RIDING THE FLYING HORSE
Chapter 1 The Color Red
Chapter 2 My Sunday School Teacher
Chapter 3 The Great Wall of China
Chapter 4 Bangkok My brush with Death
Chapter 5 England
Chapter 6 Houston Texas
Chapter 7 San Antonio
Chapter 8 San Francisco
Chapter 8 Flying to New York
Chapter 10 Our Mission Fathers
Chapter 11 Portugal in India
Chapter 12 Dubai
Chapter 13 Holy Land
[email protected] lal 2014
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Copyright ©jyotsnalal ; First edition 2014
THE COLOR RED
I was born on a puranmasi or full moon day in the month of march.The month of march is dedicated to the fiery roman god Mars,who hails the coming of spring with his hammer by sending thunder storms. According to the Hindu calender ,the festival “ HOLI” falls on a full moon in the month of march . In India this festival marks the end of winter ,the air loses its nip The mists fade and the sky is beautifully blue again. As a sanskrit poet says ,the days that lay curled up , now stretch their limbs bit by bit .
It is a time for all fun lovers , it’s an invitation to friend and strangers alike to enjoy themselves. Red or gulal is the base color,but the pinks ,blues and yellow are great hits.On this day,young and old play with colors ,squirting it on each other ,rubbing it on their faces ,amidst much laughter and protest.
Faces take on the look of a multicolored canvas ,clothes look as though dyed in a dozen colors. Added to this air of gaiety ,a constant stream of jokes ,pranks , donkey rides and Moorkha Sammelans: a gathering where a group of poets read out their funnypoems and satire in front of an audience.Many stories are told tongue in cheek ,jokes are cracked at the expence of the audience.
I was born amidst such color and gaiety .I often attribute the artistic streak in me to the colors that surround the hour of my birth According to the pundits or hindu scribes, it is a very auspicious day ,the gods smile on the child born on this day.
My name “ JYOTSNA” ( pronounced – Jo-t’-s-na) a sanskrit word meaning full moon or bathed with moonlight ,proved to be a happy coincidence .The name was given by maternal grand-mother Mrs E.P .Richards simply because she thought it was a beautiful name.
My father’s name is Austin Lal ,Mr Lal is as common in India as Mr Green or Brown in england.The word “ lal” in hindi means red or the base color gulal . It is by rather strange co-incidence that my name Jyotsna-full moon, Lal-red or gulal, agree to my hour of birth.
Red is the color of blood which flows down from the cross , the precious blood of our saviour Jesus Christ , O’ precious is the Flow ,That makes us white as snow..
the blood of Jesus cancels out our sin debt and assigns us a new creation identity—the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21). This act of bloodshed will be celebrated throughout all eternity. The song of heaven is the song of the Lamb (Rev. 5:11-13). He will emerge as the conquering King and prevailing Lion of Judah (Rev. 5:5). Jesus eternally wears the victor’s crown.
I will begin my diary is with this story . My great grand father Reverend George Martin Richards was a colleaque Reverend Parker an American stationed in north India Together they use to preach the gospel in the villages Sometimes on horseback ,cycles later go by jeeps ,pitching their tent in the fields near the villages One night they saw a man hiding in the shadows of the tent
“Come out or we will shoot you “ Rev Richards warned A tall ,handsome young man came out of the darknes and fell at their feet ,begging for protection
“Who are you?”asked Rev Parker .
“I’m Phul Singh the Daciot I want to become a Christian and surrender my life .Please convert me “
‘If you are telling lies ! you’ll be sentenced to death ,as there is a ransom on your head “ warned Rev Parker
“ No ! I’m telling the truth , I have heard the gospel I want to change my life”
Both the missionaries took the dacoit with them Rev Parker helped to get him pardoned from the British Government . Phul Singh [phulwa] became the shadow of Rev Parker ,staying in his house cooking for him in Etah . His son was Rev Chote Phul Singh a pastor of Mcgraw Memorial Church where my parents got married later his grandson Rev R.P .Singh followed in his footsteps .
Rev Robert Alter another american presybterian missionary whose mission field was
Fatehgarh and Etah was a colleague of my grandparents . later he became the headmaster of Woodstock school ,Mussoorie now Uttrakhand, his son is the writer Stephen Alter who has mentioned about Etah in his book ‘All the way to Heaven’.
The famous bollywood actor Tom Alter is the son of the elder Rev Alter also american presybterian missionary who lives In Landour near Mussoorie.
In the year 1964 My parents got married while grandmother Mrs Beaumont Richards was the medical nurse in Christian boys Agriculture college Etah,North India of course my Grandfather was working as a Teacher and warden there . he was lovingly called Papaji the house father while my granny was ‘mamaji’ ,she was a rather enterprising lady and kept poultry in the backyard
One summer night around 10 o’clock there was some commotion in the henhouse ,the hens were cackling with a peculiar note of fear, nervousness and panic .My granny hurried to the henhouse and opened the door something was sitting right near the and bit on her left hand .She went in the bedroom and told my grandfather ,he said it
must be a rat ,put some tincture iodine on it.Suddenly she lost balance and fell down .My grandpa panicked and rushed out to the hostel where senior boys sitting in the study. Immediately the boys rushed to the house, some of them ran to the principal Mr Watford’s house ,a group of boys ran to search the backyard and the hen house
One of my uncles father’s cousin was among the students studing at that hour .He recounts the moment they opened the door , saw a huge cobra sitting with its hood spread out ,waiting and hissing loudly .
