We weren't too excited about this, but like good little prisoners we showed up at the allotted time roaring and ready to mix up some cake. Apparently this is some sort of an old tradition leftover from the Brits, according to Chris, our English compatriot. You have to mix all the ingredients for the cake precisely ten days before Christmas. Why? No one knows. Scholars maintain the true meaning of the tradition was lost centuries ago.
Welcom Staff with all the ingredients. In true WelcomHotel style they made this into a big production. They even hired a "professional" photographer. These are his photos. They gave them to me on a disk. Merry Christmas to me.
Of course because this was such a big deal we had to wear appropriate clothing provided to us by the hotel:
Me, Austrian (that's not his name, just his country), Matt, Ben and Shriram stylin'.
And then the mixing commenced:
I have never in my life seen someone so excited about sparkling non-alcoholic wine before. We also put in non-alcoholic beer. "Because Gujarat is a dry state," they told us. Really? I hadn't noticed.
From left: Vikram (Matt's trainee), hotel guy, Vikram's wife, Shredda (I don't know how to spell it, but it's pronounced like that), Shriram and Ajay with the finished product. Ajay looks like this in every picture. Hilarious.
Married couples. See? Classic Ajay.
So that was that. The whole experience took only about half an hour, which was nice. I know I should be thankful for "the experience", but I'm not, really. It was all a little too ridiculous. Sue me. I think I'm just bitter about staring into the face of an Indian Christmas. How did I even manage to end up in India for Christmas? Bad luck, I guess. It floats around. It's got to land on somebody. It was my turn, that's all. I was in the path of the tornado: I just didn't expect the storm would last as long as it has. - The Shawshank Redemption, 1999. (I know what you're thinking, and yes, there are loads of appropriate Shawshank quotes for our situation. I'll be making use of them frequently from now on.)