Sunday, March 04, 2007
A PASSAGE TO INDIA or THE RAJ QUINTET
So back to my trip to India. It was my fourth trip there - my third with my friend Myra - sans Arnon this time. There were five of us - all women. Don't even ask. I have to say though that on the whole the trip was fine - and interesting - and fun - and I now know more about some of these women than I ever wanted to know - or needed to know. Who complains - who is cheap - who is generous - who is "gameesh" (flexible) - who is a swift pain in the butt - which ones I will never travel with again - the list goes on. After all - FIVE women!! But all in all - I'd do it again - only with some men next time as leavening.
Haven't you noticed? I have. When I serve on a Board of some organization and it is mixed - men and women - there is almost no infighting and sniping. Women tend to personalize everything.
Anyway - we flew to Mumbai - went to visit the Hare Krishna Temple between planes - nothing like not wasting any time - then flew on to Varanassi and then on to Delhi - where we picked up our car and driver and spent the next few weeks driving to Agra and Fatehour and Jaipur and Pushkar and Ajmer and Jodphur and Jaisalmer and Osian and Ranakpur and Udaipur and then flew to Mumbai and then home. By the way - all those "-purs" are in Rajasthan.
Distances are vast in India -we spent hours and hours on the road - but we had a fabulous driver who really knew the country well - and loves his country - and he took us to see all sorts of places that weren't even on our itinerary. He even took us to his home to meet his wife and to have some tea and cookies. Salaries are very low in India - most couples have no more than three children - usually two - so that they will have the money to educate them. Education is very important - many of the drivers, in fact, are very highly educated. And all of our guides were college graduates - many were already lawyers or studying law.
And the icing on the cake - my friend, Cecelia from Rochester, New York - was in India at the same time as we were and we managed to meet up twice during our travels. However - she found the country boring - a word I would never use in relation to India. The one thing we never were was bored. Cold? Sometimes - the weather was unusually cold and rainey for this time of year. Wet? Sometimes. Exhausted? Often - we ran from morning to night...our choice as we wanted to see as much as possible. But bored? NEVER.
I'll tell you more about the trip as time goes on - the fabulous Temples - the moving ceremony at Varanassi - the Kashmiri wedding we were invited to - in the meantime