Planning for India

Qatar-Air-4On November 11th I’ll take off from O’Hare airport in Chicago on a 13-hour Qatar Airlines flight to Doha. SAY WHAT????

This flight will be my first leg to my eventual destination, Bombay, where I am honored to attend the wedding of Dr. Mrinal Patnaik, Deb’s physician at the Mayo Clinic. While the three-day Hindu wedding is the main reason for the timing of this trip, this travel episode will include a presentation at Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies in Pune, exploring some Rotary projects in Gujarat, a short trip to Dubai, and visiting friends all over India.

Fortunately I’ve got trusted people to run the businesses and take care of maintenance, etc. while I’m away. One thing every Minnesotan knows is that each real estate property must be checked every day while you are gone in the winter. Even one day without heat will freeze and break the water pipes in a building causing thousands of dollars in damages. I’ve had this happen to me twice since moving to the Gopher state 38 years ago and believe me, it is never pleasant.

That being said, it has been about 8 years since I last traveled to Mother India and I do miss her. Formally “snake bitten” by India on my first trip there in 1997 I have never been able to shake the wonder, excitement, friendliness, and spirituality of this incredible place. India is an enigma. It has some of the poorest people on earth, yet they are much happier than you can imagine. Some of the most brilliant engineers, scientists, and computer experts in the world come from India, yet despite personal intelligence, collectively Indians can’t seem to do anything right. The British taught Indians about bureaucracy and the Indians perfected it to the point where virtually nothing gets done. Things are improving in India, but only s l o w l y…

If you think that material things buy happiness, India will show you how wrong you are. If you think that people can’t get along when packed together in a bus like sardines, Indians will show you how to enjoy that trip. If you’ve never been in a crowd of people so large that you think you’ll suffocate, India will accommodate you. On the other hand, you can sit in a remote Indian village and watch a sunset without being in the presence of a single soul.

I’ll blog each and every week from India and include some photos that I’ve taken. It should be a pleasant departure to my usual life in the upper Midwest! Meanwhile, I’ve got a zillion details to take care of before I leave. Accha Namaste

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