Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Morning Sounds Part II

The links to the whistling thrush sites didn't post in my first try, so here they are again:



Morning Sounds

When we think of our time at Woodstock, there are many visual memories, and of course many smells as well. But today I was very conscious of the sounds.

As I awoke fairly early, I heard the song of the whistling thrush. I am not a bird expert (they usually move away too quickly for me to spot and identify them), but this sound is one that I especially associate with Mussoorie. I can remember monsoon mornings when the rain stopped for a while and the thrushes sang loudly. The song is difficult to describe -- it is quite long and goes up and down in pitch randomly. I found these two links on the internet from Kashmir and Bhutan. The one I hear isn't exactly like this, but it's quite close. The first has a picture and the second doesn't, but one may work better for you than another (I think the second is closer to the sound I hear).

About 7:45 a musical ensemble starts warming up and practicing in the quad area. Band and orchestra alternate. And now the practice rooms are also in the quad area, above the old "Drill Hall." Those sounds were all familiar when we were here in the 60s and 70s and sound the same today.

At 8:30 the elementary school bell rings -- yes, it is still a long steel bar struck multiple times to summon the kids. This morning they all sang "Jana Gana Mana" before proceeding into their classrooms. I don't think they do this every day.

Working at Woodstock Again

I have been at Woodstock for the past two weeks, the beginning of my two-month stint as a volunteer in the Development and Alumni Relations Office. Of course it’s wonderful to be back in Mussoorie, even though the weather has been frequently cold and sometimes rainy. Today the sun is shining brightly and there is a hint of spring in the air.

The Development Office is a busy place. Steve Alter ’74 has been here as the Director for almost a year. I sit outside his office and see people coming to see him one after the other. It’s amazing that he gets any time to do any other work at all. Chris Starr and Monica Roberts are the primary contacts for Alumni Relations work, a constant flow. Immu Uniyal is our receptionist who graciously gives tours of Woodstock to visiting alumni and others, and sells T-shirts and other Woodstockiana. (And the person who finally got me a key to the office so I don't have to wait for others to arrive.) Today we met the grandson of a staff member who was here a year in the early 1960s. It’s fun to see all these people who stop by. Pete Wildman and Maija Prakash work primarily on communications materials of all kinds. Their work is often driven by print deadlines.

I am doing a collection of odd jobs – assisting Steve with planning for the 100th anniversary of the founding of WOSA coming up in 2011, thinking through the Annual Fund plans for next year, working on the Homecoming/Mela Committee (April 25, plan to come!), and whatever else comes along.

We are staying in Guest Room #1, which many of us remember as Diana Biswas's longtime apartment. It's been drastically changed since her time; the guest rooms are all nice with good facilities. This one is the largest, with a separate bedroom, nice for those of us who stay around longer. Dan left on March 28 to visit three of the sites where we support children through CCF. You can follow his travels through his blog at web.mac.com/lindd1.