice Westerners to wear, but it feels like you're playing dress up, so it's still a lot of fun. The over the shoulder part (the pallu) is sometimes decorated differently than the rest, like my new one. The red and black part is the pallu. They also gave husband some paintings done by Jaya's father-in-law! I actually like them a lot, and even more so that I know the artist and am friends with his family.
It was a great night and we were able to share a lot with them and build even more of a relationship. I am so thankful for Jaya's friendship!