Walking the Indian district in Artesia, California is like walking down Fashion Street in South Mumbai. Well, that’s what I like to imagine anyway. I’ve never been to India, though it’s desperately high on my list of places to go. I have walked other streets around the world where the Indian presence was historically engrained and still going strong. Biashara Street in Nairobi, anyone? The delicious aromas and vibrant colors are what lure me to experience the real deal in India. And the people. The district near Los Angeles has the right smell, the right eye candy and the people.
While waiting for our food at Ashoka the Great, my just-beginning-to-toddle toddler wanted to explore the storefronts outside. The Indian fabric and fashion store grabbed her interest and in she ran. Normally I would peruse the items, walk the aisles and offer a polite “just looking, thanks,” to the cashier. But not today. Little P toddled up to the display window and the chatting locals stopped their Hindi conversation to admire her. “How old is she? She walks so well. She is so interested. I have a granddaughter just like her. Hello baby!” A lovely, personable conversation ensued as we talked about raising toddlers and how special their little lives are. And just as quickly as she ran into the store, Lil’ P was done, ready to run back to the sidewalk and find another little adventure. My daughter, without a word, initiated a warm exchange with these warm people. Back at the restaurant, she equally enjoyed the murgh saag and Bollywood tunes from her highchair. I’m sure she will love India, and India will love her, when eventually their paths cross.