Saturday, December 15, 2007

Saying good-bye to Hyderabad

I'm finally sorting through pictures from the last few weeks in Hyderabad and our travels in northern India. This particular set of pictures is difficult for me to post, as they bring back a wash of feelings that I've not really worked through yet. My half-year in India is already starting to attain a certain dream-like quality - did it really happen? And what now?

These first few pictures really belong with my posting about Dasara; they're from Katy's camera, and I didn't have them available earlier.

This next picture is Katy and Srinivas having lunch. They spent a lot of time together in the last week before I stopped working and tried out a number of places for lunch. Srinivas was especially amused/pleased that Katy was willing to try eating rice with her fingers.

A few days after this was taken we left for Hampi, which was a sort of training trip for our later travels to Agra and Jaipur. Upon return, we had dinner with Preethi's family, and Katy got a new mehndi.

Then it was off to Dehli and 5 days that I have yet to write about. When we got back to Hyderabad it was time to sift through the trappings of my stay and say my good-byes. We motored around on Anu's scooter quite a bit, which enabled me to see a sunset from the park at Durgam Cheruvu - something I'd never done before, because I never wanted to be out on my bike after dark.

We also took some pictures of the temple near my home - which, amazingly, I hadn't done in the 6 months I lived here.

On the morning of our last day it was finally time to deliver my bicycle to Anil. I was pretty choked up for most of the ride.

Our last day was crazy: we also had to return Anu's scooter, complete some last-minute shopping and pay off my final BSNL bill - which turned into an insanely complicated process. We left the house later than planned, dropped a final load of cruft on Anil, had a farewell dinner at Chutneys and drove, at last, to the airport. Parting from Srinivas was really hard. Dealing with our excess baggage wasn't as difficult (or expensive...) as I had feared, and we were soon chilling in the business-class departure lounge. Here are a few lines from my journal entry:

We're through check-in, passport control and security screening, and now it's just a matter of waiting. In about 2 hours I'm leaving India, for a long time.

The past month has been a blur. Since Katy's arrival my orderly routine has been shot to hell, and since I stopped working on the October 25th (or whenever it was) and started traveling, complete chaos has set in.

And so I left India much as I arrived - dazed and confused, and a bit fretful about what was to come.

20 hours or so later we were back in Boston and waiting for a taxi at the airport.

I'll try to get to the Agra/Jaipur pictures soon.

One last comment: it snowed here on Thursday (2 days ago), and as I sit here in my home office, looking out at a monochromatic Cambridge winter, I feel very adrift. My Hyderabad friends - I miss you.

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