This was an early morning for me. The big group of college students left for Vellore this morning, so my dad and I shuttled them from the guest house to the train station. That was actually smoother than I expected it to go. The students did a spectacular job of packing light and they followed the game plan to a t. The train only stops at this station for 5 minutes and they had to shove their way into the train while the thronging masses surround them at the entrance. Not only do they have to get all of them on board but we also need to get the luggage in and stowed quickly before somebody else takes your spot. My dad and I jumped off the train as it began to move. Every second was utilized and as the train pulled out and there were no “left-over” white people around me, I realized that our job there was done!:)
We had quite an eventful week with them though. The Belur, Halebidu and Shravenebelagola trip was a huge hit considering I was the only leader. I did miss having Katy’s organizational expertise around me but we managed and we managed quite well.
We had a “quiet” day by Indian standards on Friday and then Saturday was another LONG day trip to the historic city of Mysore. This time, we got a bigger vehicle, I had reinforcements. Katy was able to go, as were my parents, AND my dear friend Raja and his wife Selvi. Raja and I were classmates and he hadn’t been to Mysore. Plus, this gave the students the opportunity to interact with another young couple and hear their story as well. We had a good day learning a little bit more about S. Indian history, particularly that of the state of Karnataka. As a treat, we also hit the bird sanctuary en route. Most migratory birds that leave the colder climates find their way to warm places like the ones we saw. What was really sweet about this sanctuary was the fact that these birds nest on islands in the middle of this lake. And to get a closer look, you take a row-boat and go around them. Also, in true Indian fashion, nothing is ever just that simple. The water has crocodiles. So we got to see the birds, we got to see crocodiles basking on the rocks and even swimming by our boat. And no, we did not touch the water with our hands.
Church on Sunday was good too. Added another snapshot to the Indian experience. The group got to experience an Indian potluck afterward. We got to do motorcycle rides in the evening and even though most of them were stuffed, we found ways to creatively sneak in Indian snacks (samosas, gulab jamuns, chum chums) and stuffed parathas and chicken kababs, and amazing rare fruits. We do eat a lot here.. but its fun and great! 🙂
Katy and I have a brief respite again. We have another team coming in on Wednesday (for 3 days) but that a team of 3 is a little easier to manage than a team of 12 (logistically). It is quite hard to believe that we leave India in a week or so. Time has truly flown by!