The day I fell in love with India

Yes it’s true – I can tie this down to a single day – and it provides another of those ’30 years ago’ moments.

I’d been travelling – first time around – for nearly 3 months: in India, then Nepal, and now returning into India.

Here’s how things looked to that 22-year-old on 19 April 1982.

The bus from Kathmandu crossed several mountain ranges, the highest pass being at 2833 metres. I record throwing up, not 3 times, or 5 times, but 4 times, on the hairpin bends. The bus arrived in the Nepalese border town of Birgunj 9 hours later, where we hired a pony cart to take us over the border into the Indian border town of Raxaul.

It was hotter now – sweaty hot – than January and February, where I’d started my travels with a jacket.

As I headed out, I was struck by how – Indian – it all seemed:

  • A hot evening.
  • An orange sun setting.
  • Dusty roads.
  • Crickets and frogs chirping away.
  • A pall of smoke from a steam engine at the station.
  • A general air of passiveness.

And the Indians themselves, in their ‘anything goes’ clothing: rags, sheets and blankets; towels wrapped around necks or heads; and mouths red from Betel nut.

All pretty intoxicating !

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