Monday 17th – Sunday 23rd of February, 2014
Unfortunately although soldiering on this week, we were all still getting over various levels of stomach upset. Although we had definitely acquired things before Delhi, it was fun to label it Delhi Belly. It was our first real bout of family illness since our episode in Vientiane. So for that, we had to be thankful.
Today we met up with a couch surfer, Akshay, who had contacted us a while back to meet up in Delhi. After a few hiccups we met at Cafe Coffee Day, near The Regal Complex, near Connaught Place. He was a friendly, well-traveled man and we enjoyed spending a few hours with him. We wandered over to a nearby park, where the boys played. Prunella stayed for the fun and a read of her latest book “Lolita in Tehran”, whilst Graham set off with Akshay to the impressive Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Sikh temple complex
Our Birthday Boy
Fifth birthday eve saw us wandering the toy, book and clothes shops of the nearby markets and Connaught circle. Graham enjoyed yet another cut-throat shave – something he will miss about India. Then late night wrapping and room decorating.
On the big morning, Felix awoke to balloons, streamers, party hats, masks and a birthday banner. Love notes were read out from friends and family, then the great birthday treasure hunt began. This was followed by the ripping of wrapping paper and some elated play. Next came the roof-top western-style breakfast.
A pause was then in order as the birthday boy felt a little under the weather. So over the evening and the next couple of days the rest of the birthday revelry was competed. This included surprises such as pizza at East Patel Nagar Market, a day at the Delhi Zoo, The Children’s Park (near the India Gate) and birthday cake at the Exotic Restaurant! Our other boys enjoyed the fun and even got non-birthday presents of Goosebumps books.
We have to pause here to consider our youngest son, Felix.
Over the last year we have been so proud of his many achievements and have seen him transform from a toddler to a true independent boy. We have seen him create strong bonds with his brothers and successfully overcome the frustrations of being the youngest. He has smoothly tackled the challenges of starting school and shown himself to be compassionate in his view of the world. On our travels he is the one that keeps us all buoyant with his deep affection, cheery countenance and peels of laughter. Where would we be without his hugs, courage and persistence to give anything a go. As parents we remember his journey from the moment we first knew of his existence till now, when we find it hard to believe how far he has come. Our love and our thanks to our Felix who has taught us so much and continues to give us such happiness.
My Little Man
My little man
You are growing
up so fast and I don’t
Share with me these
moments and let me
be a part of your
I will try not to
crowd you and let you
be the person you
choose to be.
Let me come along
for the ride and I will
watch you spread your
wings and fly.
– Patsy Gaut
The Run to Dehradun
We arranged last minute tatkal tickets for the train to Dehradun. So at 6.40am on day 180 of our tour, the train squealed out of New Delhi station. We already had an invitation from a couch surfer, Harry to stay with his family for the next couple of days and we looked forward to some peace, quiet and recuperation, away from the capital. On the deluxe Shatabdi Express service we enjoyed our AC chair experience with a non-veg meal, snacks and drinks. We gazed out the window and watched as the landscape changed from urban to green crops until suddenly, the mountains began to loom in the distance. The air took on a new freshness as we left the big smoke behind.
It was wonderful to be met by an enthusiastic Harry as we disembarked and helped with arranging an auto to his family home. On the way to his house we passed a political rally. Harry lives with his parents in a peaceful housing collective comprising of about 300 households with the quietest streets we have encountered in India. We were warmly welcomed by his parents and given a airy upstairs lovely room.
For the next couple of days we felt enveloped in the warmth of Harry’s family. They admired our boys, took us for walks to buy fruit, chatted over chai and treated us to their favourite street spring rolls. We went out to the Forest Research Instritute and ate lots of lovingly prepared home cooked meals. We are very grateful to them for the little oasis they provided to our travel weary family.
On our last day we boarded a bus to yet another adventure, our planned R&R stop – Mussoorie.