Saturday, January 26, 2008

Les aventures des soeurs, Joie et Margot, en Inde… 

…are over for now. Margo is back in Brisbane, Australia and Joy in formerly sunny, California. Yes, it’s raining. But, the quality of light is still fantastic, when it peeps through the rain drops. What can I say? It’s the San Francisco Bay Area in CALIFORNIA! Eight lane freeways, 300 restaurants to choose from (Persian, Afghan, Thai, Indian, burgers and fries), 100 movie theatres plus Netflix, 8 enormous shopping centers and also discount malls, the ocean not far and house prices still soaring. In our backyard, in suburban Mountain View, it is quiet while we watch the birds and squirrels. Farmer’s Markets run all year round--fresh fruits and local, organic vegetables are always available. We can drink the water from the Hetch Hetchy Valley straight from the tap!

Something in me will always love India. Ooty, Coonoor, Mudumalai (even Coimbatore), Bangalore, Port Blair in the Andamans and Chennai (aka Madras). They each hold a place in my heart. Crazy Bangalore (pop. Over 5 million) with people scurrying, roads dug up, trains being put in, new airport being built, one-way streets and high rises going up everywhere. Madras (pop. 4 million), a city I spent over ten years in, has improved. The pavements are smooth and wide now, the roads have lanes, the traffic is less than Bengaluru and the people seem less frenetic.

In Madras, we stayed at the trusty YWCA where I had lived as a student in the sixties and our great aunt, Dr. Esther Chase, had owned the main bungalow and practiced medicine in the 1930s. It still has the vestiges of a lake and a new chapel in the middle of the grounds.
Home to the aged as well as students and working women it has an International Guest House. Simple housing, in restful surroundings with big trees. I picked up some red, shiny Gundamani seeds on a path.

We met with cousin Timmy and his wife, Pinx and their beautiful baby, Diya.

Cousin Sharon and her two girls and husband Saji took us to a grand buffet which even served egg-hoppers. It was good to talk about my cousin, Dorothea (their mother), who I missed as she had died over a year ago.

Nice to make the connection again with Ranjini (a friend from school-days) and see her beautiful home.

The days went fast. Soon, I was on the train back to Bangalore.

A word about that journey back: 51 hours, door-to door. Madras to Bangalore by train, all day in Bangalore (great to spend more time with cousin Sean and wife, Vicky, cutie Lollie and Uncle Len).

Night flight to Singapore, all day in Singapore. A night and a day flying back via Hong Kong to San Francisco. Good to see Bill!

A big thank you to Sheila and Natala, who took care of Brizzy and the cats and our house while we were both away! Back to work at Evergreen where the semester starts on Monday. And, to more adventures of a different sort…

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