A cornered cobra is as dangerous as a caged tiger lunging out at them ,it did not slink away but attacking them . The boys initially got scared and climbed on the wall to avoid it. Then some plucky ones clubbed it to death with their hockey sticks. [The cobra was preserved and kept in the biology lab I saw the Cobra when I had gone for X’mas vacation]
Meanwhile my granny was rushed to the hospital with a tourniquet arm and she was lucky as serum was available She survived and lived to an august of age of 90 years, died on 14 Nov 2001, 36 years later.
The locomotive has the history of the industrial revolution We regularly travel by train ,it has an unusual charm the choo choo !chug chug! and smoke spewing out of the chimney of the engine and sing song of the wheels on railtracks ‘one penny two penny ,one penny two penny’ the railways came with the british who created the railway network in India so that they could rule India better and transport the troops ,goods from port to inland.We were going to Fatehgarh ,my uncle was the locomotive engine driver . The six hour journey by passenger train was always boring stopping at every station ,slowing puffing through the green fields and mango grooves .The villages with women in their colorful saries the train had stopped at one the small station ,a express train was passing since there was only one track they had stopped the passenger train. Inspite of being a girl I have always been nosy .I wanted to peek in the locomotive engine ,my uncle allowed me to get in the engine . to see the boiler where the coal was put in by the trowel . I was looking at the various nobs and sticks .suddenly the guard got the signal of line clear the signal was up and the my uncle engine driver had started the engine, since the steps are very high and the engine was parked outside the platform so there was no time to jump out of engine and run to my compartment .I would say it was my luck that day I got a ride in the engine my uncle began stoking the fire and the engine moved forward. I enjoyed sitting on the wooden box inside watched the villages slipping past .my uncle asked me to pull a string wonders of wonders it was the whistle.I blew the whistle many times.
It was great fun and something I will never ever forget The next station came and the train stopped I got down and went to sit in my seat in the compartment.
We often traveled to Etah by train by changing at Tundla junction.taking the loopline.
I spent all my Christmas holidays with grandparents in Etah , their use to be a garden swing inside the compound , I use to ride the bicycle and go visiting all the faculty members of college . Those days people use to go deer hunting as sport there use to be many kinds of deer [black buck] and antelopes [ blue bull] ravaging the crops and had to be eliminated by the farmers.
In the land of lycia , chimera a fire-breathing animal with a lion’s head, a goat’s body,and a tail in the form of a snake; hence any apparent hybrid of two or more creatures. The chimera was killed by the hero Bellerophon on the winged horse Pegasus. Bellerophon a victim of slander who was sent against the monstrous chimera, which he killed with the help of his winged horse Pegasus. After further trials, he ended his life as a beggar.
When I read this Greek story as child I went to my daddy and asked for the winged horse My daddy said “Your education is your dowry my daughter and your career Pegasus the winged horse which will take you places.’’ He had taken me to the Indian institute of technology airfield which had a flying club . He had shown me the small two sitter planes and gliders called them the modern flying horse, I would watch them from our terrace and wished I could fly around .
One winter day a MIG landed on the IIT airfield , may be it had visited the aeronautical department ,it was my holiday and I was reading on the terrace , it took off and did several somersaults ,dives and then flew off in the distant sky.
Another incident , I was only 3 years when my parents came to work in the industrial town of Cawnpore they were newly and with little experience of life in a city with a toddler they faced many hardships one of them the difficulty in finding a suitable place to live It was almost like a miracle when they heard through some one about a gentleman by the name of Mr Yogi who wished to sublet his flat,they went to see it and liked it The flat was on the first floor of a three storied building ,the rent and other formalities were duly completed They shifted into the flat.
My parents became busy with their daily routine they went to work early in the morning ,leave me at the kindergarden and come back late in the afternoon.Evenings were usually spent out and night would bring sweet slumber to the tired little family
Every morning the kitchen articles would be found strewn on the floor but were unnoticed by the unsuspecting occupants,who thought it to be the mischief of rats
My parents found living in the flat according to their liking The neighbourhood was good and Mr Yogi rarely stayed home at night and would also spent his spare time away from the flat
One Saturday afternoon ,our next door neighbour Mrs Yusuf dropped in for a chat mom offered her as they sat talking over their teacups Mrs Yusuf expressed her surprise that my parents had rented this flat
Mr yogi’s wife had committed suicide in the room we had rented A discord had arisen between thehusband and his wife The wife had poured kerosene oil over herself and put a match to it .She had wanted to prove that her husband had tried to kill her but sh died in process .The incident had occurred some 6 months ago ,now the flat was haunted by the spirite of the dead woman.
