Monday, October 26, 2015

25th October: Day 5: Chilika Lake to Kharagpur

We left from Chilika quite early on Day 5, because we knew we had a long drive ahead. It was beautiful to drive along the lakeside in those early hours. We made only one great risk to life and limb, I chivalrously agreed to stretch over the water to pick a water lily for my lady love. There was an unexpected bonus. The children were delighted when I was also able to find for them an empty, yet completely intact shell of a snail. They spent a little time over the next hour, drawing these wonders in their nature study books.

This was also to be the day when Ashita left to complete her journey on her own. It had been an unexpected blessing to have her travel with us, but it was now time to drop her off at Bhubaneshwar. We had a delicious South Indian breakfast, idlis, dosas and uttapams, at an Andhra restaurant next door to the hotel in which she was going to stay.

The rest of the day passed like the ones before......
1. Tender Coconut water by the side of the road.
2. A picnic lunch by the side of a picturesque canal, where we were entertained by a couple of schoolkids and a toddler. These kids, returning from school, peeled off their uniforms, and jumped into the canal to cool off! They swam very well, back and forth, diving, splashing on each other. The toddler wanted to follow as well, stripping off his clothes and moving dangerously to the water's edge, but had to be held back by his grandfather.
Picnic by a canal
Off AH45 between Bhubaneshwar and Kharagpur
3. A cow with epistaxis.
4. And finally the border where we entered West Bengal.

That night, we were welcomed into a home on the IIT Kharagpur campus.

Christian hospitality continues to be something that amazes me. We have never met Prof Chacko Jacob and family, but they had been contacted by some mutual friends of ours, who had asked whether they could arrange some accommodation for us in Kharagpur. They did, and how!

Prof Chacko and his family were away in Kolkata, attending a UESI conference. However, they left their home keys with a student, and left their entire home available to us, with a detailed note containing information about everything so that we could be comfortable. He had also helped us find a home to stay the following night in Pakur, Jharkhand.

I ask myself if I would be willing to do this for guests whom I have never met, and who I do not know at all.......

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