Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday Morning

I've been a tad under the weather the last few days, so haven't had much to say or post. I'm feeling much better today.

Saturday evening Dan went to a lecture meeting of a local arts group. One of the presenters was Sohrabi, daughter of Vinod. Vinod runs the antique shop by the Clock Tower; it used to be called the Top Shop, as Woodstock boys bought their wooden tops there for years. They have so many interesting things in the shop.

From the top of the hill where he went to the meeting, Dan got this amazing shot of the Winterline. The opening in the wall framed it perfectly.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


On Saturday our dear friend Immu, receptionist in the Alumni Office, invited us for lunch. Immu is from Ethiopia, where she married an Indian teacher. They moved back here when he retired, to an estate named Wolfsburn. It is located high up, beyond Char Dukan, above the back chakar. We took the scooter up, as it is quite a long way from our house.

Immu cooked some Ethiopian food for us, along with some Indian-style veggies and salad. It was delicious! She even made injera, the batter for which takes a couple of days to ferment.

Doro wat, egg and chicken 

Injera bread

Wolfsburn is beautiful year-round, but right now it is especially so. After lunch we had a tour of the various rental units -- seven all together. Right now one man has taken two of them (with his five dogs!) and another is awaiting the return of a renter.

Ratan, a nice Nepali man, acts as caretaker and does all kinds of things for Immu. Since The Professor, as he was known here, passed away last summer, he has been a great help.

Immu by the bank of marigolds

Main House -- Immu lives upstairs

Newer rental unit

Older, occupied rental unit

Masses of purple flowers near entrance -- if you know what these are called, please comment!

Ratan - notice the flip-flops but scarf around neck!

Stairs up to living quarters
After lunch and the tour, we headed out. Dan got back on the scooter to go to the bazaar to get some supplies (and replace our defective wireless router, yay!). I walked over to Prakash's store at Sisters' Bazaar and picked up some cheese and a few other things. Then I walked down Zig-Zag Path to the school and on down to Hill Haven. It took me about an hour including the stop.

I was glad to see our front gate!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Buildling a New Pushta

Very near the place that our path comes out onto the New Road, there is an area of road that washed out during the monsoon. There are workers there rebuilding the retaining wall (pushta) below. The man in the photo below was using a sledge hammer to break up the large rocks into smaller pieces that could be used more readily in the building. I tried to get a shot that showed the sledge better, but this is the best I got. He has his foot on the rock to hold hit while he hits it. I watched him carry a rock over to the landslide area and drop it down for use in building the wall.

From the path above the road you can see some of the rocks and the same man looking down to check on the work below.

Looking straight down into the landslide area, you can see a couple of men working. The path they take to get there is extremely narrow and has a steep drop off. In this photo, I am looking directly down from the path above.

And just above, where the path goes on up toward Tehri Road and the school, the older pushta holding up the Doshisha front yard is looking a bit old. As the monsoons come and go, it will likely loosen, bulge, and eventually come tumbling down onto the road. However, it may be quite a few years before that happens. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Supper at Golden

Thursday evening we finally made it into the bazaar for supper. We usually go to Golden Restaurant near the nonexistent Clock Tower the first week here. This was the third week, and we finally got there! I love paneer pakoras, so we started with them. Paneer is Indian cheese, like solidified cottage cheese. The pieces of cheese are dipped into chickpea flour batter and deep-fried. Absolutely delicious! You'll notice a small green chili included -- Dan loves those.

For the main course, we had chicken do piaza (double onions), Dan's favorite, and saag aloo, potatoes in spinach sauce. Chapattis for bread to eat with.

The walk home in the cool evening was lovely. The moon was about 3/4 full, the sky was clear, and the moonlight was bright. In areas where there weren't any street lights, we could see our shadows clearly. When we are here, we are always aware of the phase of the moon, because it makes a big difference at night. Living in towns in the US, people can go months without even noticing that there is a moon.

Above Springview we heard a loud sound from a tree up the khud, sort of a cross between a peacock and a smaller bird. It cried out repeatedly as we walked along; something like we've never heard before.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Walking to School

Yesterday morning I took some pictures on my walk up to school. I wish they would show the steepness of the hillside better, but you'll just have to imagine that.

This picture is taken from just above Doshisha. It shows the "New" Road (Mussoorie Bypass) with a bus going around the curve.

This shot shows how at several places there is a wide spot in the path where people walk to avoid the steps. Just to the right is a sheer drop-off, so being sure-footed helps.

These trees show the dead ferns hanging from their trunks. During the monsoon the trees are almost completely covered with a variety of bright green ferns. It is lush and beautiful. When they begin to turn slightly brown, we know the monsoon is coming to an end. Soon these will probably fall off in a high wind.

