Friday, September 30, 2011

Dinner Out

Last night was our weekly dinner out in the bazaar. This time we went to the Tavern, an old favorite. We ran into another couple from the school and ate together. This gave me lots of food to photograph!

There is a new sign at the Tavern entrance. I'm not sure where the slogan "A belly full of fun" comes from...  The entire restaurant is on the second floor, above a row of shops.

Before the food comes, a tray of three accompaniments is on the table:  pickle (achar), onions in vinegar, coriander chutney.

The other couple were there before us. Ray's dinner came first:  chicken jalfrezi with roti.

Next came Julie's vegetable biriani with yogurt on the side.

Dan had chicken biriani, but it really looked just like the vegetable. There were pieces of chicken in it, but not particularly visible in the photo. I had the Florentine chicken sizzler. Two small pieces of chicken, breast meat attached to a bare wing bone (for a handle?), stuffed with a small amount of chopped spinach mixed with cheese. The very hot sizzling plate was covered with a large cabbage leaf. A pile of mixed vegetables was on the left and French fries on the right. The vegetables included peas, green beans, cabbage, and small pieces of cauliflower and broccoli.

The walk home felt good after all that food. It is beginning to get chilly in the evenings; my light shawl was very welcome.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ladies' Rooms

If you have not spent any time in India, you may find this post a bit strange. You need to know that topics that are taboo in most western societies often come up in ordinary conversations here. The frequency and variety of intestinal distress symptoms are discussed quite casually. With the addition of water purifiers in all staff homes, it appears to me that dysentery is not nearly as frequent as it was back in the 1970s. (In fact, I've only been sick here twice in the past several years, and Dan not at all.)

When we were here on staff, there was one ladies' room available at the Quad level (not counting student toilets in the elementary classroom areas). It opened right onto the Quad and impatient female staff members could occasionally be seen waiting to get in.

One of the renovations that was done about ten years ago included removing that room and building a three-cubicle ladies' room at the back of the Quad. A great improvement! The pictures below are meant for old-timers who remember how it used to be (!)

"New" stairs and purified water fountain where old ladies' room was

Stairs and entry on left to staff dining room and ICT (formerly music offices and internal wooden stairway)

Gents and Ladies rooms in back of Quad; the office on the far right is Mr. Chopel's, who handles passports, visas, and foreign registrations.

Looking down in front of Mr. Chopel's office is the back entrance to the Health Centre

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunday Brunch

On Sunday we were invited to a brunch at Eastwood Cottage, on the old Methodist estate below the back school gate. Marney is a new staff member in our office, specializing in social media. She and her husband and child invited a group of about a dozen or so. We had a very nice time eating and visiting with the others.

Marney cooking bacon in her kitchen

What a spread - omelets, pancakes, bacon, cinnamon rolls, tomatoes!

Several folks eating in the living room. Notice the boys gathered around the video game console in the background.

Abhra and Sandy with Tara -- the boys were playing the video games

Monday, September 26, 2011

Writing Workshop

Some of my faithful readers may remember my many posts on last fall's Mussoorie Writers' Festival. This year's gathering is a bit smaller, and will take place on October 5-6. It will be more of a roundtable than a festival; details are here.

Last week we were treated to a preview with author Merryn Glover Appleby. Merryn is a 1987 graduate of Woodstock. She was in my son's class in elementary school, and is a published writer of short stories and plays. Read more here. On Thursday she worked with high school and lower school students, reading from her writing and talking about the process. After school she gave an open seminar, billed as a writing workshop. At first I said I wouldn't go, I'm not a writer, but then I decided that it might be helpful for me. More than a dozen staff and a few students showed up. She read us a story and then had us write for two minutes beginning "I remember..." It was excellent and inspiring. After we wrote we each talked about how we did it. It ranged from going full blast on one topic to so many ideas flitting inside that the person couldn't decide which to choose. It was excellent and inspiring.

Merryn reading


More participants

Merryn & Namgay, student journalist

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dinner Out

Now that we were feeling settled in our apartment, we were ready to begin our routine of eating out in the bazaar during the middle of the week. I decided that walking to the middle of Landour would be far enough for me this time. (I was extremely exhausted last weekend when we went all the way to the Cambridge Bookshop at the top of Kulri Hill.) In the end, I did well and didn't even have to stop once on the walk up Mullingar Hill. So next week, on to Kulri!

We often have our first meal out at the Golden Restaurant. It is right at the Clock Tower site, across from the new shop Ram Chander opened across the road from his old one. The proprietor welcomed us, obviously remembering us from our former visits.

I set my camera on the table to be sure to remember to photograph the food for you. (Too often I dig in and later remember!) We had our favorite starter, paneer pakoras. These are cubes of paneer (fresh cheese pressed solid) dipped into besan batter (chickpea flour) and deep fried. As the proprietor saw me pick up the camera, he quickly added his menu beside the pakoras so it would show. I was delighted, and told him it was good advertising.

Oops, we served the food onto our plates before I got back to the camera. We had chicken do piaza (double onions) on the right and aloo gobhi (potatoes and cauliflower) on the right. Tandoori roti on the side.

Last year I wrote about the Landour Clock Tower, more than a century old and a major landmark. It was taken down to be rebuilt but municipal bickering and other delays left it a bare spot for many months. On the weekend we saw men working excavating down for the new base. However, work has stopped again and the hole is surrounded with barricades. We are hopeful that it will be rebuilt soon!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


It is late afternoon on Wednesday here. Many of you are just starting the day. My day began with three Skype calls -- two for WOSA-NA business and one with my son. Amazing to talk to (and see!) people across the world.