Both my parents declared that they did not believe in ghosts or haunted houses [it was the only sensible way out when you are new in town and apartments are difficult to find]Now that the story was out ,the forces of evil became stronger .The nights were often filled with sounds of footsteps , things falling and newspaper being torn. Yet they were not frightened ,they would simply getup and switch on the lights believing such forces fear light and would able to sleep peacefully the whole night
They were always surprised to see in the morning that things that were breakable never thrown down ,only articles like teacosy ,saucepan and coverlets were strewn on the floor ,and the newspaper would be torn in equal strips
Soon they became used to the whole affair ,but family suffered on account of the unclean presence ,one of the three would always be sick
One day they happened to talk about it to their church pastor ,he was surprised to hear about this and promised to pray for them The week he dropped in at our flat to pray and held a small prayer meeting where all present prayed to clean our home of the evil presence .And from that day onwards ,never again the ghost of Mrs Yogi came to disturb us .Ofcourse she continued to prowl in Mr Yogi’s portion of the flat
My mother tells me that her restless soul was in the apartment but it seemed an invisible wall of fire had been built around our rooms Earlier the poor ghost nevered harmed us or damaged anything After some time Mr Yogi decided to marry again And my father started looking for another flat.
We were still living in the flat when Mr Yogi got married Hindu marriages take place in the night only the men go in the bridgegrooms marriage party ,my father accompanied Mr Yogi My mother was alone in the flat she recalls the sounds of boxes being thrown around ,crockery being broken , banging on the walls could be distinctly heard from Mr Yogi. The racket got worse around 1a.m the time coincided with the marriage ceremony. Soon after the wedding we moved to another flat.
MY SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER
My sunday school teacher Mrs Esther Fiol wife of .Rev Frank Fiol american presybterian missionary to Kanpur I was very regular to Sunday school she loved me as I was only seven years old and fluent in English always chatting comfortably with her. The Fiols spent their entire life in India ,Woodstock school Mussorie,Faith academy in Delhi and bible seminary in Dehradun were under their administration.
In the 1970-80 era , My parents were both teachers ,we were poor but well respected In the Indian society teachers are highly respected as they considered role model for the society , the torch bearers and fountain of knowledge.
I’m the only child which is highly unusual for hindu and muslim both give more importance to sons ,daughters are generally a burden because they have to be married off and a dowry has to be arranged for them. Hindu parents give birth as many as six daughters in their hope of a son who will give them moksha[salvation] after their death because he will set fire to their funeral byre. Inspite of that my parents have only one child “me’,they were my first and best teachers.I was fluent in English as they use to talk to me in English only and they would bring English storybooks from their school libraries for me to read, as time progressed I became a bookworm ,almost setting the house on fire one day since I was so engrossed in reading a storybook. Hindu mythology always confused me , my class three hindi teacher Mrs Maya Ariel wife of Pastor Ariel read out my hindi essay , I written on the bonfire of Holi festival, Holika the demoness sat with baby God Krishna in her lap . It was Prahlad another god, so many Gods so much confusion.
Early in life , I became aware of the meaning of rich and poor , I was studing in St Mary’s convent a expensive private school where only the rich people sent their children. The teachers often played favourite whereas Aunty Esther Fiol loved me for my talents.
At an early age , my parents discovered my drawng and painting talent. I won the first prize in an art competition , but my principal Sister Eugenia did not announce it in the morning assembly as the common practice , she simply said she forgot.
Realizing I’m a girl child but I decided I will step forward and do what is best for my family.I decided to become the bread earner and support my parents in their old age like a son , I honour and salute my parents who are simple teachers.
Aunty Esther Fiol died at the grand age of hundred in USA, I had a proud moment when I spoke about my relationship with her during her memorial service in August 2013 in the presence of her son Dr David Fiol.
As a child I use to see a peacock sitting on a tree outside my window.It is not an uncommon sight , they were as numerous ,as the trees here on the campus.Yet when I saw one , I paused in what ever I was doing whether rushing to catch a bus or simply taking a walk .The rich display of colours in its plumage brought out the artist in me .I always gazed asounded at the handiwork of god the mighty and awesome artist .The combination of colours , how they complement each other .The gorgeous blues and greens on the male peacock’s back seem to be determined to out do each-other in their brilliant hues .The peacock has the elegant neck of a swan , on th top of its head is a tiara giving it an regal air.It is undoubtly the prince of the indian fields and forest glades . On the campus , it still roams like a proud lord in his domains. John Ruskin wrote ,Remember that the most beautiful things in the are most useless ; Peacocks and Lilies for example .If it were not for flowers and birds, the world would have been a deary place and hungry one too.From the flowers come fruits and seeds .Birds play a play an important role in this process of pollination .Well everyone is entitled to his opinion even John Ruskin ,but in response to his words ,I would quote another writer Edward Gibbon who says ,Beauty is an outward gift seldom despised ,except by those to whom it has been refused .On the other side of our flat was a groove of sheesham trees , a favourite haunt of several male peacocks and their peahens .The male peacock has a brilliant plumage and its call is both raucous and sweet while the peahens colours are drab and its voice makes one often wonder how can a sound so ugly come out of so slender a throat . A male peacock in dance looks like a blooming daisy ,with its tail opening out like a circular fan around it,when the peacock shakes its tail the swinshing sound to me like tiny bells .A dancing peacock is a common sight on a summer evening yet he always gets a second glance maybe that makes him vain .Many a times ,two males can be seen dancing opposite one another .Haughty competitors for the appulause. A full grown peacock frequently danced on our terrace ,he was quite happy to dance alone.A peacock doe not need the presence of a peahen to incite him to dance .I saw some young males not