A journey back to Middle Earth…


India FAQ

To sum up our time in India, I decided to interview Jayesh, Milan and Nilay and try to put some of our more individual India experiences into words:
Q. What has been the most memorable thing for you during the past 3 weeks, while we were in India?
Milan: The Taj Mahal, especially the building with all the gemstones inlaid in the marble
Nilay: The dead cow in the road which had been run over by a bus which had a severely damaged windscreen
Jayesh: Learning about Mahatma Gandhi’s story again and being in some of the places he stepped.
Q. What did you like the best?
Milan: Feeding the monkeys in Jaipur at Jaigarh Fort
Jayesh: Riding through the backwaters in Kerala on a boat
Nilay: I liked so many things, but my highlights were Arkshardham Mandir in Delhi and the swimming pool at the Triveny River Hotel
Q. What did you like the least?
Jayesh: Delhi Belly on the day we visited Agra,
Milan: Being sick with a fever in Kochi
Nilay: Mosquitos and heat in Mumbai
Q. What was the most unexpected / new experience you had in India?
Nilay: The way the trucks look all colourful and the way the horns sound quite cool. Also the bad smells in the big cities.
Milan: The amount of car horns and noise in the streets
Jayesh: So many more “public toilets” (for men at least) – very unpleasant to see!
Q. In which way is India different from any other country you have visited on our trip?
Nilay: Tractors on motorways, slums, cool sunsets
Milan: The amount of motorbikes (with whole families sitting on them)
Jayesh: The prominence of multiple religions
Q. Did you miss anything while in India:
Nilay: I missed my bike
Milan: I missed playing piano
Jayesh: I missed exercising as I only got to go to the gym/run once.

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Back to our Roots

One of the key objectives of our trip and visit to India was for Milan & Nilay to see and experience the area which their paternal grandparents had originated from and spent their early years. For me it had also been 18 years since my last visit to the “gam” (village), so I was also very interested to reacquaint myself with images and experiences and possibly some people from the past. An uncle had kindly offered to my parents to show us around the villages, which was great as his knowledge of the villages and the people made our experience even more fulfilling. We first went to Kothamdi where my the house mum (Ba) grew up in is still standing and exactly how I remembered it, including photos of her family on the walls in the front room. We also met people who know Ba, very pleased to see us visiting and interested to know the connection. Later we went to my fathers village (Machaad) & where his house once stood again meeting neighbours and distant relatives who were very welcoming of “family” who had come ‘home’. Amongst all of this we also had a chance to go to see the locally famous “Dandi” beach, also made intentionally famous by Gandhi by being the location where he ended his epic “salt march”. We were also treated to a fantastic home cooked meal as well as fresh coconut juice from a tree in an uncles back garden. For obvious reasons it was a very different and unique experience of India than the past 20 days. The impact of migration from the villages to the West was clearly evident. There were many original homesteads and families which continue to live in the same area with similar lifestyles carried through generations, mixed with larger and newer houses from those who had gone abroad and come back to retire or build holiday homes. In any case an enjoyable day in a calm and peaceful rural environment and a contrast to the intensity of the cities we’ve visited. Regardless, the core culture and values from which I was brought up on are still clear and better understood through a visit like this, albeit very brief…