Why can't we repair Indian cities?

Guest house instead of hotel: Authentic overnight stays in India

Devika fasts. She does this because she believes it will have an impact on her husband's well-being - and because it is a full moon. Jaideo Rathore is currently working in the USA. He will stay there for three weeks. She misses him and hopes that he will get home safe and sound. That's why, with the support of in-laws and sister-in-law, she cooks for us, the guests from Germany, but keeps her hands off papad curry, buttered chicken, crispy baked cottage cheese, juicy chapati and the sticky-sweet halva on this evening.
Devika Rathore is 28 and has been married to her husband Jaideo for six years. The two have an eleven month old son and live in Jaipur. As Jaideo wanted, Devika moved into her in-laws' house after the wedding. In this house in the middle of one of the most historic cities in India and very popular with tourists, they rent guest rooms to visitors from all over the world. If you want, you can also just book a dinner or a cooking class. Then Devika or her sister-in-law Chandrika stand at the stove in their colorful saris and let their audience in on the secrets of Indian cuisine.
One of these secrets, at least in the Rathore household, is: freshness. All ingredients come from Rajasthan, the colorful and loud state in northern India. In a village near Jaipur, Devika's father grows the onions and garlic that are served on the roof terrace of the small property called Ikaki Niwas. Mustard, coriander, chilli, potatoes, cauliflower, beans and much more are grown in their new family's fields. The family of her husband Jaideo, whose portrait hangs in the stairwell.
In the portrait, he is smiling friendly at the camera. He is well built and smartly dressed, could also be an actor the way he looks. I recognize a certain resemblance to Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan - albeit without his hooked nose. Cinema star or not: You could definitely say that Devika landed a good catch there. She is happy when I tell her that.
Alone: ​​Devika didn't marry her husband because of his looks. She first met Jaideo at their wedding. The fact that the two are a couple is because their parents promised them to each other. What sounds unimaginable to me is completely normal for Devika. “We ask the horoscope to find the right partner,” she says.
INFORMATION
Getting there: Lufthansa and Air India fly non-stop from Frankfurt to Delhi. Tickets from around 600 euros there and back. From there, the onward flight to Jaipur takes about 1 hour (from 50 euros).

Accommodation: Ikaki Niwas, Shanti Path, Jaipur, from 50 euros, rooms can be booked via Airbnb or directly via the Ikaki Niwas homepage, www.ikaki.in.

Cooking courses: On request, [email protected]

CMT: India is the partner country of the travel fair CMT, which takes place from January 16 to 24 in Stuttgart. Further information at www.messe-stuttgart.de

Further information: incredibleindia.org/ lang / de

Recipe: Papad Curry (for 2 people)

Ingredients: 250 g papadam bread (a very thin, deep-fried flatbread made from lentil flour, available in delis or in Indian supermarkets), ½ teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon red chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon coriander, 6 teaspoons natural yogurt, 3 teaspoons mustard oil , 120 ml water, 1 large onion, finely chopped, ¼ teaspoon cumin.

Preparation: Heat mustard oil in a pan until hot steam is produced. Add the finely chopped onion and cumin and sauté until the onions turn brown. Mix the chilli, turmeric and coriander with the yogurt and also add the paste to the pan. Fry until small oil bubbles form on the paste. Add papadam and stir until the bread has soaked up the spice paste on all sides. Add water and simmer for about five minutes. Serve hot with fresh coriander. It goes well with flatbread or potatoes.

Jaideo and Devika rent twelve rooms in Ikaki Niwas, among other things via the Internet platform Airbnb. They have email addresses and smartphones - which, despite different clichés, still does not apply to all Indians. You live in one of the better areas of Jaipur and you undoubtedly belong to an emerging, well-educated Indian middle class. A constantly growing middle class that is increasingly oriented towards the West. But even in this middle class, the love wedding is still a largely unknown concept. Instead, the stars decide on a future together.
But what if you marry someone and then realize that it doesn't fit? Devika laughs when I ask her this question, it sounds so absurd to her. “I could have just gone back to my family,” she says. Just because? Yes, she affirms, it would not have been a problem for her family. In return, she wants to know from me how it is with us when it comes to choosing a partner and family planning. Because she knows that we choose our partners ourselves, but she cannot imagine what it is like.
Devika and Jaideo took three years to get to know each other. Only then did they decide to have a child. The firstborn is now 11 months old. A second child is to follow. But maybe not for a few years.
The wedding itself lasted seven days. “After that we couldn't go on”, says Devika and laughs. 2,500 guests were present at the highlight of the celebrations, the wedding ceremony. “When we celebrate a wedding, then we do it right. Indians only get into debt when their daughter marries or when they buy a house. "
She and her husband no longer have to buy a house. Jaideo will one day take over his parents' house - and rent rooms with him to tourists. A company that is doing well.
Accommodation for private individuals is on the rise worldwide - including in Jaipur, the world-famous "pink" city that is located on one of India's main tourist routes in the so-called Golden Triangle. The famous Palace of the Winds is only a few kilometers from Ikaki Niwas. The Jal Mahal sea palace, the imposing Amber Fort, the Jantar Mantar observatory and the noisy, hectic old town can also be reached quickly from here - as fast as the ever-dense, chaotic Indian traffic allows.
Devika never thought that she would one day work in tourism. You who have never got out of India. But now that she gets to know people from other cultures every day, her desire to travel herself grows. She dreams of a vacation of several weeks in Europe. “That would be really exotic for me,” she says, “but I want my son to be big enough to benefit from the trip.
When Jaideo's sister Chandrika was preparing dessert, the power went out. In the middle of the cooking demonstration, it gets dark on the terrace. The lights have also gone out in the surrounding houses. Only the moon gives off light. Fortunately, it's a full moon.
“Never mind,” says Devika and quickly takes a couple of candles out of a drawer. They are used to power outages, which are the order of the day in India. “In the dark you can taste more of the food,” adds the lady of the house.