These steps are the most dreaded part of the walk for me. They are just above the New Road, below Doshisha. The bottom step is probably about 15 inches, and the next three or four are about 12 inches. My walking stick helps me get up these!

This is the last bit before hitting Tehri Road. It is more narrow than any of the other sections, and the opening onto the road is quite small. Walking on the road, you could easily miss seeing that this is a major path down.

Once on Tehri Road, looking east, we see the road itself on the left, and (dimly) the ramp heading up to the school's back entrance. The road on the right connects down to the New Road, going just under Fern Oaks, where Saroj Kapadia lives. It isn't in very good shape, but it's used quite a bit. It is the only connection between the two roads from the bazaar to Second Jabarkhet. It is the most direct driving route between the school and the residences below. The two posts at the top of the road used to have a bar across, which made it impossible for trucks to enter. I think the bar was removed when some road repair work was being done so that materials could be taken down. The bar on the posts at the bottom of the road is still there. One time last week we were going down on the scooter and a truck was trying to go through. I'm not sure what happened; it backed up slightly and we went on around. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


At some point someone who liked to garden lived in Hill Haven. The front garden is fairly neglected, but a number of flowering plants are blooming away. Mums, daisies, and marigolds are identifiable (by me, not the most knowledgable!). Here are a few shots I took when the sun was out.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bazaar Pics

Once again we walked into the bazaar on Sunday. It takes about 3-1/4 hours round-trip, going to the top of Kulri where the bookshops are located. We had a number of stops this time -- Broadway Optical to pick up my new glasses (they are great! and this time the lenses are on the correct eyes); Chandar Book Depot to get the newspaper and weekly magazine; Nirula's for ice cream; Ram Chander for a few groceries; Parshadi Lal for some medicines; the dairy for dahi; and last, the subzi wallah below the hospital. He thinks it's quite funny that we only get a couple of onions. This time I got the other veggies I wrote about yesterday, but he still thought it wasn't enough.

We thought the name of this shop in Kulri, opposite the Police Station, was interesting.

This is the back side of the Kulri Methodist Church. I don't know if anyone lives in the building, but there was lots of laundry hanging on lines in the courtyard.

The following picture was taken on Mullingar Hill as I was walking up. The green vehicle in the back is a sort of pickup that Khaliq's shop is working on. The road is basically one lane, so having three vehicles across is fairly tight! I was standing in the doorway of a shop.

This is a view of Landour Community Hospital from Tehri Road. A couple of years ago I posted some photos of the huge retaining wall being built.

In the middle of the road near the hospital, a common sight:  boys playing cricket with whatever they have at hand. They did have a proper bat. The plastic crate stands in for a wicket. While we were walking by, this young man hit the ball high and it landed somewhere above on the khud. Two small boys immediately started climbing up to retrieve it.

This landslide from the monsoon wasn't as big as the one I posted last week. But it certainly undermined this tree, that will probably come down next year.

Last spring we watched many improvements being made on Tehri Road. The new paving is mostly still intact, with some rough areas. The beautiful gutters, however, didn't make it through the monsoon all that well!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Supper

I've mentioned before on this blog that I don't do much cooking here. We eat lunch at school during the week, and it is a fairly large meal most days. In the evenings I generally make up some packet soup and we have grilled cheese or egg salad sandwiches with it. I have been getting cooking apples recently and cooking them up so we have some fruit cooked for dessert.

Today in the bazaar we picked up a few groceries. Dan often goes in during the week but on our way home from having poori bhaji we usually get a few things. This time we stopped at Ram Chander, where we got some butter, brown bread, tea bags and salt. I also stopped at the chemist (pharmacist) to get a couple of things. I thought I'd again try the "Nervup" vitamins that the orthopedic doctor recommended last spring.

Dan stopped at the dairy to pick up our weekly supply of dahi (yogurt). We buy a kilo at a time and they package it in a plastic bag with a rubber band around the opening. We have this insulated container that holds exactly one kilo. We keep it in the refrigerator. We use the dahi on muesli at breakfast and ladle it into most flavors of soup.

I decided to go all out today and get some vegetables for a change. (I always have onions, which I sauté and add to most of our soups.) Here they are on our marble counter top in the kitchen. The potatoes are very small; the green pepper is about half the size of most US ones.