yet full grown about the sight of a large rooster following the suit of their senior.This promted me to think ,that like all accomplished dancers peacocks also needed to practice their steps in private .They stopped dancing ,when I went on the terrace and waited for me to move off before they started practicing again. For me it was a common sight on summer evenings. The male peacock who has inspired me to write about its beauty would fly down from the tree to sit on the terace of the our flat. Its plummage glinting in the setting,the greens and mauves catching the rays more vividly .The blue feathers of the neck have taken a darker hue unlike when seen in full Sunlight. The peacock was beautiful as well as friendly ,he gracefully pecked at the bread crumbs ,biscuits and Cake left overs offered by me. He waited for me each evening on the terrace on the way to his night Perch the sheesham groove .I think ,I would love to paint a peacock’s plummage in its varying shades and colours ,the brilliance of blues and greens.Where can I find a peacock patient enough to poise for its portrait . Incidently the peacock is indian national bird.All those who are voracious readers have always aspired to follow and imitate their favourite authors ,sometime in their lives have also nutured secret ambitions to become writers .I guess it is a important part of growing up to pen ones thoughts ; with it comes the realization that what cannot be put on paper and what cannot be read and shared with others is often worthless and immature . On a visit down the memory lane ,when one turns the leaves of tattered diaries ,reads faded ,old scrilblings ,often pave the path to healthy and mature thinking. Yet the longing of seeing ones’s name in print never lessens with age . My joy knew no bounds when I saw my published research papers ,These were papers were based on the work I done for my Ph.D thesis.Creativity is god’s gift to man and places him apart from other living creatures . It is a way of praising the master in encouraging the creative instinct in the younger generation.I went to youth camp held in Stanley Jones Ashram in the pictureque Sathtal of Kumaon foothills of Himalayas . I enjoyed immensely ,working and reading ,hiking and exploring the surrounding hills sometimes getting involved in group activities like collecting wood for campfire . We had a few competitions too I won a prize for for best essay topic was “ A christian Family ” which I dedicate to Mother Teresa What does the word ‘christian’ mean ? literally itmeans the followers of Christ , nut spiritually it means one puts Jesus before all, whose ideal is Jesus .One whose’s the shadow of Jesus Now the world ‘Family’ is a collective noun ,usually meaning a group of people of assorted ages living together . If we go in deeply it arises out of the word ‘familiar’ which means to know intimately or to be closely acquainted with . therefore, it is not just a just a group of people ,a group of total strangers. It is something more than that, these people know each other, not casually but are familiar with each others habits, nature and behaviour.Then a group of people of same ideas and thoughts make a family. A group of young friends make a family . No ! A family must have a mother and children and father figure.but it does’nt mean where there is a father ,a mother and some children ,a family comes into being .Yes ! These three types of people do make a family but only when there is some relationship between them and some kind of bond , bond of love and respect .You will say ‘don;t friends have the same feeling for each other and same bond among them A family is united by love it is encircled with care and concernThe family is a tree which canopies and protects the little birds nestling in its branches providing shade from the sun , relief from rain and also food to eat .Yes parents are benefactors and protectors while the children are propogators of the race like the little birds who kill parasitic insects and help in the dispersal of seeds .Now we have defined the words ‘christian and ‘family ‘ individually .let us now put them together and see what they become christian family meaning a family of believers who put the will of god before everything . But this little group of believers is different ,it has its unique features and characteristics.
This little group is a battalion of soldiers who move towards the same target ,following rigidly the orders of their commander. These are no ordinary soldeirs who are marching in time to kill and conquer but a battalion of peace corps who rush to a battle field to wave the flag of truce ,who fight to stop war ,who save flood victims and crying humanity .A christian family is like a boat ridig the high seas the family is the crew and captain is God ,he is the one in charge who stands at the steering wheel and sts the direction and the course He is loved ans feared and respected The crew lookup to him and obey him even the boat is storm ridden and there is little hope for survival .they work in cooperation and never doubt his judgement This ship is not a galleon of pirates a looter but has room for shipwrecked people and stowaways.In a nutshell a portion of kingdom of heaven where God rules.A young catholic girl in Albania Hungary ,decided dedicated her life to the church and came to live in a convent in India after becoming a Nun .She was not happy to teach english in the St Mary’s Convent School for girls in Darjeeling Later back in Calcutta was saddenned by poor starving people living in the slums of Calcutta ,children begging and the poor farmers pulling rickshaws in streets, dying of hunger and disease The nun requested to be transferred to a house outside the convent she gave up the nuns habit and adopted a white sari with a blue border . The house was called Nirmal Hirdey [ loving heart] The nuns who joined her were called “sisters of charity “ She gained recognition world wide for her service to suffering poor .She was awarded the nobel peace prize .The nun was the legendary Mother Theresa .Pandit Jawarhal Nehru had tears in his eyes at the award ceremony ,He commented that she took the peace prize like taking a sick child in her arms 1995 year She was admitted in the hospital with suffering heart .She gave up her post to Sister Nirmala , a nun from an affluent background who had given up physical comforts.The novel ‘ City of Joy ‘ has been written about her She said ‘taking care for the sick and suffering , for means washing the wounds of Jesus”
GREAT WALL OF CHINA
To Jyotsna , A Poem On Your Birthday ,
Your name brings to mind
A beauteous sight
The tranquil radiance
Of a moon-lit night
Your sweet nature
Will fill and surround
Bringing happiness and joy
In the lives of all around
Written By Dr. Swapan Dutta ,Professor in Deptt of Nuclear Physics
Indian.Institute of.Technology . Delhi ,India 11 March 1995
The first journey on the the flying horse is unforgettable . My dear daddy was no longer with me, Mummy agreed to accompany me on this trip.
