June 16th marked the 3rd day of my stay in India and I already feel so refreshed. I’m staying at my grandparents’ place, which is in Nashik, a city four hours away from the hub of Bombay. After recently hearing news that people were dying of heat stroke in India, I was a little scared of the heat to be honest, but Nashik surprised me. The wind has been plentiful and the weather is at a nice 70 degrees Fahrenheit just like the bay area. It’s ideal weather really! The farmland that surrounds my grandparents’ house helps make the climate cooler and adds to the simple but natural scenery. It’s crazy to think about how rapidly India is changing. I was last here three years ago and since then I can already see new buildings, new shopping centers, and a rise in residential areas. Although now so many people have quick internet access due to the frequency of cellphone use, I’ve been able to get a cleanse from the constant buzz of social media since my grandparents don’t have internet. It has been a nice refresher, eating long lunches with cousins and taking even longer walks by the farms without any rush to answer an email or constantly look at my phone to keep up with social media updates. The overall relaxing environment and simplicity of everyday life has definitely relaxed my mind.
On the night of the 17th, the whole family–grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles–visited Sula vineyards, one of Nashik’s famous tourist attractions. My first cousins and my mom’s aunt and cousin joined us as we made our way over in a huge rental van that resembled a miniature bus. At home, I had looked up the vineyard online and had heard so many good things about it. The site was beautiful, with endless fields of grape vines and mountains looming over to support the natural background. The tasting room was even more impressive–a huge barrel room with an authentically antique feel. Upstairs, was the restaurant that overlooked the entire vineyards. It was beautiful! We took two bottles of merlot to go, while my aunts, grandma and mom cooked us a huge chicken and seafood feast. The merlot was excellent with the meat– it was sweet, yet had a little spicy kick without overdoing the bitter. My uncle bought a local white wine, which was so good I couldn’t stop drinking it! Even the alcohol here had a different, but refreshing flavor. My twin cousins slept over and while the elders slept, we relaxed with a Bollywood movie.