I chopped up the potatoes and carrot and boiled them until they were tender. Then I sautéed the chopped onion in butter, added the chopped green pepper (called capsicum here) and some garlic. After that was well-done, I added the cooked potato and carrot. After they were all well heated and smelling good, I added two beaten eggs and some crumbled cheese on top. Here it is just before serving. Our skillet is about 8-9 inches, so it was just the right amount for two for supper! Very satisfying and I got to do a little cooking.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


When we lived here in the 1960s and 70s, our milk was delivered daily by a village doodhwalla, or milkman. These men would milk their water buffalo then walk miles into town from their villages carrying their metal containers of milk. Because the milk was so rich, they would sometimes water it down a bit at a local stream. The more well-to-do doodhwallas had mules, on which they would tie their milk containers. The sound of the mule bells was a constant, as the main road into town ran just below the school. Once our liter or two of milk was delivered, it needed to be boiled for 20 minutes to be sure it was bacteria-free. (All our drinking water was boiled like this, too -- no water filters available then.) If you've ever boiled milk on purpose or accidentally, you know it must be closely watched to avoid boiling over.

Once the milk was cooled, it was skimmed of the rich pure white cream. The cream was made into butter or, sometimes, whipped and served with dessert. Many people also used the cream directly on toast at breakfast -- wonderful with jam on toast or chapatis. The skimmed milk was used in tea and cooking. For drinking, we added Bournvita, a malt mixture, although we didn't drink it much.

Today, we still see the doodhwallas on Tehri Road. However, most of them are riding in Jeep-like vehicles loaded with the milk containers and a dozen or so people. A few are seen walking and only once in a great while is there a mule.

Milk can be bought at a dairy in town (we get our yogurt at one). It is in sealed plastic pouches, and must be boiled. We buy our milk in long-lasting boxes as shown below. We get double-toned milk, which means that skim powder and water are added during processing to lower the fat content. Taaza is approximately similar to 2% milk in the US. Fully skimmed is available, but more expensive. We use a fair bit -- milky chai in the morning and sometimes on cereal. (However, I prefer my meusli mixed with yogurt -- plain, never sweetened or flavored.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

An Interesting Day

As the old Chinese proverb, sometimes called a curse, supposedly says, "May you live in interesting times." Yesterday was one of those times for me. Near the end of an ordinary working day here in the office, I turned my head to speak to someone. Suddenly, with no warning, I was overcome with vertigo. I managed to complete the conversation with him, he turned away, and Dan arrived. We were planning to walk into the bazaar for supper, the first we've managed given the number of evenings we've been out in friends' homes. I felt worse and worse, just kept my head on my desk. I managed to get up and go down to the bathroom on the main level. As I was hobbling down the stairs, holding on to the railing, our old friend Dolma, who is one of the school nurses, met me. She took one look and realized that I wasn't right. She said I should go to the Health Centre. After I got back and told Dan, I gathered my things and we headed there (fortunately, it is nearby, just below our office). They took my blood pressure, which was quite high (something I've never had). As I sat there for a while, it came down just a bit. They called a taxi and sent me over to Landour Hospital. Dan carried the two pillows, blankets, and a roll of TP they sent with me in case I was to be admitted. The emergency room there is very laid-back. My BP was still high, but a bit lower than earlier. The doctor came in and asked me some questions. He is an anesthetist, formerly an ENT, and only has been here for about ten days. He lowered my head twice in opposite directions and the vertigo went away. I was still quite nauseated, so they gave me two shots for that. The second one helped right away and I felt much better. The taxi returned to drive us back to the school. Although I was feeling better, I decided to spend the night at the Health Centre, as the walk to our house (in the dark) felt quite daunting at that point. Ruth, the nurse on duty, was very helpful. She got me some toast and herbal tea (a Trader Joe's Bedtime teabag -- I wonder where that came from!). I felt a bit better, as I'd had nothing to eat since lunch. I took off my outer clothing and crawled into the bed. I had my iPod and put my multiple Chanticleer CDs on shuffle -- the perfect thing to lie and listen to. Dolma came on duty at 8:00; I was glad to see her! I drifted off to sleep soon after 9:00 and slept quite well. This morning I feel quite all right and my BP is in a normal range. I will head down to the house later in the morning and get a shower and change. My expectations for the weekend are a lot of R&R!