Many friends advised us not to go to China ,but I was invited to present to two research papers in the 4 th PBAST Pacific Basin conference on adsorption science and Technology in Tianjin. I went to faculty members of IIT Kanpur for advice A lady professor had been to China ,she advised us to carry rice and cook in the microwave Another Leather exporter , said he carried packets of biryani with him and warmed it in the microwave.We decided to carry dry things biscuits and chips . Chinese cuisine will not suit our stomachs.
We were booked on AirIndia Boeing from Delhi to Tianjin China was a enigma to me . I was going to Peyang university in Tianjin to present research papers in 4 th PBAST Pacific Basin conference on adsorption science and Technology. I had read most of the novels of Pearl .S. Buck and seen the movie ‘The last emperor “ so I had expected to see small women in trailing robes ,with bound feet Men smoking opium pipes wearing round caps and headgears .Pearl was the daughter of Southern Presbyterian missionaries to China . Pearl Buck’s former residence at Nanjing University is now the Sai Zhenzhu Memorial House along the West Wall of the university’s north campus.
Jacky Chang is a popular hollywood star his movie Shanghai noon is an alltime favourite, I had seen many action movies based in HongKong . one of my favourites was the ‘Hidden Dragon and the crouching Tiger’I was eager to see the china portrayed in these movies. I was pleasantly surprised when I reached China.
Shangahai is a renowned international metropolis situated on the Yangtze river As usual AirIndia flight was late in Delhi , we started our journey on the wrong foot . We reached Shanghai pudong airport late and the next flight by Air china was in the morning . some miscalculation on the part of our agent We had to catch this connecting flight from the Hongqiao airport domestic airport. One interesting feature was that all the airport officials were young boys and girls in early twenties.
I was impressed to see modern China,the beautiful well planned city of Shanghai
There were two pretty girls at the taxi counter who spoke accented English and booked a huge land cruiser for two. Skyline comprised of the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Bund a dam on the Hwanpu river on the way to Hongqiao airport
Since it was already past 10 o’clock in the night ,the girls asked for lift . I agreed since I thought it would be safer , the driver dropped the girls at their hostel and reached us at the domestic airport which was deserted .China follows the rule no airtraffic in the night. Shanghai ,Bejing ,Tianjin The western attire and fashionable women was visible everywhere . Mao Zedong would inspire Chinese fashion with his own variant of the Zhongshan suit, which would be known to the west as Mao suit. Meanwhile, Sun Yat-sen’s widow, Soong Ching-ling, popularised the cheongsam or qipao which is long sleeveless shirt with a mandarin collar as the standard female dress these clothes are tailormade so expensive poor people where a samfu which ia a top and trousers . Students prefer tea shirts and jeans. At the same time, old practices such as footbinding, which had been viewed as backwards and unmodern by both the Chinese as well as Westerners, is forbidden. Something we Indians have to learn that clothes should be for comfort not a social bondage. We sat in the passengers lounge the entire night ,one Malaysian student was there with us. He chatted with me , another fan of Indian food and bollywood actors.
The satan was doing his best in breaking my spirite .After a boring and stressful night ,at the security checkpoint , our hand luggage was opened ,inside everything was covered in white powder , the lady who was checking our baggage ,mistook took it for some kind of drug. I was stumped and looked at my mummy and asked what it was she shook her head . I was asked to taste it , well it was salt , the packet had burst open due to air pressure .One thing I noticed the lady looked more relieved than the two of us . We boarded the Airchina flight it was a small aircraft each row consisted of only five seats we were seated with a Malaysia businessman and had just returned from Mumbai when airhostess served Chinese noodles with boiled pork ,we didnot eat it.He grinned and began extolling the virtues of Indian cusine ,naturally we were laughing but feeling very hungry for home cooking.
Three hour later the flight landed with light rain at Tianjin , I went to the help desk for directions , the young people there spoke broken English but arranged a taxi for me, they were accepting yuan only. Our taxi driver was very kind , he took quickly to the university gate.
The university gate we were stoped by the security guard , he just said , No in Chinese to everything .I had asked my fellow passengers to write in chinese that have to attend conference and to stay in the guesthouse showed him that chinese note actually since I was a foreigner so everything was negative.
I was stumped then I began asking the students walking in and out of the gate for help , some just smiled since they did not know English suddenly two pretty girls popped up actually angels in disquise ,one of them carried a bright pink mobile phone . she calledup the coordinator who was luckily at his residence. She gave the handset to me I informed him about my arrival. He instructed the gateman to allow my taxi to enter.
Well the second satanic attack had just been overcome.
Tianjin university has a huge sprawling campus as you enter there is a huge fountain facing the gate near it a large statute of girl reading a book which at banks of a huge artificial lake with a pagoda style pavilion , right opposite to the statute is the vice chancellor’s office on an elevated platform which you can enter on climbing a series of stairs.At the door are two huge porcelain vases about 9 ft with chinese motifs and design the architecture is Chinese pagoda style.
