Thursday, June 9, 2011

Week 10

Mon. June 4 Lahore to Ludhiana
Miles 140
Up about 7 and managed to dodge the Morning Prayer meeting. Said goodbye to Mr & Mrs King and went to see the A.A. They were not able to tell us very much so we walked around the museum and then drove to the customs.
The girls had not gone through yet so we left a note for them. Drove to Amritzar and got wonderfully lost in a maze of back alleys, each just wide enough for the vehicle, but only just.
At least half of India’s teeming millions seemed to be in that area.
We gave up on the Golden Temple and drove on to Jullundur, where we had cold drinks in a shop owned by a Sikh who would not let us pay for them.
Got to Ludhiana about 7 and found the rest house. At first they told us it was full but then they relented and said we could share with an American called Jack Gillespie.
He let us shower, gave us tea & melon, and then took us out for a meal to the local Kwality restaurant, the best one in town, and the only one with air conditioning. He insisted that we go twice through the menu, which we did.
Jack was working for the Ford Foundation and his sole job in India was to see that the Foundation’s money did not go into too few pockets. We asked if there was any way we could repay some of his kindness.
As a pipe smoker, he was lamenting the fact that Swan Vesta matches were unobtainable. We just happened to have a whole carton of them. He was over the moon.
After our huge meal we slept like logs on the lawn. This had been a very good day.
There was a signpost in Lahore that bore the legend: London 6376 miles, it has taken us 9050. I do not think we took the shortest route.
Weather - hot & humid.

Tues. June 5 Ludhiana to Simla
Miles 174
While lying in our sleeping bags on the lawn, we were woken by a servant bearing 'bed tea'. This was followed by a full cooked English breakfast; our first since Istanbul. Said our goodbyes to Jack and headed off to Chandigar, where we turned left and made for the hills.
We started climbing almost immediately, the road twisting & turning the whole way. Got to Simla about 2 P.M. It was beautifully cool. All the Indians are walking around wearing sweaters.
Simla is a lovely place, situated on a ridge connecting two hills at an altitude of 7,000 ft. A typical English parish church dominates the scene. There was a religious carnival on when we arrived, celebrating the birthday of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion. 
Figure 3..4: Simla

Figure 3.5: Simla
In the evening we met Mr & Mrs Brij Mohan Nath, who have invited us to take tea with them tomorrow. “We are seeing these white skinned people having a bath by the roadside and we are thinking to ourselves what we can do to help them”. That is the invitation verbatim.
Weather - warm & sunny.

Figure 3.6: Simla

Wed. June 6 Simla
Miles 13
Up late and lay in the sun for most of the day. Cleaned out the land rover and sorted all our gear. There must have been half the Persian desert in the back!
Walked around town until 5.30 and then went to tea with Mr & Mrs Brij Mohan Nath, Central Power & Water Commission, (Power Wing), Simla-4, India. What a charming couple they are. A first-class tea of fruit, cakes, omelettes, and, of course, chapattis.
Figure 3.7: Mr & Mrs Brij Mohan Nath
When the meal was over we sat and talked over a wide range of subjects.
A friend of Brij, who practises palmistry, came in and we spent a very illuminating couple of hours having our palms read. Some very interesting things came out.
Apparently I am strong-willed, headstrong & make my own decisions. I am economic with small things & then foolishly generous with the large. He told of a broken affection & when I asked him when, he replied to the effect that it had already happened. He told me I was connected with engineering and machinery.

Prophecies made:
  • I will make my mark in engineering in my 28th yr.
  • Wear glasses by the time I am 32.
  • Become very rich on a/c of something I invent.
  • I will settle in the East and meet my future wife in my 28th yr.
  • Will return to U.K. in Nov. ‘62
  • Will meet his future wife after Oct.12.
  • Will not marry out of U.K.
  • Will change occupation at 28 & prosper
  • Will receive a govt award in a couple of years
We will see.

Thurs. June 7 Simla to Delhi
On the road again & off towards Delhi. The day grew hotter and hotter as we descended one of the twistiest roads I have ever seen.
At Ambala we were right down on the Indo-Gangetic Plain and it was HOT!. Arrived in Delhi at 4 P.M. and found the office of the high commissioner. After collecting our mail-I got 12 letters-we booked into the Y.M.C.A for 2 nights. 
Our organisation breaks down when we get to a big city and we get forced into accommodation that we have to pay for. However, the rest will do us good.
Had quite a fair sort of curry tonight.
Weather - hot & sunny.

Fri. June 8 Delhi
Spent the morning roaming around the arcades that surround Connaught Circus and bought some Siamese silver. Back to the Y.M for lunch and a short siesta.
About 4 we drove to the Museum of Modern Art where Dereck and I spent a happy hour browsing all-India art. One artist in particular impressed us, Amrita Sher Gill, and there was a whole room devoted to her work.
Wandered round the observatory, had tea, and then went out to the movies to see 'Around the World in Eighty Days'. This time we had chosen an English film, unlike the one we saw in Persia, in Farsi!
Weather - very hot and dusty. Typical pre-monsoon weather.

Sat. June 9 Delhi to just outside
Miles 21
Went along to see the girls in their temple and had a good look around it. Went to the U.K. High Commission to pick up mail and sat in the air-conditioned reading room for a while.  
Went looking for a parcel from Wendy but no joy. I am afraid that is a lost cause as we are about to move on.
Spent the afternoon looking round the Red Fort,very impressive too. Afterwards went to the National Sporting Club of India swimming pool. Back to the Y.M. and squeezed another meal out of them. The girls came round and we pushed off on the road to Agra. Jackie was quite ill.
Weather - very hot and dusty.

Sun. June 10 Delhi to Agra
Miles 146
Had tea brought across to us by the boss of a building site just opposite our roadside camping spot.
Jackie very ill this morning so I travelled with the other two girls while Jackie travelled in our vehicle which had a double hard top and was thus a bit cooler. Managed to get lost and finally met the others at Agra. We took Jackie to a nursing home. The doctor’s diagnosis was the same as mine; heat exhaustion and dehydration. She will be kept in for a couple of days.
The afternoon was so hot that we made a beeline for the Laurie’s Hotel swimming pool.
Figure 3.8: Laurie's hotel swimming pool

We happily splashed about until about 7.30, and then went to see the Taj Mahal. 

Figure 3.9: Taj Mahal
Figure 3.10: Taj Mahal

It is certainly not overrated. Seeing it as we did, by the light of a new moon, was a wonderful experience that I am sure none of us will forget.
Returned to our billet at St John’s College and spent a sleepless night. Temp: 117-120 F
Weather - very hot.

Taj Mahal
Built by the Moghul Emperor, Shah Jahan, as a tomb for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She died and was installed and Shah Jahan intended to build another tomb close by for himself, but before he could put this idea into practice he was locked up in the Agra Fort by his son, Aurangzeb, who kept him there until he died. On his death he was interred in the Taj, alongside his wife.
Seen by moonlight it is far and away one of the most beautiful building that I have ever seen.
The marble is all either richly carved or inlaid with coloured stones in intricate geometric patterns. It is a place I would never tire of seeing.