A RETURN TRIP TO INDIA in 1999|
Weldon. Sat. 4 Dec 1999.
[Also see 3Nov99 - Preparing for the trip]
REFLECTIONS ON A RETURN TRIP TO INDIA
(WHAT WAS BAD AND WHAT WAS GOOD)
November 14-28, 1999
Note: The terms "good" and "bad" indicate positive or negative feelings and
do not have any specific moral or ethical implications.
BAD: Crowds, lines, dust, exhaust fumes, urine odor along walls and
outside public buildings, open drains, etc. all a part of India, but
strikes one anew after being away for 9 years.
GOOD: People well dressed and nourished, few beggers, only 1 accident seen
in Delhi despite all the "near misses". Decision of the young people of
Delhi not to light fireworks on Dewali night as an antipollution measure.
BAD: Service and handout mentality. I've always had a problem with
tipping, but appreciate it's facility in getting things done and actually
found myself doing so generously and "hilariously" on occasion.
GOOD: good rice crop this year (with irrigation 2 crops can be raised),
many of the people in MP I know have opened small businesses in addition to
their professions, money for "luxury items"
BAD: Few birds, even crows, in the rural areas due to the extensive use of
chemicals and pesticides. Natural forests of MP devoid of animals except
a few bear. You never hear a jackal or see deer or peacock.
GOOD: Tiger and wildlife are thriving at the game reserve in Kanha.
BAD: It was sad to see the crumbling buildings and unkept compounds that
once were home. In the villages surrounding Shantipur it was only the
elderly that had a recollection of the presence of my parents 27 years ago.
GOOD: the Church remains strong though it has its struggles. Its witness
and influence has grown through individual rather than institutional
CULTURAL PROGRAM: (A new feature in celebrative gatherings and the
entertainment of foreign guests in our Mission area.)
BAD: Microphone gain and volume have to be turned up to maximum distortion
to be appreciated. My recorder contribution of a piece by Mozart was
either unrecognized or disowned by the master.
GOOD: It was wonderful to see the talents of young people expressed through
traditional music, dances and costuming.
BAD: He has fallen into disrepute amongst many of his country men as one
who set the country back economically through his advocacy of the simple
GOOD: I was impressed again with the profound wisdom and charisma of a
humble person with a mission. His list of 7 social sins is worth
remembering: "Politics without principles; Wealth without work; Pleasure
without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality;
Science without humanity; and Worship without sacrifice"
BAD: I got hit with it twice. the first time when a rickshaw walla dropped
me off in an emporium in the Chor Bazaar to look around for a "few minutes"
until the Chemist Shop opened at 11:00. the second was when I was the
victim of the "shit on the shoe" ploy by shisters in Connaught Circle.
GOOD: I was "first customer of the day" and am happy with the unplanned
purchase of a Christmas gift for LuEtta. I was able to ignore and
eventually lose the young men that were so anxious to clean my shoe.
TRAVEL AGENTS: (A must if you are going to travel in India with a group.)
BAD: No bad experiences.
GOOD: Highly recommend
International Ventures and Travel, with offices in
New York and Delhi. Without Sunil Biswas we would have been bumped from
our overbooked flight out of Delhi. He was worth his commission and a
generous tip as well.
BAD: After 5 days I'm still really dragging by mid-afternoon and can hardly
wait for an after supper nap.
GOOD: Wakening at 2:00 AM and in the stillness and darkness becoming aware
that my life companion is also wide awake.
Back to the top.
From Weldon Friesen
Subject: Indian roots
Date: 3 Nov 1999
Luetta and I are in the count down phase of preparations to leave for 2
weeks in India on Nov. 14.
The Mennonite Church in India is celebrating
the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Mennonite Mission in M.P. the
Friesens will be well represented, with my parents John and Genevieve who
are in their mid 80s, my 3 children, a daughter-in-law and 6 year old grand
daughter, my brothers Stan ('58) and Delbert ('66) each taking one of their
sons, and an aunt who with her husband, children and grandchildren make a
party of 14. Needless to say we have kept the phone and e-mail busy trying
to keep one another informed and get things coordinated.
recommendation from Ann Lind whose family recently made a tour of India, we
are using International Ventures and TRVL that has offices in New York and
Delhi, to arrange our travel and hotel in India. they are the agency used
by Woodstock, and have been very helpful, though I have given up at trying
to figure out how they figure their charges on an individual basis since we
never have received a fully itemized bill. It is going to take a different
mind set to enjoy the luxury of travelling as a tourist, rather than
arranging for your own coolies and taxi etc., and I would welcome the
suggestions of any recent travellers when it comes to tipping all of the
persons who are "at your service".
Looking foreward to the WOSA meeting in Colorado next year, I can't think
of anyone better to MC the occasion than you, Willie. And Jerry, it sounds
like you have a wealth of good suggestions to get your thinking started on
planning the worship service. Happy birthday to Dick. the last time I saw
you, you gave me a chain and lock to secure our suitcases for our train
trip from Dehra Dun to Delhi in '92. Our children didn't think a visit to
India would be complete without some train travel, so while my parents take
the plane, the rest of us will take the Gondawana Express from Raipur to
Back to the top.
visits back. Or
Class of '59.
Webbed by Philip McEldowney
Last update: Monday, 03-Jan-2000 16:10:37 EST.