We reached the guest house finaly , the coordinator welcomed us .the room had two separate beds with a large television a refrigerator and microwave ,doorkey was digital.
I was not aware that china was so ahead in technology , Japanese electronic items are exported more around the world.I became a stauch fan after spending fifteen days in Tianjin.
Well that day we rested since flight schedule had worn us out. My mom was feeling depressed due to the course of events. I switched on the tv and surfed the channels , suddenly familiar face Sharukh Khan the bollywood superstar was there speaking in Chinese , the subtitle ‘ I’m here always’ my mother started laughing . Indeed God has unique ways of reminding us that he is there with us among strangers.
That night satan really tried to break my spirite , I slept fitfully ,in my dream someone kept saying you have brought a bible to China ,the secret police will come and arrest you.
I kept yelling in my dream that I’m a professor . The next morning I wokeup early drank tea we had brought,breakfast was a diasaster ,the colorful food cooked in pork lard smelled and there were boiled goose eggs with soyabean powder milk to drink. I tried to drink it but it tasted horrible .
Somehow we gobled up some eggs and the famous Chinese tea was missing , then we both went back to our room m mom took out the tea bags and milk pouches , biscuits and we missed the rice which the Indian lady had told us bring to China.
I decided go and interact with the students after all I was on an university visit. Behind the guesthouse I saw some students playing badminton ,so I made straight beeline for the building ,walked in through the door to find a reception desk with a lady there.
I smiled and introduced myself and said ,’I’m visiting from India . ‘
She smiled and waved towards a door and took me there ,another lady was there suddenly there was crowd of smiling people obviously no one knew English
Then two African young men arrived on the scene ,who knew English . I had actually entered the foreign students hostel.
Anway one of them Dr Omer who then was pursuing a Ph.D in environmental science , he was Christian student from Bene .He spoke good English , he took me around the campus on scooter .He came up to my room and met mom , ate some biscuits and drank indian tea .He realized our problem ,in the evening he went with to a American food outlet , which served some concotion of potatoes and tomatoes ,at least we knew what we were eating.
Dr Omer had a very nice room complete with a personal telephone and piano
I had bought a calling card ,through his telephone we called India and chatted with Parvinder a turbaned sikh my schoolmate who was like a brother. Parvinder was happy to know we were safe. We visited the St Joseph cathedral an historical monument in hepping commercial area, attended service in Tianjin Christian fellowship where you have to show your passport to prove foreign citizenship to Tianjin international fellowship.
In the evening I walked around the campus ,our guesthouse was facing the lake, the vice chabellors office and the gate was at the other end of the lake .
Many students came and sat there , everywhere students were going on bicyles
I went started talking with some girls , soon I was surrounded with girls and boys many couldnot speak English but wanted to learn . At the end I managed to make friends with some chinese girls. On the last day I made friends with Linfeng Yang who doing MBA well we stayed in touch by emails till she got married .
The next four days we ate goose eggs at breakfast and the potatoe dish I frequented the food outlet on the campus and managed to buy some buns. We had brought biscuits and chips from India .
Before 4 th PBAST Pacific Basin conference on Adsorption science and Technology.began , we shifted to the venue Tianju hotel and business centre . Hotel was majestic with a revolving door and uniformed bellhop . Food had been imported from Australia . My room was beautiful with porcelain toiletries .
The conference started with a bang.The keynote lecture was delivered by Dr Sanjay Bhatia , as the common practice after each lecture is teabreak so all the delegates were gathered outside the hall.
I simply walked upto Dr Bhatia and introduced myself. I told him, since he was the only Indian delegate apart from me ,I thought I should get aquainted. He smiled and asked me from which place in India .I said ,’Kanpur , I teach chemistry in Christ Church college .’ He laughed and said,‘I’m also from Kanpur , I studied in Methodist High School , one month in Christ church college later I joined Indian Institute of technology Kanpur for B.Tech.1972 .His father was an official of telecommunications [ telephone] , those days his office was in Wescott building which is a part of my college campus.
I told him that lived twentyfive years on IIT Kanpur campus because my mother worked there. Soon we went back in for another lecture after that we went for lunch, I brought mom down from the room and introduced her to Dr Bhatia. . Both together chatted about good old days in Kanpur. Dr Bhatia was representing Australia
Once again I realized that God plans are different, he wants the human race to intermingle and grow together . He has taken Indian scientists to all parts of the globe.
The great wall of China extends 5000 km wriggling like a gigantic dragon across north China it is a wonder in the history of architecture acomprehensive defence work It took 200 years to complete a symbol of the progressive nature of the Chinese people The wall is 5660 km long starting from Shngia pass to Jiaju pass to Bejjing ,Shanxi ,inner Mongolia Ningxia .
Tianjin is situated close to the wall , a sightseeing tour was arranged by the coordinator and we went to see it after the fourth session. We were able to see the wonder with our eyes
There was closing ceremony at a banquet in a fabulous restuarent ,we were taked in bus coaches to this place . Huge golden dragons adorned the doors ,red latterns were hanging from foyer and at the entrance everywhere. Fast moving elevators took us to the upper storey.The waitresses were dressed in red Chinese dress looked like kimono without sleeves.There was a violin recital by students and the conference was declared closed .
