India: A 6 Year Retrospective

Six years – or nearly – since we arrived. And now, we are gone again. A lot has happened.

Mussoorie

This is one of the first pictures I snapped, in our view from King’s Chambers where we were told to not unpack – we’d be getting  moved quickly.

Coolies2

Which they were, in mid-December, and in one of the first of the many impressive carried-by-coolies experiences we’ve had. From King’s Chambers to South Hill Annexe Lower, where we have been since – despite pushta-collapses, shrew invasions, giant spiders and the occasional scorpion coming to visit.

In the years since, we have had two children, attended numerous formal events at Ashtha and strayWoodstock, had a multitude of friends meet, get married have children… we’ve been adopted by students, too. We have seen those student-daughters graduate, and seen some of them several times after the fact. They have all gone off to university, whether in the USA or in India. One has even gone off and gotten married!

 

We’ve learned to be more patient in dealing with people – but we’ve also learned to put up a line or a policy and stick to it, because people will creep and crawl over that line (either deliberately or accidentally). This has meant enforcing policies with students, as well as being firm on things with friends or work-requests in the bazaar. We have learned the immensely flexible concept of Indian time, and

We have seen great wealth as well as immense poverty. We have been privileged to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama (a particular pleasure for me as a Buddhist, though not a religious one), and saddhus in Varanasi. We have travelled from the northernmost part of India (Jammu and Kashmir) down to Kanyakumari, from Rajasthan to dipping our toes in the water by Chennai (though not Kolkata). We have battled bureaucracy and won – sometimes only by the skin of our teeth! – and lived to tell the tale.

We’ll miss our friends immensely (in fact, we do miss our friends!), and we hope to return some day, one day. But now – new adventures await in China!

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