Happy in Hyderabad 

I’m meant to be resting before going out for tea, but I wanted to share this with you first and of course it’s taken all my rest time. Anyway, after a brilliant day Monday teaching at the University, and yesterday chatting and getting a sinus infection, today we risked an outside trip. Ended up at Chilkur Balaji Temple, well outside it anyway, we were having too much fun to go inside. We wandered, and chatted, and ate guava. I’ve never been brave enough to try sugar cane juice. I learned how to ask people in Hindi if I could take their photographs, and practised a lot. The best smiles were after I’d taken the photos and turned my phone around so they could see themselves.

I asked this guy if I could take his photo, and he wanted me to take the young fellow too. Not that I understood his reply. Which makes me think of this morning, there’s a deaf waiter at my hotel, huge grin. Well this morning I made sure I remembered how to sign You R Great! He’s now my new best friend.

This woman is so beautiful with her guava and her mango, only 10 rupees each. Just lovely, well not the guava, I’m not a fan.

The goats didn’t all try to run away. And no we didn’t feed them my guava.

That’s it, quick rest now before dinner. See you!

Blessed in Bangalore 

As I said, this is a trip of firsts for me, and my trip to Bangalore was the first time I’ve been invited to stay in a family home. A family home with four dogs and three cats was also a first! I felt totally at home the whole time – thank you.

I did spend a lot of time around the house relaxing, talking, feeling so welcome and loved. Even Toffee the cat loved me, although he mostly wanted to eat my feet. We ate in because the lady who prepares the family’s meals is a wonder and the food amazing. I thought I was doing so well on the spices, but then I found out that she was making it mild for me. I would come back just for the food, and the love.

Each day I went for a walk. These photos are from my longest walk through the neighbourhood, I do so love India. Other days we walked around a local park, reclaimed from an old quarry. The park was always full of kids squealing with delight, runners, old folk walking their grandchildren. I saw one lady every day walking briskly in pastel color coordinated tracksuit sets. On our fourth passing on my last day (we walked in opposite loops), I asked her how many laps she did each day. Five to ten, she replied.

The streets nearby were green and tranquil, well appart from dodging the two-wheelers and not listening to their horns. And maybe I did a little shopping.

And finally some cows, although, there really must be a ban about plastic bags soon. Any of these lovelies eat one of those bags and they’ll die, horribly.

I was very blessed on my last day to be taken by a friend of the family to the local Hanuman temple for prayers and blessings. Very special. Very happy. Very blessed.img_6853

Of course Zorro shouldn’t be in my blog or the kitchen, but he just saunters in quietly when no one is looking!

There’s no place like home… India

India is the land of my soul, the place where I feel so at home my heart aches with joy. No, you smarty-pants people, not indigestion, it’s heart-warming joy and belonging. I know every trip is different, it was just that leaving Brisbane this time was so rushed with preparations and distractions it hardly felt like I was supposed to be enjoying myself. But when the plane tilted turning to come into Bombay Airport and I caught my first glimpse of India, well my heart soared as Mata ji, Maa Durga, mother earth goddess, welcomed me back. I was grinning like, well a lot! Couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

When the plane touched the tarmac I realised the random selection on my phone was colluding with the universe: it was Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral that was reaching it’s enormous, brass filled crescendo in my ears, reverberating in my being. I knew I was not alone.

After a couple of hours in Mumbai meeting a dear sister-friend in person for the first time, it was into a car for the three hour drive to Pune, and the 6th National Bioethics Conference.

img_6593No the traffic hasn’t become any less traumatic, I just photographed a quiet bit!

To be honest I didn’t see too much of Pune, and not only because of the terrible pollution that shrouded everything and made breathing a chore. I spent a huge amount of time eating dhosa for breakfast, preparing for the conference, or at the conference, or getting to and from the conference in took tooks. In some ways, after 12 or so trips to India, this has been a trip of firsts. It was my first time in Pune. It’s my first time here “alone.” I’ve always been here for work or as an affluent tourist, and in both cases have had a hired a/c car and a driver. And now here I was standing on the road flagging took tooks, giving directions in my limited  Hindi. When I went out of the hotel there was no uniformed Karthik (name changed) waiting for me, I just walked off into the surrounding streets to explore. Continue reading “There’s no place like home… India”