I am en route to Delhi, I know nothing of India but what my Indian friends tell me and they tell me I will love it. I am not a born traveller, I find enough to amuse me in Britain and this is my first excursion outside Europe for a couple of years.
My friend and partner in the Pension PlayPen, Andy Walker, changes time zones like his baby’s nappies but I feel as parochial as I have at any time in my adult life.
Stella, my partner has decided we will go tot India and that I will see the great sights with the help of the Maharaja’s train, on which I will be for most of the next ten days. While this may temper my appetite for pension blogging, I can imagine my fingers burning with the desire to share my experiences.
Already , as I watch my fellow Air India passengers prepare for the day ahead, I am surprised by the change. I think we are the only people in our section of the plan who aren’t Indian and we are definitely in “going home” mode!
We are staying at the Leila, which all the Indians say is the grandest of hotels, the English favour the Imperial, they tell me it is more authentic but I suspect they mean it reminds them of the Raj. This competition between nostalgia for the period of colonial rule and the excitement of India at last punching to its global weight, is something I want to explore
I know that much of India is still in poverty and I won’t see much of that. But I am interested in seeing Delhi and tapping into the well-spring of optimism my friends talk about, India doing it for itself.
The history is not mine, it is an Eastern history bound in different religions and different legends. Stella tells me snippets of her previous visit which give slim insights into the culture behind. I don’t want to immerse myself in it, it is not mine and I am hear as an observer!
You pay handsomely to observe, India may be cheap for the Indian but it is not for someone on a British passport, using the packages put together for our affluence. Never before have I paid to go business class, nor stayed in such swanky hotels. We have made brief excursions on the Orient Express (Stella is an Agatha Christie fan) but the prospect of a suite on the Maharajah Express beckons and I will grab it with both hands.
For the next ten days will be the holiday of my lifetime and I hope that you will share some of the wonder that I see through occasional non-pension postings!
My blog started over 8 years ago as a diary of my moods and of the events of my lt ife. In my first two years I had as many reads as I get in a month now! It is a good thing to have what you write read, but it’s a bad thing to bore, so you may wish to take a holiday from my blogging for a week or so, or you may want to come with me on our Indian odyssey.
The old Raj and the new India, my public school world against the new dynamic force of a self-determined India. And a country spread out in front of me, with that rich history and dynamic present. I cannot wait.
And now for those pensioners!
Andrew Young has exhorted me to write about pensions in India. I am now in Delhi and staying at the very posh Leila Palace Hotel.
To get here we had to brave the lane hopping highways. As I stared out of the taxi window I saw a big sign; it said “respect your elders, they are the rock on which our nation is built”.
Well Andy Young, perhaps that is how we solve the so-called generational crisis in the UK!