Monday, November 7, 2011

Heading Home

It's Monday morning here, our last day in India for this trip. On Saturday we went to Meerut for the day to visit our friends the Lals. We have done the trip frequently by car or taxi, and it is a long, noisy drive. So this time we decided to go by train. The Shatabdi that we normally take to and from Dehra Dun stops in Meerut, so we got outbound seats in the morning and inbound in the evening. The morning train leaves at 6:50 AM. We like to travel by Metro, but the trains only start running at 6 AM and we had to change at Rajiv Chowk. So instead, we left the hotel about 5:45 and walked toward the main street that runs under the Metro line. We found an auto rickshaw right away and headed off to the Ajmeri Gate entrance to the New Delhi train station. It took about 15 minutes. The station has 16 platforms and our train runs on Platform 16. The main station entrance is near Platform 1, which means that you have to walk up a long stairway and across a long bridge over all the lines. So it is important to remember to tell your driver that you want the Ajmeri Gate entrance, from which you can walk right onto the correct platform.

We arrived at Meerut about 9:00 and Anju and Sandeep were there to meet us. We had a very quiet day with the family. I was in the middle of a fierce cold that I picked up somewhere in Delhi. Brij is recuperating from a bout of bronchitis (we knew it was bad when he thought it was too much trouble to go upstairs to watch a cricket match on TV!). Dan went out and got a haircut at his favorite barber who gives a good head massage; he was asked why it had been so long since he had been there. Brij made his excellent aloo parathas for breakfast, served with fresh dahi.

I napped a bit between breakfast and lunch. Anju cooked a wonderful lunch with meat curry, biriani, aloo ghobi, and chapatis.

The evening train comes through about 9:15, so Anju and Sandeep took us at 8:45. We hopped out of the car and only waited on the platform for 10 minutes or so. Once we got to New Delhi, we quickly found another scooter rickshaw and were back at our hotel before 11:30. A long day, but always a good visit.

This morning (Monday) I checked in online for our flight tonight. It is always good to be heading home.

Friday, November 4, 2011


When we first began staying in Karol Bagh, four years ago, most of the streets were badly paved, with messy gravel/dirt areas at each side. During this time there has been a sidewalk upgrade project on most of the streets, with curbs added. However, most people still walk in the street with the traffic (cars, trucks, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, ox carts...). These pictures might show you why.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Karol Bagh at Night

We are staying in an area of the city called Karol Bagh. It is an area of many, many hotels and lots of shopping. Going out after dark is a feast for the eyes. Some of these pictures aren't as crisp and clear as I'd like, but it's actually what it looks like.

BonLon Inn with Diwali lights

Fancy shop

Street flower vendor

Food shop near the Metro -- good gelato!

Jewelry store

I like Kate's - the Bling Store for Diva's! (not my apostrophe)

Another hotel lit up

Mother Dairy - Delhi chain, landmark for the street BonLon is on

Inside Roopak's spice store -- a mixture for every conceivable dish!

Need a scooter? Get one here.

Shoe stalls along Ajmal Khan Road

Produce shop -- Dan tried for bananas, but gave up as it was too busy

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

State Emporia

One of the shopping areas in Delhi that we've always enjoyed is on Baba Kharak Singh Marg, one of the radial roads out of Connaught Place. There is a different shop for each state in India, far too many to go to all of them in one day. I hadn't been there for some time, and one of the changes is that, although each one has its specialty items, more and more crafts are similar. I presume that is because with modern transportation and communication, there is a spreading of information across the country.

The first one as we headed out from the center of the city was Delhi (a city-state, the capital area similar to Washington, DC).

Many of the shops had a Ganesh (elephant god) statue near the entry. Ganesh is often used as a symbol of beginnings, or welcoming.

The salesman in the jewelry section was happy to see Dan, who has been a former customer. Unfortunately for him, we came away from there empty-handed this time.

In the Assam shop, we enjoyed these red and white cloths. The weaving was on a simple lightweight cotton and they came in many sizes.

Many of the shops had piles of colorful clothes.

Kashmir is famous for its carved walnut objects, as well as papier-maché. This desk caught my eye because it is taller than usual.

Imagine my surprise when the salesman lifted the top and opened the sides to reveal a complicated set of cubbyholes. Perhaps a bit of overkill, even for someone who likes to be very organized!

The Rajasthan Emporium welcomed us with a display of brightly colored statues.

To read about our lunch and see pictures, go to my new blog here.

Monday, October 31, 2011


On Saturday morning we finished packing up, sent our trunks to the attic, and had a last lunch with Bhavenesh in the school dining room. At 1:30 we went down to the gate and met our taxi. We have two fairly large suitcases and our backpacks. After a lovely tea in Dehra Dun with Ajit and his sister, we boarded the Shatabdi train for Delhi. Riding through the night we caught many glimpses of Diwali lights still decorating homes and villages. The most common sight was strings of vertical lights lined up from roof to ground floor on buildings tall and short. Some were festooned in loops. Unfortunately, photographing these from a moving train in the dark was totally impossible.

