Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday morning at assembly Chris Anderson, class of 1974, was honored as a Woodstock School Distinguished Alumni. He was scheduled to be here for the program on Monday afternoon but had some visa difficulties. Rev. Kundun, Vice President of the Board of Directors, was here from Rajpur to present the award. Chris gave a wonderful speech to the students, staff, and visitors about how Woodstock helped him to know and understand people different than himself. His work with TED sharing ideas around the world has affected many people. You can read more about him on the Woodstock web site here.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
After our big day on Saturday, our friends Anju and Sandeep picked us up about 11:00 on Sunday for a trip to the western end of Mussoorie. It had been many years since we had visited the “Company Garden” and my memories of it were of a very run-down place with not that much garden to brag about. But the state of Uttarakhand is very conscious of tourism, one of its principal sources of income. It has been spruced up with flowers, fountains, rides, and of course many souvenir and food shops.
Following a cup of tea and some pakoras at the garden, we headed on down to Happy Valley and the Tibetan settlement. There is now a road to a small parking area quite near the temple. It is a beautiful and serene place. Above the parking lot is a path that leads to the top of a small hill where many prayer flags are flying in the wind.
After our visit to the temple and the flag hill, we stopped by the staff canteen to have some mo-mos, Tibetan steamed chicken dumplings.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Yesterday I talked about Alpana and Abner’s wedding. Today it’s the main alumni event we held here for WWD. Judy ’69 and Dana Crider have been here on staff for 30 years and live in Pennington, the first house above Tehri Road beyond the school. Judy gave an open invitation to all alumni on staff or visiting for a barbecue commemorating both WWD and her daughter Bonnie’s 30th birthday. Sadly, Bonnie passed away a few years ago.
I’m not sure anyone did a head count, but I think there were probably over 50 people there. There was a nice bonfire on the terrace in front of the house, with a wonderful view of the sunset. We took several pictures of us all Raising Our Hands for Woodstock. Someone did capture everyone’s name, but I don’t have them here.
If you haven’t seen it yet, do check out Chris Starr’s Video “A Day in the Life of Woodstock”, linked from the WWD page.
Monday, October 26, 2009
This past weekend was a big one here at Woodstock. Saturday was Worldwide Woodstock Day with celebrations all around the world. Here in Mussoorie a staff member’s daughter was married, with the reception in the Quad, and the evening brought an alumni barbecue at the Criders’ home. Sunday we spent with friends on the other side of the bazaar – Happy Valley and the Company Garden.
The wedding was held at the Central Methodist Church in Kulri Bazaar. The bride is the daughter of a current staff member, Anju Singh, who is the food and housekeeping manager of the Hanifl Center. Her husband, Sunder, a long-time school employee, passed away last year. The bride’s grandfather was Austin Singh, a fixture in the business office for many years. It was a lovely wedding followed by a huge dinner at the Quad. It was good for us to see many old friends from long ago.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you more about the barbecue.
Dan with Tom and Steve Alter outside the church
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Here in the Development and Alumni Office we have a store that sells a variety of Woodstock-logo items. Immu, our receptionist, manages the store, makes the sales, and orders the inventory. Here she is hard at work in front of the bulletin board where a variety of items are displayed.
One day three visitors (including alumna Beth ’80) purchased black sweatshirts. I managed to get a photo of them. The sweatshirts have a student-designed logo that is a combination of the Lyre Tree and the Tiger. They have been popular among students and visitors.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Dan has been looking at a motor scooter that we might get as a form of transportation here. On Saturday we took a ride out Tehri Road to Suokholi, a village to which we used to hike for a cup of tea (about 7 miles out). Some years ago the village was moved from its old location to the junction of the Tehri and Thatur roads.
We arrived at New Suokholi in time for lunch of a bun omelet, chips and chai, sitting on a veranda overlooking the Doon.
A view of old Suokholi
View above new Suokholi - small temple on the top
We decided to drive on down to Thatur, a village on the Aglar River in the first valley behind the hills on which Woodstock sits. This road used to be unpaved and drivable only by jeeps, but now it is good pavement and an easy ride. It goes down through the pine forest with glimpses of villages all along the way. We could see the hiking path across the way, a much more direct route down.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
After our trip into the bazaar to see the shops all lit up and decorated we went out to the Hanifl Center where our friends Darab and Naz were throwing a party. They had the entryway decorated with many tiny oil lamps. We had a lovely dinner with delicious dishes brought from several guests as well as our hosts. After dinner a lovely bonfire was lit outside and many fireworks ensued. The children especially had a great time.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Saturday was Diwali. We wanted to go into the bazaar to see all the shops lit up and decorated. My memory from doing that many years ago was that kids were throwing firecrackers around, making walking quite unpleasant. But we decided to go anyway, and had no problems. We went just as it turned dark; I suspect it got a bit wilder as the evening went on. We could hear many firecrackers going off late into the night.
Major shopping goes on at Diwali; the appliance stores were busy selling TVs, washing machines, and other paraphernalia of modern life. Many people have new shoes and clothing. Sweet shops make an enormous amount of sweets, including some special ones just for this time of year.
Friday, October 16, 2009
This weekend is Diwali, an important festival in India. In preparation, on Thursday the elementary students created rangoli designs in the Quad. Rangoli is a form of sand-painting decoration that uses finely ground white powder and colours, and is used commonly outside homes in India, especially during festival times.
The children did seven small designs and one major one with flower petals. It is beautiful! When the students came for lunch, they all carefully walked around it so it wouldn’t be destroyed. This morning (Friday) it is still in quite good shape, with a few leaves and petals slightly out of place.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Whenever one of the staff in our office has a birthday, we celebrate at coffee break time (10:30 AM). Today Karan, a volunteer writer, turned 25. He provided a cake for us from the school food services. And a couple of his friends brought in a home-made cake with chocolate icing.
Gooey sweetness was enjoyed by all!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Yesterday an unusual event was held at the Principal’s House; Dr. Laurenson hosted a lunch for three former principals. After the lunch, there was a call to our office for someone to come and photograph them. Since I was the only person available right then, I went down.
Bob Alter was principal from 1968 to 1978, covering the majority of the time that we taught at Woodstock. He and his wife Ellen spent the fall and early winter in their home at Oakville. Hugh Bradby was principal during the late 1980s; his daughter Kirsten is now working in the Admissions Office and he is visiting her. Jim Lehman served as interim principal during one of the many times he has been on staff; he and Betsy are here to help fill in at the Guidance Office for the semester. I'll leave the exact details of years of service to the official news item that will be appearing in the Woodstock School news.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Our house here is a cosy but odd little place. There are three bedrooms, two of which are extremely small (a single bed nearly fills them). The main bedroom off the living room is larger and has plenty of cupboard space. But the step up from the living room is nearly 18 inches high. We have been managing, but it is a bit daunting, especially in the middle of the night. Yesterday the school sent some workers to build a step to make it more accessible. Dan was home and took several pictures of the process.
They mixed the cement in the area outside our door.