Sunday, November 9, 2014

Last Day

It is Sunday morning here, our last day in Bangalore and India. Our plane departs at 03:45 Monday morning; we will leave for the airport at midnight. We will probably get home around 9:00 pm on Monday evening, assuming all connections and departures/arrivals go as scheduled. It appears that all our things will fit into our three suitcases, always good to know!

Dan got back Thursday evening from visiting four orphanages in the far south. He enjoyed seeing the good work they are doing. As often happens, he was considered an important visitor and had to make a speech in several places. Here is the program from one.

Saturday we all went to Barbeque Nation, an Indian chain we first tried when we were in Bangalore six or seven years ago. It is a wonderful place to overeat! I took lots of pictures.

First, the charcoal grill is put in the centre of the table
Skewers of starters (appetizers)
Starters menu
Seekh kabobs are brought around
Smashed small potatoes are especially delicious
After eating lots of grilled fish, prawns, mushrooms, etc., we are ready for the buffet.

Put down the flag to signal no more skewers
Buffet Menu 
Two of the curries
My plate sampling four curries and curd rice
My dessert sampler - cantaloupe, brownie, mango cheesecake, butterscotch pastry and ice cream
Dhruv's dessert - watermelon, brownies -- after ice cream
Dhruv didn't want to be photographed!
Nina and Mahesh
That was pretty much it for Sunday! We finished by 3:00 and no one wanted any supper. Below is a picture of Dhruv (11) with a bionic hand he made out of Legos.

On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at a market to pick up a few things. Nina bought some bananas that the vendor just sliced off the stalk hanging there.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


We are having a quiet visit here so far. Dan left early Tuesday morning to visit some orphanages in the far south; he flew to Trivandrum. Tuesday was also a holiday so Dhruv didn't have school. He and I had a good time seeking out some chocolate at a nearby shop!

Monday for lunch we went out for a meal from Andhra Pradesh. It is served on a banana leaf. We had the "mini" meal, which primarily means less rice. In any case, I could only eat half of my rice!

Tomato chutney, cabbage/coconut, dal with spinach

Side dishes -- sambar, rasam, buttermilk and dahi (yogurt)

Dan enjoying the end of his meal


Abhiruchi restaurant from across the street
After finishing, we crossed the street to a sweet shop. I had some mango burfi, something I had never seen; it was delicious! It was bright orange and very mango-y in flavor. I was so excited I forgot to take a picture. (Burfi is an Indian sweet made of milk reduced to almost solid and with plenty of sugar.)

In the early evening, we went up to the top of their building, which is ten stories tall. The views of Bangalore were spectacular. It was smoggy in the distance, but still very nice.

Dhruv had school on Monday and this is just when he got home, uniform ready to be removed.

I've taken several walks around the two apartment blocks in this compound. The weather is very pleasant. People here are wearing sweaters because it dips below 80°F. The gardens and surroundings are lovely.


Canopy trees along the perimeter


Swimming pool (water is quite cool now)
Tuesday morning after Dan left I had tea and papaya at the B and B for a pre-breakfast, then joined Nina and Mahesh for a delicious savory vermicelli breakfast, a new dish for me.

There are a number of shops along the road we walk. I especially like this one's sign (it is a paper recycling shop). You can call Hari if you have any questions!

Monday, November 3, 2014

On the Road

Our taxi was on time, even a bit early. We headed down the hill about 1:00. As we left, we noticed the funeral truck waiting to go to the cemetery. They had decided to have the memorial service at Saroj's home on Tuesday afternoon.

We had tea with our friend Ajit and his sister in Dehra Dun. It's always good to see him. He had recently been ill, but was quite recovered. We had a lively conversation about music, Indian instruments, the state of music teaching at Doon School, and more.

We reached the train station without incident and enjoyed the comfortable ride and meal. Brij met us at the Meerut station and we headed off to their house. A pleasant two days followed. We were pleased to see the improvements to the house -- the first time I'd seen the expanded kitchen. The outside was also faced with new tiles and the ground floor had marble flooring. Very nice! Jason is 7 now and doing well in school. He has a very good and patient tutor who comes every evening and he seems to enjoy working with him. He loves to swing on the stairs and jump down to the floor.

We caught the same train into Delhi that we had arrived on. I took a few photos at the station. There are always people sleeping in train stations in India, and I managed to catch these right behind the bench we were waiting on. Across to the next platform, a local train pulled in and many people got on and off.

It was a short night, as we got settled in our hotel room about midnight and had a 7:00 taxi to the American Embassy. We needed additional pages added to our passports and were able to make an appointment here -- easier than mailing them off when we are home. We waited around a bit until we were allowed in at 9:00. (It was only a 40-minute drive but we never know how bad the traffic might be; in this case it wasn't bad at all. We were the first ones into the US citizens area, although there were more than a hundred people waiting in the tourist and immigration visa line for Indian citizens. The entire process took about an hour, then we headed back to the hotel and had some breakfast.

In the afternoon we took the Metro to the new Janpath station. It opens out right in front of Cottage Industries, with another exit close to the Tibetan shops. We had a good visit and some tea with Doma. She is 88 now but seemed in better condition than when I last saw her two years ago. 

We took the Metro again, this time to Mayur Vihar, across the river, where Anju and Sandeep live. They ordered mutton biriani, which was wonderful. It is made in clay pots, sealed with flour and water, wrapped in foil, and roasted. Absolutely delicious! Three of these small pots was more than enough for the four of us.

