Sunday, May 22, 2011

Going Down Day

Each semester there are two major travel events for students at Woodstock. Coming Up Day at the beginning and Going Down Day at the end. When the majority of students were from mission families stationed in small towns across northern India, these travel days sometimes meant two or three days on a train before arriving at Dehra Dun. Parents took turns chaperoning the students. Each person had a tin trunk with their possessions and a "bister," a canvas-covered bedroll containing bedding both for use on the train and in their dorm room once they arrived. Some had musical instruments and other assorted paraphernalia. You can only imagine the "tamasha" (somewhat chaotic major event) of corralling 20 school-age kids who were excited to see each other after the long winter break or eager to get home and see their family after a session in boarding.

Today Coming Up and Going Down are still major events, but very different. Very few people travel by train. A large number of students fly to/from Delhi and are brought to Mussoorie by bus. Students who live in Delhi or other areas within driving distance are driven up by their parents. Teachers chaperone parties to and from Delhi. Cars and taxis drive to Ridgewood where luggage is unloaded near the dorms instead of being carried by coolies from the Picture Palace bus stop.

Today (Sunday) is our Going Down day. Yesterday we packed up our trunks with clothing and some household items we have collected here. They are stored in the attic of the Quad. Three of the bearers who work here came about 4:00 and stowed it all away. We also packed up our suitcases -- we actually managed to have only one each, so no extra luggage fees going back. It seems we always have more than one bag per person on the way coming out, as we bring quite a lot of stuff for other people as well as for ourselves. We are leaving at 12:30 to have lunch with our friend Ajit in Dehra Dun, then catch the 5:00 Shatabdi Train to Delhi.

Last night was the second of the two Spring Concerts. Over two nights we heard three choirs, four string groups, and four bands. It was the first time all groups performed -- for some years, the beginning ensembles played earlier in the week at 4:00. It did make for long evenings -- two hours on Friday, two and a half on Saturday. But it was fun to see how well many of the groups are doing. Dan accompanied the beginning string groups on the piano and guest-conducted one piece with the Advanced Orchestra. After the concert last night, we hosted a gathering for all the music staff in our apartment. We used to do this regularly when we worked here, but it hasn't been happening in recent years. They all seemed to enjoy themselves, so maybe they'll continue it. The last people didn't leave until 11:30. And we got rid of all the food and most of the drinks!

So long for now. I'm not sure if I'll post from the visit to England on our way home; maybe after I get home and get my iPhoto up and running. We'll be returning to Woodstock in September.


  1. Thanks for taking us along on your journey. Reading your blog is next best to being there ourselves.


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