Shan-e-Punjab (An Adventure in India)

“Hey Foster, what is that?”

punjabi numbers “Oh,” I replied, “that’s iced jasmine tea and chocolate muffin crumbs.” Panda rolled his eyes. “I know,” he said. “But I’m talking about the notebook.” “Oh that!” I laughed. “It’s Mom’s Punjabi numbers. She says she’s having trouble with the suffix for the 40s.”in den both“Oh my word,” Panda replied. “Only our mom!” I nodded. “Yeah, she can get pretty carried away sometimes.” Then I got an idea. “Hey, let’s look up India on the computer!”elephant pillow “Why India?” Panda queried. “Because,” I replied patiently, “that’s where they speak Punjabi. Maybe we could find some info to help Mom with her numbers.” Panda nodded, his eyes wide. “Are there elephants in India?” he asked. I shrugged. “I guess we’ll find out. Let’s go!”

on bright elephant3“Whoa!” exclaimed Panda. “I guess that answers our question!” We looked at each other. “How did we get up here?” I asked. Panda shook his head. “Who knows?” he answered. “Stuff like this always happens when we go on the computer by ourselves.” “Yeah, I guess you’re right,” I ventured. “Let’s just hope we don’t get in trouble…”following the crowd2“Wow!” Panda said when we jumped down from the elephant. “I had no idea India was so colorful!” I couldn’t resist. “Well, compared to you, everything is colorful!” I chuckled. “Very funny,” Panda replied. “Hey, where do you think these people are going?”looking at taj2We followed the crowd until we came to an incredibly beautiful building. “It looks like the Taj Mahal!” I exclaimed breathlessly. panda close to edge2“Let’s go check it out!” Panda said. “Panda!” I shouted. “You’re too close to the edge! Walk! No running!” “You sound just like Mom!” Panda laughed. “A teacher raised by Swedes!”walking up to taj2“Yeah,” I mumbled. “If it weren’t for Swedes and teachers none of us would probably be alive today!” (Wait, did I just say that?!) taj mahal wall2 Unbeknownst to us, you can tour the inside of the Taj Mahal too. We loved the artwork. “Looks like something Mom would draw,” Panda mused. After our tour of the Taj Mahal, we were getting pretty hungry. Indian food2We asked some of the locals for recommendations, and they sent us to this restaurant with a buffet. Everything was delicious! After our meal, we were energized for more adventure.shan e punjabstation2“What’s the best train to Amritsar?” Panda asked. I knew the answer to that one! “Shan-e-Punjab,” I replied promptly. Panda looked surprised. “How did you know that?” he asked. “Dude,” I said, “haven’t you ever heard Mom’s ‘Teach Yourself Punjabi’ CD? Let’s get on. I even know how to ask if we can get a seat in second class!”crowded train2“Is this your idea of second class?” Panda grumbled. “Hmph!” I replied. (Anyway, I thought I had asked for second class…)both on train2I have to say, once we got on our way the view from the train was spectacular!surekha holding foster2We even got to meet Surekha, the train driver. She told us she was the first female train operator in India. She gave us this link so we could read about her when we got home. We could hardly wait to tell Mom about that!on ox cart2Once we got off the train we decided to try out some other modes of transportation.
panda keeping upI liked riding the rickshaw best. “Hurry up Panda!” I called, when I realized he had somehow not made it in before we started.rickshaw ride2Thank goodness he made it!spying in marketNow this is where our adventure gets really exciting! We were at the marketplace and Panda was trying out some leather bags he thought Mom might like, when I overheard some men talking. With my limited Punjabi I was able to gather that they were plotting a crime of some sort. I thought they said something about drugs. I made eye contact with Panda and indicated to him to jump down and come with me.parking lot conversationWe followed the men to a place I can only describe as an elephant parking lot. I  casually went up to them and listened to their conversation while Panda tried his best to stay hidden. We figured no one would suspect a stray cat in the street, but a panda might have been a different story. We got as much information as we could and went to look for a police officer.with punjabi police officer2The officer was very interested in our information. He said they had been looking for those guys for a long time. “We’ll take it from here, boys!” he said. It wasn’t long before the police had caught our suspects! at police press conference with garlandWe were honored at a press conference and featured in Daily Ajit, the world’s largest online Punjabi newspaper! It was then that we realized we should get home before Mom found out we were gone. Reluctantly we closed down the computer…

“Wow that was some adventure!” Panda said as he stretched out on the windowsill.

lazy in den “You aren’t kidding,” I agreed lazily. “It sure is fun looking at and Google image searches!”