On the train, Monday, Aug. 20, 8:33 am (Sun. 8/19 8:03 pm)
Rural India is flashing by the train window, as we travel from Mumbai to Dharwad. We all slept well on the train, very well, so I’ll take some time to catch up.
We all slept hard and long Saturday night, our first good sleep in more than two days. My first sight Sunday morning was the large soccer field outside our window, transformed in the night from dirt to mud and puddles. Organized games were played all day long, with loud cheers several times in penalty kick situations.
In the morning, we took a taxi to a market area. It was more “upscale” than the areas we walked through the previous night. We split into two groups, and Tessa led ours to a great shop. A woman took Hayley and I to a counter, behind which were boxes and boxes of punjabis. She pulled out a large variety of colors for Hayley, and she proved to be an outstanding judge for the right size. Hayley chose 2 she liked, and I asked about smaller ones. “How many years?” she asked. “Five,” I said, and soon I had one picked out for Aubrey. She’ll love it for dress up…but I decided to look for a different type of gift for Talli.
Arun Massey met us at the Y when we returned. He was born in Northern India, and is serving as a Friends Missionary; he’s our contact for Dharwad. We rented one of the rooms for one more night so we would have a secure place for our luggage, and then had a leisurely lunch at a place called “Captain Cook’s.” Hayley chose not to sit by me, and that proved to be a wonderful thing-she talked and laughed with her table, Rachelle and Amanda and Beth and Kara and Josh.
We had great conversation at our table. I learned how Matt and Tessa met, heard more of Tessa’s experience in Kolkotta, they asked me a lot about Boise, and we had a good, long discussion about Newberg Friends.
Getting us and all our luggage (including 11 extra suitcases with gifts for the girls at Dharwad) from the Y to the train station was an adventure. Three crammed taxis, trunks and roof racks overflowing, brought us to the craziness of a major Indian train depot. Several of us quickly went to a restaurant for dinner, and to bring some back for the others. It’s a strange feeling to walk into a restaurant and have everyone go silent. 🙂
Hayley went to sleep quickly and well on the train, which was a gift. I told her before she went to sleep I was so proud to be her dad. “When we’re back home and you’re worried about something,” I said, “I’m just gonna smile and say, ‘Hey, you can do it! You crossed a street in Mumbai!'”
When I woke this morning and watched the sugar cane and corn fields pass by, with the occasional bright dots of yellow sunflowers, I wondered. It seems to me that life in rural India must be better than the shanty towns of Mumbai. I’ll have to ask Arun!
(Posted from Mumbai YMCA, Aug. 29)