I arrived in Delhi just after midnight on Thursday, October 28th, on a fully-packed Lufthansa flight. In my eagerness to GET THERE, I was one of the first off the plane and through immigration – and one of the last to receive my suitcase. So much for impatience.
Reliable Uday Tours was there to meet me, in the form of a man holding up a sign with my name on it, at the end of a long corridor of similar men holding similar signs. We stood outside and chit-chatted for a few minutes til the car (summoned by cellphone) arrived from the parking lot.
The drive to the Park hotel at Connaught Place seemed quick, maybe 40 minutes. I got checked in, then barged in on Fiona, who was (understandably) sound asleep. In deference to the late hour and other hotel guests, we didn’t squeal, though we were meeting for the first time since graduation – 23 years. We talked for half an hour or so, I had a shower, and we both went to sleep til 5:30 am. We had to be ready for a 6 am car to the railway station to catch the Shatabdi to Dehra Dun.
Lots of broken image links to fix… when I have time. Meanwhile, you can see the full gallery here.
At the station we met Amy W. (’83, Lauri’s sister), and Sara A., who was travelling with us. The train was already packed with Woodstockers. Soon after we left Delhi, we learned that Tom Alter was in the next car with some of his family. I hadn’t got around to going down there to say hello when another visitor from that car appeared: Sunita, arrived for the reunion with her sister Vicky, Vicky’s daughers Shashi (’83?) and Nina (’85?), and Shashi’s two daughters.
I was completely floored (and delighted!) to see Sunita, having tried for so long to get in touch with her. She apparently didn’t know about the class reunion because my mail had not been reaching her, and was planning to stay in the bazaar with her family. (That plan soon changed.)
The five and a half hour train trip passed quickly in catching up with so many old friends. Upon arrival in Dehra Dun, we located a car that had been arranged for us by Sharon Seto. Sara called Yuti on her cellphone; a big gang of people had arrived the evening before with Sanjay (by bus), and were all eating at Tavern (for old times’ sake – someone later told us that the food was terrible). We decided to eat at the President Hotel in Dehra Dun; by the time we got to Mussoorie, the others would have finished lunch anyway.
After an excellent lunch of tandoori and other goodies, we piled back into our taxi (Sara, Fiona, Amy – stuck in the middle of the backseat with nothing to hold onto – and me) and headed up the hill. Mussoorie wasn’t much changed since my last visit (in 2002), except for some spiffy new railings along Tehri Road. They didn’t look strong enough to stop a vehicle going over the khud, though.
At the school gate we saw Rohit and his significant other, Susie (whom I recognized from photographs), and piled out to hug them. I managed to bash my head hard on the way out, raising a bruise that stayed with me all week; I had forgotten how low the doors are on Ambassadors. Then we piled back in and drove on to Hanifl Center (formerly Ashton Court), and got our luggage up to our dorm room about the time the rest of the gang was trickling in from the bazaar. Much squealing, hugging, and even tears ensued.
The bunch of people who had arrived with Sanjay Wednesday night spent the day visiting some old haunts in Mussoorie.