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



Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Friday morning we had an all-school assembly in the gym. Students from all grades attended; the Junior School on the side bleachers and the Senior School on the main ones. Guests were on chairs on the floor.

Abhra greeting some of the alumni

Senior School behind guests

Honoring 15-year plus staff members

Abe and Bethany with Eleanor rapping Shadows
After the assembly was over, our volunteers took the visiting alumni for tours of the school. One group went to the dorms on the lower level, but others did not. We headed out Tehri Road to the Hanifl Centre for lunch. Even the older ones made it very well. (It's about a kilometer and slightly uphill.)

It was pleasant to sit around the grounds at Hanifl eating our box lunches.

The class of 1951 were celebrating their 60th anniversary of graduation.

After lunch Krishnan Kutty, Director of the Hanifl Centre, talked about outdoor and environmental education and how important it is.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thursday Evening

Following the WOSA Centennial Registration, everyone gathered in the Quad for the Welcome Dinner hosted by Principal Eleanor Nicholson. The current Woodstock staff were invited to come and interact with the alumni visitors. It was very festive, if a bit chilly.

Dr. Eleanor Nicholson welcoming one and all.

Pandit Ajit Singh performing on the Vichitra Veena with his tabla player from Mussoorie International School. Dan the chela (student).

In two weeks the fall school musical, "Brigadoon," will be performed in Parker Hall. We were treated to a 15-minute sneak preview.

Lillian Skinner Singh, class of 1939, cut the 100-year cake.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

WOSA Centennial Begins

Wednesday evening was the real beginning of the WOSA Centennial celebrations, but I was here in Mussoorie prepping, so don't have any photos from the Bollywood dinner. There were about 50-60 people in attendance.

Thursday afternoon we had set registration from 5:00 to 7:00, but we expected a lot of people to come early. So about 2:00 we set up our tables just inside the Woodstock gate. Two people from the business office joined us to take in any money and process credit cards. We took a mug shot of each person as they arrived and got their name tags. (And yes, they started coming in before 3:00.)

The Quad was being prepared with golden streamers overhead and the class flags hung from the balconies. It was interesting watching them string up the streamers. First they strung wires across at about six feet, added the streamers, then raised the whole apparatus up and out of the way. It was breezy most of the time, so the fluttering gold was very attractive. Some of the students were eating their lunch outside in the sunshine when I took this picture from our balcony.

A special banner was made and hung on the pushta just inside the main school gate.

Here I am with my two volunteers, Lois and Beth. Both were former students and now adult friends, so it was great they could both be here to help out.

Here's the registration table with the main gate in the background. Lois checked them in, the two men from the business office took payment (if they hadn't paid in advance), and Mary Ina (another volunteer) gave them their name tags. We had a student photographer called Fuse (his full Thai name is quite unpronouncable) who took a photo of each person.

Beth was at the last table where they had to answer a few questions and pick up their packet of schedules and nice Woodstock water bottle. While we were there it got dark and cool. The sunset and the winterline were right behind us.

Next:  dinner and entertainment in the Quad