When we arrived at our hotel, the Bon Lon Inn ("A Little Bit of Heaven") in Karol Bagh, the workers all greeted us as familiar customers (although the last visit was in May). The manager apologized that we would be in a small room for one night but could move into a larger room first thing in the morning. We were so tired that we were happy to fall into any bed (and these are comfortable, with mattresses that actually give a little when you lie on them). Sure enough, we moved next door right after breakfast. We are on the top floor and it is quiet, except for the pigeon roost at the top of our window. But they are only noisy during the day. I wouldn't exactly call this a "large" room, but with our suitcases tucked into the closet, we can get around. We have two armchairs with a small table between for our simple meal once a day (cheese, crackers, fruit). There is also a tiny desk with a chair right in front of the bathroom door. Dan has managed to set the air conditioner at a setting that doesn't get too hot or cold (not a simple proposition!).

On Sunday we didn't do much of anything, preferring to get settled and loaf. We left about 4:30 to try to get to Greater Kailash Market and the FabIndia stores there. That involved a 10-minute walk to the Metro station, two changes of lines (blue to yellow to violet), a cycle rickshaw ride to the wrong market, a scooter rickshaw to the right one, and then a scooter rickshaw to Defence Colony. We did find the FabIndia, but I couldn't really get into shopping, although I did buy an aqua linen shirt. We walked through the home furnishing stores: lots of beautiful things but none we wanted to buy.

At Defence Colony, we found the Swagath restaurant where we met our friends Momo & Tsering, their son Siddarth and his girlfriend Rachita, and Glenn for dinner. A pleasant time for all, with a variety of dishes including Mangalorean prawns and fish kabobs. Glenn is flying out today.

After we parted, we caught another cycle rickshaw to the nearest Metro station. By 9:00 the crowds had thinned out and it was a pleasant ride back to the hotel. The front car of each train is for ladies only, and I've appreciated not being crowded into the men!

Today:  Dilli Haat and I promise some pictures tomorrow!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


The week following the Centennial celebration was a bit of a letdown for me. I was pretty well exhausted from all the activities. On Tuesday I went into the bazaar to get my permanent crown installed (I'd had the temporary one for about 3 weeks). My appointment was at 4:00 and I enjoyed the walk through the bazaar both ways. The following day was Diwali, and people were out in force, doing their last minute shopping. Diwali here is even bigger than Christmas in the US in some ways. People get new clothes and shoes, purchase appliances, buy sweets to give to everyone they know, and celebrate with fireworks of all kinds.
Appliance store with TVs, washing machines, fridges, etc.

Roadside stall

Fireworks stall - one of many

Festive store selling decorations and posters

Ram Chander store with marigold Om

Sewing machines out in front of shop (hand-propelled)

Sweets for sale

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sunday Brunch

The rest of the WOSA Centennial weekend went by in a blur. Saturday was a mostly open day and I took the opportunity to stay home and rest. In the afternoon we had a choir rehearsal for the Sunday service. In the evening a dinner was held at Rokeby Highlands at the top of the hill. It was quite chilly, but there were several fires at which we could warm ourselves. There was a lot of dancing, eating, and visiting. I didn't take any pictures as it was so dark and I didn't want to impose on the party with my flash.

Sunday we had a service in Parker Hall. There weren't too many people there, but those who came enjoyed it thoroughly. Eleanor and Amitavo played a violin duet for the prelude and postlude. The choir sang "How Can I Keep From Singing," one of my favorites. Four alumni gave short reflections on how Woodstock influenced their lives. Other alumni and former or long-term staff read the scriptures and led the prayers.

Following the service, we headed to Hanson Field for the alumni cricket match. For those of you who haven't been here, it is below even the lower dorms. We had a box lunch. The entire class of 1981 came, with some of their members joining in. There were two sides, led by Tom Alter and Brij Lal, who were probably the ones who first brought cricket to Woodstock in the 1960s. Everyone who played seemed to have a great time. And in the end the two sides were tied (after 20 overs each). Dan was wicket keeper for his team and took some falls, as well as a ball in the chest when he was batting. But he was OK other than some stiffness the next couple of days.

The final event was an optional dinner at the Tavern. About 14 people showed up and enjoyed themselves. I did remember to photograph the food, but the pictures didn't turn out!

Choir rehearsal

Sunday service
Box lunch area

Tom & Brij

Tom, Brij & Dan (notice Dan's shirt from the World Cup Finals)
On the pitch

Teams preparing


Dinner Sunday evening

Friday, October 28, 2011

More Celebrations

After lunch, Friday got even busier. The Mela was held in the Quad from 3:00 to 6:00. Vendor stalls ranged from food to handicrafts to books. Following the Mela, the advanced student recital was held in Parker Hall. Many students and visitors attended the recital, and they still had time to get down to Hostel for the Pool Party and dinner. The dinner had stalls serving many Indian food items, made fresh right in front of us. Yum!

Bake Sale



Himalayan Weavers shawls and bags

9th grade hot dog stand


Living Tree recycled paper products

Toys from Employees' Wives


Pay to pie someone in the face!

Victoria & Elizabeth in the Quad

Quad view from above

Mr. & Mrs. Stanley with South Indian textile items (jholas are all gone!)
Students in pool


Allo tikki

Fresh jalebis

Alumni visiting