Today was a teacher in-service day for all staff. Students had the day off -- it was supposed to be a fair-weather holiday but announcing it ahead of time lacked the excitement of waking up to find there were no classes. In the past, as the monsoon was ending and people were despairing of ever seeing the sun again, a bright day would dawn, the Principal would get up and decide it was the day. We have fond memories of day hikes and other special activities on an unplanned day in the middle of a busy life.

This afternoon a special tea was put on for the staff. Many were sitting outside in the Tea Garden under the Lyre Tree.

Monica and Neva from our office were admiring the beautiful baby.

Administrators and teachers relaxing

Choice of tea or coffee; unusual in the afternoon

Sandwiches, samosas, and gulab jamans on a nearby table. Who needs supper after that?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Moving In

By Monday morning most of the school board members had left and the guest apartment we are to stay in was vacated. Sunday evening we packed up our suitcases (a bit lighter now, having delivered some of the gifts and school items we brought along). Monday Dan arranged for a car to meet him at Suncliff (well, as close as possible, still leaving a rocky path to traverse carrying the bags). We were able to get into the apartment by the end of the day, around 4:30 or so. It was nicely cleaned and set up and we were happy to settle back into it. Today (Tuesday) we will get our trunks out of the attic and then we'll have our Indian clothes and household items that we leave here.

This photo is the stairway to the third floor of the Quad. The apartment is where our dear friend Diana Biswas lived for many years, and visitors still call it "Mrs. Biswas's place." There is also a third level across the Quad where the music rooms and some Lower School rooms are; elsewhere the buildings are two floors. (The Health Center was on the top floor there for many years. The sick students who could actually make it all the way up probably weren't terribly sick!)

Dining area and kitchen (quite roomy!)

Living room area

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Morning

Dear Friends -

It has been extremely busy and I haven't posted since Thursday. I promise a post on Tuesday! This is a quick post to let you know that we didn't feel the earthquake here. All is well for now!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Walking Home

This first week is pretty crazy for us. The Woodstock School Board is meeting, so there are lots of extra people around, and the staff are even busier than usual. I have a lot of work to do with the WOSA Centennial that is happening October 19-23, but most of it will have to wait until next week.

On my walk home yesterday afternoon I took a few photos of the monsoon foliage. Ferns and moss I know, the other plants are familiar, but not known by name to me. The ferns are browning, which means the end of the monsoon can't be too far away.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In Mussoorie!

We had an uneventful trip all the way from Chicago to Mussoorie, just the way we like it! We were delayed taking off in Chicago by an hour, but it didn't really affect us much. We both slept on the plane and arrived in Delhi about 6:15 PM. By the time we got to our hotel, we were ready to crash for the night. We spent Sunday mostly lounging in the A/C hotel room, as it was hot and very humid outside. We did manage to get over to Karol Bagh and our favorite Gujarati restaurant for dinner.

As we boarded the Shatabdi train, we remembered that it was just a year ago we were unceremoniously dumped from the train at Saharanpur and managed to snag a taxi to get to Dehra Dun the long way around. Fortunately, although the monsoon has been fairly strong, there were no washouts and we arrived promptly on time. We came straight up the hill by taxi, stopped at the school to pick up my walking stick, and drove on out Tehri Road. We are staying the first week with our friends Peter and Karen at Suncliff. This house is about a 10-15 minute walk from school, towards Oakville (where we stayed one spring), but not as high up or as far east.

Today I spent in the office, getting caught up on what has happened and meeting the two new staff members. Dan was happy to pick up the motorcycle and get it going.

The monsoon is nearly over (they say) but here are a few shots of how the mist looks. It was raining lightly when we arrived, but today has just been heavy mist and fog. The first is the top of the path between Tehri Road and Suncliff. The second is the front of the house, but not the part we are in (there isn't a good way to get a shot of it!).

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Heading Back

After what has felt like a really busy summer, we are almost ready to head back to India. The last week is always filled with similar things -- pulling out the suitcases and assembling things to pack, getting a haircut, cleaning out the refrigerator, suspending mail and other services, and more.

We seemed to be on the move a lot this summer. My mother spent two weeks with us. She was a bit apprehensive, but it went well and she was happy to see many of her friends from Topeka while she was here. We drove to the WOSA/NA reunion conference in Fort Collins, Colorado, near the end of July. Following an intensive weekend of meetings and socializing, we drove up to the Grand Teton National Park area. We spent a week in a rented house with our daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and two of the grandchildren. We enjoyed seeing the mountains, doing a bit of hiking, going white-water rafting for the first time, and just spending time with our kids. At the end of August, we had a party in Indianapolis to celebrate my mother's 90th birthday (actually in October, but this timing worked best). About 40 people came from all over to honor her and we had a great time.

A few weeks ago, I realized that I take lots of pictures in India and talk about the things we see and do, but say almost nothing about our life in Goshen, Indiana. It is beautiful here, in a very different way from the Himalayas. So I drove around and took a few pictures to put up here before we leave.

Ripening corn with farm silo in the distance

Soy beans

Farm tree with corn in background

Typical farmhouse with pond

Another farmhouse; notice how much lawn is mowed!

Silo and barn

Sweet Corn Charlie's farm market (with friend Bertha from swimming)

Truckload of sweet corn to be bagged (we eat this every week we can!)

Charlie's grows lots of good melons, too

Delicious vine-ripened tomatoes

My family roots go way back in Goshen. This house is where my father grew up in the 1920s and 1930s. I don't think it has changed very much. It is about three miles from where we live now!

The house my mother grew up in has been remodeled extensively but relatives still live there. My grandfather began farming the place when he was 14, around 1910 or so.

Much of the farmland in this fertile area has been built up with housing developments such as this one. In fact, the house we live in is on a former corn field.

And to close with a bit of whimsey, I though you might enjoy this duck family who appeared in our front yard during a rain earlier this summer.