Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Learn, teach and have fun at Munsiari

While I was in Munsiari earlier this year, Malika suggested designing a program for independent travelers who would like to do something beyond just tourism and explore the connection with the land and its people. Some of my friends are planning to go on such a trip. I have listed some activities that can be done at the place.

Learn from the community
  1. Farming
  2. Knitting
  3. Carpet making
  4. Cooking
  5. Singing and dancing
  6. Anything else one wishes to learn

Teach the community
  1. English
  2. Car driving
  3. Food processing
  4. Tailoring and designing
  5. Singing and dancing
  6. Cooking
  7. Solar repairs
  8. Accounting/Finance
  9. Film making
  10. Anything else one wishes to teach

Apart from these, one could participate in local wedding parties and go on treks. Munsiari is the starting point for many treks in the Kumaon region of the Himalayas.

We shall be staying with families in the home stay program. 

We are looking at a 2 week program starting mid November. The charges are tentatively Rs. 700 per day including food at the homestay. Transport to the place is extra (Need to take a train from Delhi to Kathgodam and then a taxi to Munsiari @ Rs. 500)

If anyone would like to join in this adventure, let me know by mid September so we can book train tickets.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

What a year it has been!

--> The year gone by (August 2011 to August 2012) has been an exciting one. I am writing a short summary for my reference.

Went to Rameshwaram with parents, was amazed by the temple structure with all its fresh water wells. Also went to Dhanushkodi and experienced the vastness of the ocean. Developed cold feet, almost cancelled my Canada trip but eventually made it.
In Toronto, attended TEDx and TIFF. At b-school, met many people from many countries, was thrilled. Soon realized I was not meant to be doing assignments after assignments. Steve Jobs died. Got lost. A friend sent a link about Malika Virdi. Decided to get some real education back home for lesser fees.
Went to Montreal with a borrowed credit card and camera. Cycled in Montreal on a rented cycle. Walked on the cobbled streets of Quebec city. Came back to Toronto. Caught up with a friend from college after a decade. More assignments. Met some ordinary people. Met some amazing people. Made few friends for life. Volunteered at an urban farm and earned some vegetables.
Wandered on the streets of Toronto. Fell in love with the place. Watched a weirdo play in a cute little theatre. Was reminded of Ranga Shankara.
Learned to make Aloo Parantha and Groundnut chutney. Baked cakes with classmates who turned into friends. Went for swimming classes for the third time in my life.
Knew I was going to go back, but felt a sweet satisfaction in putting full effort into studies. Had a crush on one of my professors (coincidentally got a A- in his subject).
Saw Disney on Ice and felt like a child. Sang Christmas carols. Had a traditional Christmas dinner with an amazing family.
Visited friends on the other side of the Niagara. Renewed a friendship. Painted a wardrobe at her home. Enjoyed a guided walking tour along the streets of New York, with a friend.
Got a sweet farewell from my desi classmates. Had a calm and relaxed journey back to Bangalore.
Prepared sandige with mom. Attended Mylara jaatre in North Karnataka with mom's family. Witnessed madness. Climbed a water tank to take pictures. Sent photographs to people I met at the fair (and they still keep in touch!).
Went to Haridwar and Rishikesh with parents. Was overwhelmed by the mighty Ganga. Went to the Taj Mahal and did not feel anything. Toured Jaipur and liked it. Toured Delhi and hated it. Parents went home and I continued onto Munsiari (and the rest, as they say, is history.) Found myself.
Decided to go back home. Left the details of the journey to chance. Met some dreamers and achievers on the way. Enjoyed the hospitality of a wonderful family in Nainital. Travelled in unreserved class along with a foreigner. Shared recipes of Ragi mudde and Dose in a crowded train.
Came back to Bangalore with mixed feelings. Back to my garden experiments. Appeared in an article in Sudha (Kannada) magazine and liked it. Looked after 3 puppies for a while. Went to aunt's place to take refuge from angry mom. Learned to make Rave unde and nippattu from uncle. Also got some lessons on cultivating land. Started writing in Kannada.

Now, looking forward to another eventful year ahead!