The India Pale Ale, or IPA, is as elusive as a Bengal tiger, as flavorful as chana masala, and sought after by virtually every Western expat—as well as some Indian’s. It is a beer without equal and without boundaries. It is the thirst quenching, dry-mouthed, aromatically hoppy king of craft beers, and there isn’t a decent one on all of the Indian subcontinent—save what I and a few other expats bring with us when we return from a trip.
India offers tourists unmatched access to perception-altering sights, sounds, and flavors. Forget The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel; The Darjeeling Limited; Slumdog Millionaire; Eat, Pray, Love; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom—these movies don’t even begin to reveal the real India. To understand India’s quirks and irks, ceaseless cacophony, and amalgamated intrigue, pity, and revulsion requires a visit.
In 2004 we raced through one of the busiest airports in the world between domestic and international departures in order to make a flight to Costa Rica. We sat squarely in the middle of the arriving aircraft, waited impatiently to deplane, donned our backpacks, and ran at a full sprint. Twelve years later we raced through another airport, only this time we were with our son and daughter-in-law (DiL) in southeast Asia.
We watched in awe as the Doctor hung the IV from the ceiling lamp. In the middle of an 11-day tour of major Indian attractions, a case of Delhi belly complicated by severe dehydration almost proved fatal—we’ll provide a lot more details of the 11-day trip in a couple weeks. Now we were in a hotel room with our son, daughter-in-law, and one Indian Doctor-cum-philosopher preparing for two hours of rehydration and pharmaceutical restoration.