A similar thing happened to me once before, in 2005. It was the first day visiting Mussoorie with our granddaughter Jasmine. I suspect that it was altitude-related. This may have been, too, as the doctor suggested, but it seems odd that it would hit nearly two weeks after arriving on the Hillside. Last time they didn't take my BP, so I've no idea if it was elevated. That time the nausea was worse, but I did manage to sleep through the night and was fine again in the morning.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday Morning Humor

This morning I was poking around, running late, and decided to put the garbage pail between the front door and the screen door. I figured the pickup man would come just as I got into the shower. (We can't leave it out on the porch because of monkeys, although we haven't seen many around recently.) I tried to open the door and found that the outside bolt was closed. I panicked and phoned Dan. He didn't think he had done it, although he might have, automatically. I can't imagine that someone would have walked by and done it. For one thing, we are at the end of the downward path. And I think I would have heard something. Dan asked if I could get out another door (didn't think of it myself!). The one in the dining room is padlocked on the outside, but there is one in the kitchen behind the fridge and I got out after undoing 4 bolts! Walked around the house in my robe and slippers and got in the front just fine. Anyway, the garbage man didn't even come! We've told them we don't need it picked up every day but it's hard to know which days they'll be there. Great way to start the day!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Random Photos

Helen, a visiting volunteer alumna, took the following picture from Tehri Road near South Hill. We do see cows around with regularity; in fact, they can be nuisances. Owners of cows in the area let them wander during the day to find vegetation to feed on. This picture is amazing! It is a bit difficult to tell, but the hillside that the cows are feeding on is almost vertical. Somehow these cows made their ways up or down the tiny paths and ended up perfectly aligned.

On a quick trip to the bazaar on Monday we passed this wall being built. The location is behind the Kulri Methodist Church on the short-cut road down the front side of the hill, avoiding the bazaar congestion. It didn't look very sturdy as they were building it, but maybe it will last through at least one monsoon. Notice the worker near the front is on his mobile phone.

These four students were practicing tabla (Indian drums) in the Quad the other day. The sun was bright, so the shadow is quite stark. Many of our students take Indian music lessons. This afternoon (Wednesday) Dan will be sitting in on the auditions for the Advanced Student Recital, coming up in a couple of weeks. There are 32 students trying out!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More Socializing!

On Monday we were pleased and somewhat surprised to have three visitors from the class of 1980. None of them knew the others were planning to be here at this time. That class graduated the year we left Woodstock and we felt especially close to a lot of them, some of whom are good friends to this day. Tim Weidman is doing an around-the-world trip with his family, Glenn Davis and his wife are visiting after many years, and David Rand is visiting his daughter, who is studying at Woodstock in the SAGE program. Darab (from the same class) and Naz Nagarwalla invited all of them (and us!) for dinner. Momo, also a member of the class of 1980, came, too, bringing food from the restaurant at Doma's Inn.

L to R; Dan, me, David, Naz, Momo, Tim, Glenn, Darab

The Five Guys

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday in the Baz with Dan

Yes, on Sunday we walked to the bazaar. Up from our house to the New Road, across toward the school residences, then up the old Dhobi Ghat path to Cozy Korner, just below Woodstock Villa. From there the path was the usual, along Tehri Road to Mullingar, and through the bazaar. We went back to Agarwal's Vegetarian where we ate, then up Kulri Hill to Broadway Optical, where my new glasses had arrived. When I tried them on I was quite disoriented, but the manager assured me I would get used to them. After we were home, I tried them again and realized that they were badly wrong. I think that the prescriptions were switched between my eyes; they are definitely better if I look through the opposite lens. So a trip back (probably by scooter) is in the cards.

Along the New Road, I was looking for the stinging nettle and dak leaves, which are quite common. I saw this plant, which I've never seen before. The nice big leaves are covered with sharp thorns! It is a bit hard to see, but this plant has great natural protection!

A sharp curve below Cozy Korner. This was the old Dhobi Ghat Road that was slightly motorable in the old days before the New Road was built in the late 1970s. But now there are steps at the top (Tehri Road) and bottom (New Road). Part of it is nicely paved, like this; part is stony and not so nice.

The following photo shows a landslide just west of Woodstock Villa. This is a common sight during and after the monsoon.

One of the large rocks that came down in the landslide shown above. It has been moved slightly away from the rest so the road is still passable. Dan is standing beside it to show the size.

A new sight in town is several bas-relief painted murals. This one is on the hill going up to Landour from Picture Palace.

I've posted this before, but here are the poories and potato curry we had for Sunday brunch.

As much as I love poories, I decided to have tandoori roti instead. Delicious and no grease at all!

The State Bank of India is a landmark at the top of Kulri Hill. As I was standing near the bookstore waiting for Dan to buy a paper, I noticed that the veranda is being used for parking! Off to the left there is a ramp up from the road. The proliferation of vehicles here is quite amazing; they are everywhere, parked in every conceivable place, and some not so conceivable.

The entire walk, with stops for lunch, picking up eyeglasses, a bit of shopping, picking up shoes from the mochi (shoemaker and repair), and a bit of a rest for me at the top of Mullingar on the way back, took three hours and fifteen minutes. I did well, but was happy to hang out at home the rest of the day!