Bejjing duck was on the menu , the cutting and serving is a ceremony .A toast was raised for the coordinator . One of the dish was fish , a large fish boiled was placed on a platter was served ,you had to eat it with chopsticks , all the six people at the table from one fish. Anyway we never ate it since there were no forks. Still we enjoyed the banquet . The delegates were presented with a porcelain coffee mug .
One thing we missed was the Jin tower of Tianjin , situated in Hepping commercial area is one of the world’s tallest skyscraper ,78 floors, its inception began in 2006 and was inaugurated in 2010, global finance centre.
BANGKOK – MY BRUSH WITH DEATH
There was tour to Beijing to see the palace the next day we took return flight to Shanghai When we reached shaghai sometime in the evening , there was shuttle bus which took us straight to the international port.
The bus stopped right in front of the checkin counter , again bad luck ,the incoming Air India flight was late,we had to wait four hours. The flight took off at 12 O’ clock night for Bangkok , both of us were hungry we ate whatever was served and went off to sleep.
Early hours of the morning the aircraft landed.All the passengers were sleeping , many passengers got down . Fifteen days ago we had taken the same flight from delhi ,last time maintanence crew had come on to clean the interior. This time it was all quiet , we kept sleeping. At five o’clock ,all the passengers were asked to deplane.
On return flight to India from Shanghai2006, the Air India Boeing stops at Bangkok early 3 a.m for refuel while landing one of its tires burst almost capsizing the giant kite. but the Boeing landed safely and we were deplaned in Bangkok .A miracle had happened, air crash averted, the 336 passengers were saved.
We held each others hand tightly as we walked out of Bangkok Don Muang airport . Air India put all the India bound passengers in hotel Amari right opposite to Bangkok airport.there is a airconditioned bridge or flyover which connects it to the hotel. All the passengers were instructed to walk through this bridge.
Until we got a connecting flight We were put in a beautiful and luxurious room of Hotel Watergate Amari The foyer and lobby was unique there were indoor pools with lotus and water lily growing in them. In one of the halls , the interview of a some airline was in progress. About fifty young men and women were waiting in the lobby. Most of them wore business suits that’s the day I began appreciating western attire, they all looked very chic and smart . We were served a sumptuous breakfast in the dinning hall which had a vertical garden of tropical plants better known as a green wall.
Bangkok is a mixture of eastern mystique and western modernism . the pagoda stye architecture of the temples , the beautiful Thai girls dressed in sarongs and dresses . The gala sales in the shopping malls and the orchids displayed everywhere .Who can forget the floating market boats filled with fruits . Bangkok has many canals ,a part of old Siam I took visa after paying 500 baht so managed to do some sightseeing Siam , Wat Traimit temple of the golden Buddha statute origin is 13-14 th century when being moved to the present modern temple 1954 , a golden statue discovered under the plaster, which is the world’s largest gold figurine. We visited the Wat Pho the temple of the reclining Buddha which is 15m high ,this is the school of the famous thai massage and medicine We returned to Delhi by Thai airways since Airindia flight was cancelled. We enjoyed the flight ,the airhostess presented us orchids ,unfortunately I coulnot preserve the orchids as it was the month of may Delhi was very hot . Straight from Indira Gandhi airport we went to the railway station and boarded the shatabdhi express for Kanpur.
26 JUNE 1984 PIZZA IN KATHMANDU
I first tasted pizza in Kathmandu Nepal ofcourse didnot like it those days I was a college student I loved bananas and mango We took a night bus across the Indian border from Bhirganj and reached Kathmandu early morning .It had been a hot summer night so our clothes were rumpled and travelworn We three stood for almost an hour waiting for our relatives to come and collect us, the telegram never reached and our letters were delivered one month late ,those days the nepali postal service was rather slow. The taxi drivers looked disbelievingly when asked to go to Annapurna Hotel a place for ultra rich and famous .they were gesturing to each other ,‘They ! will go to Annapurna !’ the sarcasm was lost on three of us. Hotel meant just any hotel. We took a rickshaw to a near hotel and checked it .Later we searching for it Annapurna super deluxe luxury Hotel situated diagonally to the Narayanity royal palace on Raj path [ royal road] my dad’s cousin was working there, We did stay there in his flat inside the hotel , he was the manager of the Nirula’s icecream factory and was an employee of the hotel.
Kathmandu is beautiful with shopping malls and casinos,we were on a summer vacation I always was very eager to visit this mountain country ,because I had seen the popular hindi movie based on drug addiction and Hippie culture made by the filmstar DevaNand Nepal was a hindu country, churches and mosques cannot be constructed there. In Nepal is the Janakpur birthplace of queen Sita town .
The city is directly bounded by several other municipalities of the Kathmandu valley: south of the Bagmati by Lalitpur Sub-Metropolitan City (Patan) with which it today forms one urban area surrounded by a ring road, to the southwest by Kirtipur Municipality and to the east by Madyapur Thimi Municipality.
