Today was Eid, the culmination of a month’s worth of Ramadan fasting for the Muslims and a reason to celebrate with a feast centered around this celebration. Along with the other Western foreign visitors, I was invited and taken along to the houseboat family’s home to join them on this festive day. All of us sat around on their carpeted floor in an expansive oval as the many bowls of food were placed in front of us. Everything was delicious but with each helping my burgeoning belly continued to swell overwhelmed by dish upon dish of curd (yogurt), rice, grilled meats, various vegetables, and paneer (Indian cheese) all laden with the requisite heavily laden pools of ghee (clarified Indian oily butter) adding a shimmering surface to each. After the meal we were ushered back to Dal Lake where I played my part and bought a bounty of Indian sweets for the group which are like crack in their own right based on their high concentration of cocaine sugar that can leave anyone twerking and twitching. With no desire to stay much longer on the houseboat for the day, we went to another of the family’s home. Here along with the first home, I could see how well their business was working in the act of cheating foreigners. We sat around the living room sipping tea and whatnot until one of the family most familiar with the business of Kashmir carpets tried to show me his collection and tried to sell me on one. This whole scheme went back to when they were trying to sell me on the trekking trip saying that I could buy one of their carpets and sell it back in the States doubling back my money if not more. Since I believed there is a market for this dying art, I entertained his pitch listening to how the carpets are made, how long they take to get stitched together with their dense compact and detailed threading, and how the business of selling them in England works. The carpets were beautiful but I have no reason to own one myself and don’t have enough knowledge despite how much they tried to convince me otherwise to sell them off convincingly. Plus, why on earth would they sell me a carpet of theirs when I supposedly could turn it around and make a greater profit. Once again, they showed their colors as the soulless heathens that they are trying to form their web of lies on top of each other in an attempt to trick me out of my wits. I declined their sale and anticipated removing myself out from under their prohibitive thumb and away from the houseboat. Back at the houseboat we hung out for a little while longer and even shot off the rest of the firecrackers and fireworks from the balance of the canoe we floated out from the houseboat each missile acting as a singular repeating close call. Tomorrow on my last official full day on the houseboat I would finally explore Srinagar on my own and look into alternative places to stay the night on shore as I waited for the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek to depart.
Expecting the Unexpected in India Day 219: Celebrating Eid