Saturday, September 01, 2012

Like a horse heading back to the barn

I think this is a bhakri (buck).
Friends, I have never been more puzzled and exhausted and overwhelmed and overheated and overexcited than I have been on this India vacation and what blog posts I mentally compose during the day are lost because there is rarely internet in our hotel rooms. I'm currently sitting outside in the soupy 8:45 a.m. heat to bring you this, whatever this is.

Other than "thank-you," I have learned three Hindi words on this trip. Bhakra, which means goat. Gai, which means cow. And bhens, which means water buffalo. Don't laugh if you know how to spell in Hindi. I'm just trying to get my dairy animals straight so I can figure out what kind of milk they are using in the chai. This morning it was gai milk. The other day: bhens. Sometimes it is made with bhakra milk, which one waiter told me is excellent, although the waiter this morning told me bhakra milk it is far too salty. People are funny about milk. The chai made with bhens milk was extremely rich and fattening -- check out the calories. Whoa. I think some of the really amazing and velvety paneer we've eaten has been made with bhens milk. Does anyone raise bhens in the United States? Someone should. All you need is a big muddy pond where they can wallow.

I'm not going to lie, I'm ready to go home. I woke up this morning and thought, only four more mornings in India! It is wearisome, navigating in this crazy heat, ignoring the relentless salesmen, and making Owen wash his hands every five minutes. Did you see Best Exotic Marigold Hotel? Mostly I feel like Tom Wilkinson, but I regret to say that I can identify with Maggie Smith.

Would my husband be upset if I brought one home?
I will never, ever admit to a Penelope Wilton moment.


  1. I have seen paneer from bhen milk in the local Indian grocery store; will have to check whether it was produced here.


  2. They're raising them here in Canada - so water buffalos are likely in the States too. It seems that they're happiest when milked with country music being played in the background, so they may have settled around Nashville:

  3. Oh, I can imagine that you are exhausted, but I am still jealous of your trip. Exotic often translates into exhausting. I hope you have an uneventful trip home, then rest up quickly, as I can hardly wait to hear all about it. Do you think your husband would mind if you got a water buffalo?

  4. They serve buffalo milk (regular buffalo, not water buffalo) mozzarella at Rosso Pizzeria, right here in Petaluma.

  5. I would like a bhens of my own. We have a pond just down the road, and I'm sure no one would mind.

  6. monkeys only look cute, they are pure evil...I am eating at a friend's house this coming weekend, and her mom is cooking a crazy Indian feast...cannot wait to hear her paneer making secrets. I eagerly await the rest of your story! that buffalo could help mix the cob....I'm just sayin

  7. This article about water buffalo grazing near Tipsy's California homestead says that water buffalo are as affectionate as Labrador retrievers.

  8. aren't there bhens in golden gate park?
    sneak in and get some milk.