Another early morning on Saturday as we headed to the airport for our flight to Bangalore. Shortly after we left the hotel, our driver asked if it was all right to stop for a minute. He had some food for the pigeons at this intersection. While we were there, several others stopped to feed, them, too.

Mahesh and Dhruv were there to meet us at the airport -- so nice to see their smiling faces again after too long! They have shifted to a new apartment complex near their old one. It is very nice; it even has a swimming pool that looks lovely, but I don't have a suit with me! We spent the rest of Saturday and all day Sunday relaxing and visiting. We are staying in a nearby B&B called Maple Suites. A bit ironic, as we live in Goshen, the Maple City, and there are no maple trees here!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Last Day at Woodstock

Our last full day in Mussoorie was clouded by the sudden death overnight of our friend Saroj's sister (see last post). She was 90 and active until the end. Very shocking and difficult, but a peaceful end to a long life. The custom here is to go to the home of the bereaved. Close friends stayed all day; I just went for a few hours. Fortunately, the school personnel who deal with the Foreign Registration Office and other authorities were there to take care of necessary procedures.

We finished our packing (trunks to stay and suitcases to go) other than the last-minute things of this morning. Dan made egg sandwiches for supper. (I went down to see what was in the dining room, and it was mutton vindaloo and bhindi [okra] veg curry -- two of my least favorite dishes.)

This has been a good stay. I feel that I got a lot of positive work done in the office. We had lots of opportunities for socializing. And I definitely got stronger, able to walk longer distances without extreme fatigue.

We leave today (Tuesday) for Meerut to visit old friends and then Bangalore. I won't be able to post here until Saturday or Sunday, but don't give up, I'll be back!

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Saturday was a quiet day in our apartment. We did do a bit of preliminary sorting and packing, as we leave on Tuesday. I couldn't get any pictures, but we enjoyed watching the monkeys play in the school playground just below us. One of them found a plastic sand bucket, put his head inside and ran around crazily until it came off. Two others were on the swings, one lying across it on his belly and the other sitting and swinging. It's easy to see a human connection! Mostly I view the rhesus monkeys as pests. It can be scary to meet a large male all alone on a hillside path.

For lunch we went down to the dining hall. It is still quiet around here and we saw one other staff member getting some lunch. It was a good one:  chicken and veggie burgers (one of each), fresh buns just out of the oven, rice and dal (as always), and condiments for the burgers, including pickle relish!

About three o'clock we headed down to Fern Oaks to have tea with Saroj Kapadia and her sister, who is visiting from Victoria, BC. We had a very nice chat as well as some goodies with the tea.

While we were there a thunderstorm started. It rained quite hard for a bit. Once it let up, we quickly walked back to the Quad. Almost as soon as we got inside, it began to pour again. And it was very cold!

We were heading up to the top of the hill for dinner at Rokeby with the Class of 1969. It is quite a long walk and I had decided to get a taxi to go up and walk back down after dinner. We ordered our taxi for 6:15 and headed down to the school gate. We ended up waiting a good half hour, calling the taxi service (who must have forgotten our reservation), and finally got a ride. In the meantime, since it was raining, we went inside the shed that is now at the gate. I didn't realize it was fixed up very nicely as a waiting area.

When we arrived at Rokeby, we found out that the dinner had been moved into the hotel from the Highlands, an open area above where these kinds of events are often held. The rain and cold were too much. We gathered in the lobby for some talk and a presentation of a shawl to Mary, the class secretary, who had done so much work to plan this gathering.

Then we moved upstairs for appetizers and a buffet dinner. We were in a long narrow room but it all worked out well, and the food was delicious, as always at Rokeby.

Our walk home was fine. The weather had completely cleared off, and it was warmer than it had been earlier. Today the clouds and mist have been intermittent, with occasional bursts of sunlight.

It's Sunday now. Dan has gone on a motorcycle ride back into the hills with a couple of other riders. He's been wanting to do it, but it is a good idea to have more than one person in case of any problems. I am having a relaxing day.

Friday, October 24, 2014


This has been a very quiet week around the school. Quarter Break is on following Activity Week, and the Diwali holiday came on Thursday. The office was closed for the day, and we've had a small number here most of the week.

Tuesday the Class of 1969 arrived at the school; there are nearly 30 of them here for their 45th reunion. It was fun to see many students we remembered, but didn't always recognize them! They came into the inner office and held up their class flag for photo ops.

They toured the school, had lunch, and then went down and toured the residences. They are staying at Doma's Inn and Ivy Bank. On Wednesday evening they walked around chakkar and the hillside and ended up at Judy and Dana's place, the first house above Tehri Road heading east from the school. We were invited to join them for dinner. It was chilly, but fires inside and out made it quite comfortable. Judy and Dana's cook did a fine job on the meal.

This view is looking toward Witches' Hill from Dana and Judy's home.

Thursday evening we went back to Naz and Vanu's for Diwali. It was nice to have a quiet evening.  They gave a Zoroastrian prayer to celebrate the Festival of Light.

A view looking toward Mussoorie with many lights glowing.

Vanu is lighting the traditional oil lamps (diyas) in the entryway to their house. These came from Arunima, a home for autistic children that is run by a former Woodstock employee.

The winterline with clouds below.