KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
I named this journal entry "Pausing in Patna" because of our short stay here before taking the train to the foothills of the Himalayas. This is the first time we have been in Patna, Anil's home town in over eight years. Our last visit was in 1999 when we came with our children, Adia and Raj, to visit India and celebrate our upcoming 25th Wedding Anniversary. In the intervening years, we came to Kerala and Mumbai and then had the pleasure of receiving visits from Anil's brother Arun and his sister Manju in Canada. They each brought their spouses (Neena and Kamal respectively). During that period, we also met up with Anil's younger brother, Ajay and his wife Neeta in Thailand.
It was great to enter the Patna home after so many years, but it was a little bitter sweet because we felt the absence of Anil's parents, especially his mother as she used to live here with Arun and Neena. We have many fond memories of time spent in the apartment over the years. In the evening, Arun and Neena took us for a drive around the city, and we were delighted to see how modern Patna has become. Many of the modern conveniences that we have discovered in other cities are to be found here as well now.
Neena has just retired from teaching English at a Government Central School after thirty years. We asked Arun and Neena to come with us to Sikkim and Darjeeling as a way to celebrate her retirement. We learned that all government teachers are required to retire when they reach sixty years of age. Neena is not really ready to give up such a fulfilling career and is mulling over her many offers to teach at other schools in Patna.
Tonight, we board the train for a twelve-hour, overnight trip to Siliguri, at the foot of the Himalayas. Once we receive our permits, we will travel by road up into the mountains to Sikkim. We will spend a week touring the sights there before Arun and Neena return to Patna. At this point, we are planning to stay in the mountains longer and perhaps visit Darjeeling, Katmandu and/or Bhutan.