Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

En route to the Himalayas

No camera can actually capture the majestic grandeur of the Himalayas, but here are some pictures of the trip en route to our Himalayan destiny.
I cannot overstate the extent to which India is spending on its infrastructure. Roads, highways, environmental improvements to existing structures, bridges, waterways, energy and so much more.
Skilled and unskilled workers, women and men are hired; local people from villages get jobs fixing damaged roads and potholes in their regions. This is a nation on a mission to become the number one superpower, and while the ancient and the modern may appear to collide in the eyes of many Westerners, they also work side by side.
Although they know it will take time, India is preparing to gain and maintain its super stature for a very long time and unlike the US, believes the strength of supremacy and longevity of functioning in that role lies in how it cares for its people and families, as well as services that support commerce, culture and communication.
En route to the Himalayas, we saw fields owned by major farming interests that also provide work and goods for local villagers to buy and sell.
Monkeys are everywhere, though the breeds change with territories.
Animals - working and just hanging out - are part of the national fabric in cities and fields and on roadways.
Fathers doting on daughters is a popular advertising message. There are some groups in India who only want to have sons; for every 1,000 males in India, there are 750 females. This practice, along with the harassment and "bride burnings" (where brides are injured or killed because the bride's family does not pay enough dowry or falls behind on its payments) are increasingly unpopular. Equality of the genders is the future of India.
The tall white building is a mosque that Michael and I were permitted - in fact, invited and welcomed - to enter. Neither of us wore anything on our heads, nor were we asked to. Muslims at this Himalayan location are proud of their mosque and were happy to have Michael take photos of their prayer areas.
Remember me mentioning the ubiquitous satellite dish? Michael captured an image of a woman hand washing her clothes outside her abode, which sports the circular TV receiver!
We are now staying at the Bhimtal Country Inn, thanks to our host. It is a five-star resort; a place anyone would love to stay with all the amenities, with villages nearby and scenic drives everywhere one turns.
Our host is a multi-billionaire, once one of the wealthiest men in the world - he knows Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, etc. - but left that world to work solely in education, creating a number of schools and universities in India(among them the Rai Foundation School for Girls). As part of his life's mission, he identifies individuals and groups internationally whom he believes would benefit from visits to India and whom he wishes to support with a little r&r at places like Bhimtal to enhance our creativity.
He discovered me through Facebook, telling me he admired my writing, background and photographs, and extended me the invitation. I in turn invited Michael. When he asked me to speak at the Girl's School, I jumped at the opportunity and offered to conduct the workshops, meetings and sessions I felt would support their work.
Fortunately, he, the faculty, staff and girls have been delighted with my ideas and work, and appreciated Michael's willingness to take photos as well as show them how his first class cameras work!
I have to say, while I ordinarily take all the pictures for my blogs, it's been a relief to have Michael carry most of that load on this trip, giving me time to think, write, and get well! And he has been having the time of his life, with India's nonstop lens candy!
Meanwhile, here at Bhimtal, every night at dusk, hundreds upon hundreds of sparrows come inside the Country Inn main building for warmth, to sleep and during mating season build nests in the large ficus trees near the pool.
They create a huge ruckus when they fly inside, no doubt chatting about what they did all day, who they saw, the latest sparrow gossip; likewise at dawn they sing their little hearts out welcoming the new day as they prepare to leave for their activities outside. It is a haven for human and birds alike!

Photos by Michael Conner.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home