I flew to Jaipur as I had an appointment with a university professor who wanted to talk to me about coming to do a program on quality for his hospital administration students. Getting to the university turned out to be quite a project as the tuk-tuk driver I engaged claimed to know where it was, and didn’t, as it turned out. After a couple of false starts and getting more information from other tuk-tuk drivers, it was determined that it was out by the airport, quite a distance from downtown. We set out, asking directions several times, stopping to get gas (of course he needed an advance on my payment) and then stopping one more time so he could urinate by the side of the road. The road was crowded with all sorts of conveyances—cars and buses, of course, but also camels pulling carts, donkeys, horse-carts, tuk-tuks, bicycles and pedestrians. Eventually we arrived and I met with the professor who asked me to submit an outline for the program, which perhaps will happen in 1995.
The next morning I spent sight-seeing by taxi as I didn’t have much time. I saw the Iswari Minar Swarga Sul (the Mineret Piercing Heaven),
I also saw the giant silver urns used by a former maharaja when he visited England. He filled the urns with water from the Ganges to drink on his trip.
Then I had the taxi take me to the airport—alas! My plane was just taking off—they had changed the schedule! Since there were no more flights to Delhi that day, they put me in a car, along with another couple from Sri Lanka who had also missed the flight, and drove us to Delhi. It was hot and long in the car, but fun to see the countryside and pleasant to interact with the Sri Lankans.
When I arrived at the hotel in which I had stayed before, they had my diamond ring (praise be!) but not my reservation, which I had made earlier. The manager wriggled things around and I ended up in a nice suite! A colleague of mine had asked me to call a friend of his, which I did. The friend’s wife was most cordial and invited me to dinner for the next night.
The following day I caught a flight to Khajuraho to see the famous erotic Jain temples. The temples were in a most beautiful wooded setting and were quite astounding. The design incorporated lots of individual carved scenes into borders enlivening the design of the temple as a whole. The erotic scenes were frank and varied; I can’t imagine what the uptight Victorian Brits thought about them. I’m surprised they didn’t pull them down!
After taking a turn through the Archeological Museum and through the village of Khajuraho, it was time for my return flight to Delhi. Unfortunately there was a storm in Agra (a stopover on the way) so the flight was delayed. My colleague’s friend’s wife had sent a car to my hotel, and it was waiting for me when I returned. I hurried to get ready and left about 9:00 (for dinner!) but my hostess assured me that 9:00 was not at all late for dinner in India. In fact, there were 10 other guests and some arrived after I got there!
We were celebrating my hostess’ birthday. The guests were very animated—lots of talking at once! After drinks and hors d’oeuvres we had dinner about 10:30. We had a lovely meal of barbequed chicken, pasta with eggplant, two salads, and watermelon for dessert. What a lovely evening. I took some photos, which I will share with my colleague, as well as with my hostess.
Early the next morning I flew to Madras to visit some hospital people at the Apollo Hospital. The administrator/doctor wasn’t in but I had a nice meeting with his daughter, who also worked in administration in this hospital. After our visit her assistant made arrangements for me for an air-conditioned car and also made a booking for me at Fisherman’s Cove in Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram has some wonderful 7th and 8th century carvings. I enjoyed those and afterwards had a lovely dinner of whole lobster at Tina Blue View Restaurant. I also enjoyed a conversation with a young Indian man who is going around the world, after having earned his Ph.D in Mathmatics.
The next day I took one more look at Arjuna’s Penance and the other carvings in Mahabalipuram, then went for a ‘wade’ in the ocean (heavy currents), which was so warm—almost like bath water. Then I took a dip in the pool, which was even warmer.
After shopping for caftans for my high school friends, I returned to Madras and got ready to receive my guests. My colleague that I have mentioned earlier is from India and I had made arrangements to receive his parents in my hotel suite. They arrived, driven by my colleague’s cousin. They were lovely people; the father is a university professor. The mother was dressed in a most beautiful silk sari and was wearing several diamonds including two large ones on either side of her nose. They brought me a lovely gift of a brass plate and two silk scarves. The visit was so much fun, although they did say they missed their (only) son, a lot.
Then it was time to go home. I had a last idli for breakfast, and took off for Singapore, where everything worked so well—what a treat! I finished reading the book, “A Princess Remembers” by Nyarti Devi who was married to the Maharaja of Jaipur and once entertained Jackie Kennedy. There was a picture of them riding on an elephant.
And soon I was home. Until next time—