The southern Terai region is fertile and humid. Lumbini, the birthplace of God Gautama Buddha, is located in this region. Lumbini is one of the holiest places of the Buddhist religion; it contains important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimages dating from as early as the 3rd century
Swayambhunath ancient buddhist complex atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley, west of Kathmandu city. It is also known as the Monkey Temple as there are holy monkeys living in the north-west parts of the temple. The stupa has a vast, round, white dome of the stupa, like a full solid skirt,with Buddha’s eyes and eyebrows painted onit. Between them, the number one (in Devanagari script) is painted in the fashion of a nose. There are also shops, restaurants and hostels., we had to climb a straight stretch of 365 steps to reach the top of Swayambhunath hillWe were breathless and sweating as we stumbled up the last steep steps and practically fell upon the biggest vajra (thunder-bolt scepter) that I have ever seen. The vajra was in the courtyard at the top . we three climbed all the wayup , you can see entire Kathmandu city from there.
Hanuman Dhoka is a complex of structures with the Royal Palace of the Malla kings and also of the Shah dynasty in the Durbar Square of central Kathmandu, Nepal. It is spread over five acres. The Hanuman Dhoka Palace (Hanuman Dhoka Durbar in Nepali) gets its name from the stone image of Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god, that sits near the main entryway. ‘Dhoka’ means door in Nepali.Hanuman Dokha the old palace of the royal family now open to tourists Bhaktapur and Shaktipur is full of beautiful temples ,old palaces Golden gate and the pagoda architecture combines Chinese and tibetian style There is a beautiful statue of Garud the eagle the mount of the gods in Patan city the Khukhri a symbol of the Gurkha an nepalese clan which has place in the Indian army as gurkha regiment.it is a sharp edged dagger comes with highly intricate ornamentations on its handle and scabbard The Kathmandu valley is an open air museum where you can buy Thankas superb scroll paintings with religious motifs, bronze images of Budhha ,ivory Chinese figurines ,copper prayer wheels ans papier mache masks
Who would have thought that new Narayanity royal palace with huge garden around it where I use to walk everyday from Anapurna hotel ,around the corner was the SARC office with a beautiful garden , would be the site of the terrible massacre . Mystery surrounds the episode
We visited the only church in Wotu Tole in Kathmandu’ Church of Assumption’ Here I would like to add a bit of history here. After monarch Prithvi Narayan Shah’s conquest in 1769, the Capuchin fathers and 57 newly converted Newar Christians were exiled to Bettiah, India. Then till 1950, missionaries were disallowed in Nepal.In November 1950, during a political plot, the reigning King Tribhuvan, along with other royals, fled to India, leaving the young Prince Gyanendra present monarch as the only male member of the royal family in Nepal. He was brought back to the capital Kathmandu by the Prime Minister Mohan Shamsher, who had him declared King on 7 November 1950. Gyanendra was not only crowned but coins were issued in his name. The Rana Prime Minister provided a three hundred thousand rupee annual budget as expenditure for the KingAfter opposition to the hereditary rule of the Rana Prime Ministers from India, a deal was reached in January 1951, and his grandfather King Tribhuvan returned to Nepal and resumed the throne The actions of the Rana regime to depose his grandfather and place Gyanendra on the throne was not internationally recognized.King Gyanendra studied with his elder brother King Birendra in St. Joseph’s College, Darjeeling, India;
In 2001 According to a Palace inner member, Gyanendra killed King Birendra for the throne . prince Dipendra was angry with his parents and there was family disagreement regarding his marriage. One hour later, Dipendra returned to the party armed with an H&K MP5, a Franchi SPAS-12 and an M16 and fired a single shot into the ceiling before turning the gun on his father, The King Birendra who died including Queen mother Aishwaraya ,No one survived this disaster later the King’s younger brother was crowned. Seconds later, Dipendra shot one of his aunts. He then shot his uncle Dhirendra in the chest at point-blank range when he tried to stop Dipendra. During the shooting, Prince Paras suffered slight injuries and managed to save at least three royals, including two children, by pulling a sofa over them During the attack, Dipendra darted in and out of the room firing shots each time. and all the royal family and Later prince Dipendra committed suicide , by shooting himself . though he succumbed to his injuries after three days . King Gyanendra became king after the death of King Dipendra and King Birendra. A international press called the murder of nepali royalty a mystery About ten years later in a sensational move that added a new chapter to the stunning massacre of the royal family of Nepal in 2001, Nepal police on Thursday night arrested the man who had claimed 24 hours earlier that he was the mastermind. Tul Prasad Sherchan, a 59-year-old former student of the St Xavier’s School in Godavari, had claimed he was the head of the Royal Bureau of Intelligence manning covert operations. Sherchan claimed he had planned the elimination of King Birendra and his entire family in 1975 after the royal family did not heed his warning not to siphon off the funds that came from foreign donors. The placid Sherchan claimed he was in prison when the massacre took place and had told everyone in the jail on June 1, 2001 that the royal family would be wiped out by night. “Neither King Gyanendra nor India nor the CIA had a hand in the massacre,” he said. “I designed it and have video tapes to prove it.”
Sherchan told TNN that he had warned Prince Dhirendra, Birendra’s youngest brother, in London in 1973. However, the royal family ignored it was the ramblings of the mad man and he was compelled to do the deed to save the country. Sherchan created a furore when he announced his culpability at a media club. He was stopped by police in the Sundhara area of the capital and arrested, when he was returning home near midnight after an exclusive interview to TNN,
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