The temperatures have dropped a great deal and it has been raining here pretty much non-stop, with small windows of sunlight, for the better part of two weeks now. Reminds me of late summer rain in Iowa and is also reminiscent of parts of Ireland with the very deep shade of green that now blankets the landscape.
Hindi lessons are slowly coming to an end here in Landour and in two weeks’ time I will be saying good bye to the Hill Station that has been my home for nearly two months now. Although I will I miss Landour immensely, I am equally excited to explore new parts of India, beginning with my trip to the Shakya Buddhist Monastery in Dehradun at the invite of my friend, Karma Tsering, and then continuing on to Amritsar located in heart of the Punjab.
I am including pictures of some friends I have made. Each one of these people have impacted my stay here and likewise, each one of them have extended an enormous amount of hospitality my way, making me feel less like a visitor and much more like a long lost dear friend or even family. Shabash.
From Aman, the shopkeeper down in the bazaar who welcomes me to tea each time I pass his uncle’s store and so kindly offers me rides into town on his scooter when he sees me – which I must say is quite a treat, not because of the ease of convenience, but rather watching the heads of every person turn as a Sikh and an American scream through the narrow streets of Mussoorie on a beat up grey scooter; to Anand, the clothier, who has so graciously taken time to explain the different types of cotton and other fabrics he sells in his store and has helped me to make my clothing purchases; to Islam, the tailor, who also insists I stop for Chai whenever I pass his small corner shop. Islam speaks perfect English, helps me with my Hindi, and also sews a mean Kurta; and Manisha, the lovely and ever so elegant woman in Char Dukan who has been preparing my evening meals for nearly 3 weeks now and has an unbelievable gift for preparing the most amazingly delicious home cooked meals for me each evening. Manisha invites me into her home every evening at 6pm and I sit with her two sons Prakash and Avi and talk about America and Hindi television shows while she so effortless brings the taste of India to my plate. Each one of these people are the heart and soul of what makes India so inviting and so culturally vibrant.
Stay cool Iowa….