ready for a new look at india

Monday was my six month checkup with the cancer institute. No scans, just bloodwork and a consultation. So uneventful it didn’t even merit a pitcher of Margaritas.  Everything still looks good, so now Hubby and me have finally scheduled the visit to India that got interrupted last year by chemo and radiation. We’re scheduled to leave New York January 15 and return there February 12. For part of that trip we’ll be accompanied by the Pittsburgh friend who accompanied us to Utah’s southeastern canyons recently.

What I’m particularly looking forward to showing our friend on this, my second trip to Agra in northern India, is the legendary Taj Mahal. The last time I was there was in 1980 on a Tuesday in May, and would you believe it?! The reflecting pool, shown here in a photograph from Wikipedia, had been drained for cleaning. What are the odds? Since this trip will no doubt be my last–to the Taj Mahal at least–I’m driving Hubby crazy saying “we have to find out what days and how often they clean the reflecting pool.” He’s much more laid back than me and it wouldn’t bother him one whit if it happens again, but not me!

There’ll be other wonderful re-visits to forts and palaces and temples in Delhi, after which we’ll spend a few days in Goa where I’m hoping for at least one feast of seafood in a fabulous restaurant. After that we’re looking at a short houseboat journey in Kerala, to explore through its backwaters and watch beautiful sunsets and sunrise while somebody else drives, makes the beds, and cooks. Sounds like a pretty good way to work the stress kinks out of the body and soul. Then on to Kanayakumari, which is literally the bottom of India and bordered by the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.

I feel great in body and spirit, and there’s no sign yet of my rheumatoid arthritis (!). My oncologist tells me that it’s not uncommon for RA symptoms not to return for a long time, but that eventually–if I live long enough–symptoms will probably appear again eventually. That’s because one of the treatments used in the chemo-regimen chosen by my doctors, mega doses of Rituximab, is also used to treat RA. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy being in remission–of both cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. And get ready to explore India and visit as many of those relatives who were so supportive of both Hubby and me during the treatment.

A few months ago on one of my cleaning-out sprees, I found the calendar I had on my kitchen wall in 1980. I had forgotten that I’d posted daily notes on it about that trip–my very first to India. Where, who, what and little experiences I had. Travel really is broadening and that was just the beginning of a lifelong journey for me. So now that my Osher class is almost over (next week) I thought I’d spend a few posts to jot down a few of those experiences, so they’ll be fresh in my mind to compare with the new/old me looking forward to the upcoming trip which will be number five for me, or is it six? That ought to make the time go faster, huh?

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15 thoughts on “ready for a new look at india

  1. Smiling!
    I’m so very happy that you will be making the trip.
    And…
    Can’t wait for the photos!
    Thanks for sharing the good news on your checkup. More smiles!!

    • You do know that if I took 200-some-odd pictures of the Utah canyons in 3 days, that I’ll probably take 2000-some-odd on a nearly month-long trip to India, right? It’ll take me until spring to get all of them uploaded onto Flickr with background and titles! I’m looking forward to it! 🙂

  2. I would add Alice that a little yoga before you go might even make the trip even that much more Indian special. I’ve been thinking about all the benefits yoga has provided me but in traveling it is incomparable since my body sometimes feels as if it has congealed after all these years – yoga let’s you unbind in a wonderful way.

    I am so happy you are going and soon. I wait for my day there but will keep what you are going to describe as a starting itinerary for when I do go.

    • Rachel, you should consider one of these houseboat trips for your own visit in the future. One of the tours features Ayurvedic massage to “expel toxins and provide deep relaxation, helping all bodily systems of the body physically, plus relaxing the mind by removing energies that store tension and emotional problems plaguing our bodies.” Two things keep me from pursuing it. Not enough time–full program takes several days–and the worry about the food they may choose to serve me (or not) during treatment. I don’t think I could live on a totally Vegan diet for a week. I sure wouldn’t mind one of those hot-oil full-body massages though! I’ll be thinking of you while I’m there.

  3. My George says he would go back to India again, but what he had to say about Pakistan I won’t. I’m looking forward to your notes, and are you taking a laptop on which to keep your notes this time.

    Last cruise, I tried to upload while we were cruising, and it was very expensive. My friend Peter spends time off the ship uploading to his pages instead of playing tourist. This upcoming trip, I’ll make notes, upload photos daily, but make no effort to keep my blog up.

    You are going to have so much fun.

    • I haven’t decided about taking a laptop, but my first inclination is no. Seeing a country behind the lens of a camera is restrictive enough! (But well worth it on return!) We will be staying–toward the end of our journey–with family members, all of whom I believe have computers and internet service. I may just jump in as opportunities present themselves as and when possible. I would certainly be fun to keep a stream of consciousness diary on a daily basis. If only Santa would leave me one of those small computer laptops under the tree this year. On the other hand, a complete rest/break from computers would be nice also! And to think! The rare times my Grandma(s) went on a trip of any kind, they didn’t have to make decisions like these!!!! 😯 Ain’t life grand?

    • Oh, I forgot! To George…I only spent a few hours in Pakistan once, and I never care to go back! We weren’t allowed to de-plane, and with all the military present, I remember wanting very badly to get the hell out of that country ASAP! Even now I avoid trips to certain northern parts of India because of fear of being kidnapped. Who would pay ransom for an old lady with hardly any hair!? On the other side of that fear, I remember riding on a train to Agra with a band of Muslims we later saw playing music and praying in the Mosque. Later that same day, we returned to Delhi along with the same group.

  4. I am very happy for you, and I look forward to your reminiscences of your last trip and your reports from the next one. I’m particularly pleased about your RA. Amazing that you could get a bonus from so much suffering.

  5. I’m happy for you, as I’m from India I would suggest you some more better places you may consider visting out of witch Rajastan and Hyderabad which are considered to be providing good places for foriegners to visit. And if your in Hyderabad dont forget to taste some good Biryani and Hyderabadi Dishes you’ll love ’em.

    • Alas we don’t have the time this trip to go to Rajastan or Hyderabad. I remember with much fondness our trip there in 1993 or thereabouts. I always tell people it’s one of my most memorable trips to India. Strangely enough it remains in memory as one of the most memorably colorful destinations in India despite the fact it’s a desert, and I certainly hope to visit there again, hopefully in time for the camel festival. As for Biryani, I’ve had it many times and it is delicious. Thanks for the advice.

    • Almost as much fun as the travel is the anticipation that comes with the planning. I can hardly wait, as winter already started here the beginning of the week with a 6 or more inch snowfall in our yard. With any luck, we’ll miss out on a lot of the winter and looking forward to spring when we return.

  6. I don’t think I’ll ever make it to India so I shall live vicariously through your blog and pics. I wish you could send the smells and tastes of the foods too! Anticipation is the best part of a journey sometimes. love ya sue

    • Oh I’ve missed you Sue. If there was any way at all, the smells and tastes are things I’d like to impart in a travelogue, but the biggest challenge of all will be to try to capture the rhythms and cadences of the street scenes and train stations. It’s the thing I most look forward to. (seeing the family, too, of course. the nephews and nieces were still very young when I last saw them.)

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