I just got back from my visit to India to visit my son Narayan Singh who is in boarding school at Miri Piri Academy. I always find that traveling to India is like a quick whirlwind. I always think and plan to do so many things, but the reality is that you are lucky to do a few of the planned things. It’s a different pace than here in America!
I find that you can’t just go there and go on as if you were in a western country. There is a certain "survival" element while being there, not wanting to get sick. You have to make sure you drink bottled/filtered water and eat well cooked food so that you don’t get stomach "issues". Us westerners are not used to the India bacteria.
Then on top of that there is the more recent problem of pollution which only seems to be getting worse. When I got to Delhi I was reminded how bad it was! Everywhere I went in India there was always pollution thick in the air. I’m used to the beautiful clear skies of New Mexico which have no noticeable pollution, so to my "virgin" lungs the pollution of India is a shock!
The day I got to Delhi and went out I got a cold/sore throat. All it took was a few drives through the streets of Delhi. Traveling by vehicle in the always congested roads was no fun with all the car exhaust. It makes me really thankful that I live in a place that is clean. It’s unfortunate that so many Indians have to live in these condition as it will surely effect people’s health. I really wish the Government would come up with more regulations and methods to manage pollution. India has gotten so dirty. For me India doesn’t have the charm that I remember 25 years ago, before the hyper development stage of India and "modernization". India’s economic growth has come at a big expense.
On my arrival to India I spent a few days in New Delhi as a I waited for my son to meet me before we traveled to South India. On the same day I arrived I met up with a group of other Sikhs a Sikh Tweetup/Meetup of fellow twitter users and computer friends. It was great to meet some of the people that I interact with online virtually. We did some bani and then talked, ate and just hung out.
When my son arrived in Delhi we joined up with other friends and their kids, took a flight down south to Trivandrum, Kerala which is one of the furthest most points in India and along the beach of the Indian Ocean.We then drove to Kovalam beach which is one of the nice beaches in the area. About 20 years ago I went to Kovalam beach on my last year of high school in India with other students and it was just a small "sleepy" beach. It has since been much more developed but is still pretty nice. It has the small time feel that I think places like Goa might lack.
We stayed the whole week at Kovalam beach in a nice hotel on the beach called "Hotel Seaface" which overlooked the ocean. It was winter and cold in most other parts of the world, but in Trivandrum it was hot and humid (just right). Every day we would swim in the pool, boogie board and play in the warm ocean. It was SOO nice to be there and just "veg out" and relax. We didn’t go anywhere that week and just relaxed, ate, swam, played and watched cartoons on TV. Some of my friends got Ayurvedic treatments since it is a hot-spot for this type of thing in the south. It was cool watching the fishermen every morning for hours pulling in their nets from the ocean as they sang together.
After our week of relaxing on the beach we flew back to Delhi with the plans of getting a connecting flight to Amritsar but since the fog was really bad the flight was canceled and we took the same flight the next day. During the time I was in Amritsar there was almost always fog and it was unusually cold.
During my days in Amritsar I spent most of my time at Miri Piri Academy and being with Narayan. I was really impressed with how Miri Piri Academy has grown. The school is beautiful and the kids are really great. Every afternoon after school I had fun playing sports with the kids which was great. I wish I had a school like this when I was in boarding school 25 years ago in India.Whenever I see parents with kids I always try to encourage them to check out the school.
Often times other parents can’t believe I would send my kid away to boarding school. Generally people feel that having your kid in a school in America would be much better. My experience is that sending your child to MPA isn’t just about getting a good education, it’s so much more! The school has a great balance of typical school education with spiritual development which you would never get at home. It’s one of those things that is hard to explain. When you see the kids who go it is self evident. This year Jugat Guru Singh (Chardikala Jatha) took a much larger leadership role in the school as Co-principal and is doing a great job!
It was really nice seeing my son and how he had changed so much in the 4 months that he had been in India at MPA. It’s amazing how much he changed in just this short period of time. When I first saw him at the airport in Delhi running towards me it was like seeing a different kid that was much more grown up.
I’m back home and jet-lagged still recovering from the long journey home. You can take a short journey with me to see some of my vacation in India through some of the pictures and videos that I recorded. I carried my professional camera equipment all the way to India but didn’t use it. Instead I opted for the convenience of a portable camera and my iPhone.