Wednesday, 21 September 2011

guests from a far-off land...

In the beginning was an email.

Alistair is taking a sabbatical ... and we are plotting and planning where we will go... our flight goes through Mumbai... a couple of days with you guys?

In the interim, the sabbatical has become a full-fledged tour - with a cricket hook. Our friends Alistair and Merryn Appleby - with their lovely lads Sam and Luke - are touring the world with a plastic cricket bat! They intend to wield the willow in at least 4 continents (the Americas are spared this time it seems) and are writing about their travels too: Around the World in 80 Wickets!

We had been looking forward to their visit for months - and as the day approached Enoch was wondering - what would the boys be like? He even had instructions for Asha to scope them out before he got back from his school and tell if they were 'nice' or 'bullies'.

The former. Very much so.

The four kids got together like a house on fire.

pic courtesy M. Appleby

From morning till night there were various games going - starting with the world-uniting Uno and then progressing to various other ones. The prince of games was an elaborate role-playing Lego world that the four created and sustained throughout the weekend the lads were with us!

We adults managed to squeeze in cups of tea and conversations. It is really amazing to see how Alistair and Merryn have structured their lives in the highlands of Scotland. Alistair serves as a GP doctor and also oversees the training and continuous medical education of junior doctors across the highlands. Merryn is a writer and teacher and organiser of the 7 month odessy that the family is on.

They asked us what we did to relax - and we looked blankly at each other.

But one thing we were able to do - have a little walk in the countryside. Once you step into the Sanjay Gandhi National Park - its like you are in a diferent country.

At the top you see this on one side:

And this on the other side:

If you were a butterfly fluttering by you would also have seen this scene: The Appleby and Eicher families enjoying a snack on the top!

It was like a mixture of Enid Blyton (the food and the appetites) and CS Lewis (the door to another world).

The slight drizzle added just the right zest (and delighted the younger lot who refused to wear their rain gear).

And made the going down all the more exciting!

But wait a minute - our friends were here for a cricket match weren't they?

Well - we found no flat spot on the top - and whatever land available was all overgrown with dense foliage - so we had to make do with a small clearing near the forest gate.

Need wickets? Improvise!

pic courtesy M. Appleby

Our guests were clearly seasoned cricketers - but we all made a lusty go at it - before the whistles of the park guards chased us (and the couples who frequent the park) out!

pic courtesy A. Appleby

Dinner was a treat by the Applebies - with dairy products being tested for their tensile properties!

The next day we worshipped at the home of Jolly and Suma Thomas - it was a goodbye to our dear friend Arvind Singh who is being posted in another city - and a kind of farewell to Thomas who is leaving batchelorhood this Saturday! A potluck lunch was dug into by one and all.

And then - oh too soon - we were saying good-bye to Alistair, Merryn, Sam and Luke!

Enoch was very blue the next day - saying that he 'wants more friends who have good imaginations'!

They left him with something to smile about though - a thrilling new lego set!

Farewell dear Applebys! May the wickets fall with joy wherever your feet tread on this journey!


  1. Enoch wants "friends who have good imaginations". That is so refreshing to hear! I remember his wonderful, vivid imagination from the last time I met him. EMFI Bangalore in 2005/6?? I hope and pray that school and life in general never squash that out of him!

  2. Thanks Deepa! Rumour has it (from good sources) that the next EMFI conference is in Chennai in 2012 - we should be coming with our two and their imaginations in tow!

  3. Wonderful write-up about a wonderful time, Andi. Thanks for such a blessed time with you all. We will never forget it and our boys have been missing Asha and Enoch heaps. We clearly don't measure up as playmates! Hugs to all.

  4. So GREAT to read the stories of my long-ago students! What fun you are having... it makes me homesick for Musoorie and wanting to run right out for some good Indian food!
    Dori Baunsgard, Woodstock Music/Choir teacher 1983-1987, now living in Seattle, WA

  5. Hello Dori!

    Great to hear from Great long-ago teachers too! I still remember: "Tenebrae facte sunt, dum crucifixicent, Jesum Judae, et circa horam nonam, exclamavit Jesu, voce magna, Deus meus..." and a number of the other songs from choir.

    - blessings to you in sunny Seattle!