Five hundred words could never capture the sounds, the flavor of its food, its rainbow of colors nor the uniqueness of its people.
In 1975, I received a 9-week Fulbright Fellowship to study the “History and Culture of India.” The trip took me from New Delhi, to Agra, to Varanasi, to Kolkata, to Chennia, and Mumbai with stops in between. This study and travel restructured my DNA. As group leaser of twenty Fulbright Fellows chosen from throughout the USA, we dashed from classrooms to city tours, to historical and cultural sites, to museums, to formal dinners, to unscheduled medical stops, to locating lost hotel keys and refereeing the ever-present personality clashes.
So, it was on a warm late afternoon in the Parliament Gardens in New Delhi that I met Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India. She was a commanding presence dressed in her sari and was a model grandmother.
With a wisp of home sickness, how could I not celebrate the 4th of July at our Embassy with hot dogs, cold colas, apple pie, and fireworks.
I wasn’t prepared for the silent splendor of the Taj Mahal in Agra. It quiets the soul where personal and world events vanish as if an early mist on the Ganges.
While in Kolkata, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mother Teresa at her orphanage. At a mere 5 feet tall, she had the presence of a 6’5” Green Bay tackle. She was the “Energizer Bunny” rushing here and there with the goal of saving children and meeting the needs of the community.
How best to see Mumbai? None better than a hotel view of the Queen’s necklace that borders the bay on the marine drive along the coast. It will dazzle your senses. The Towers of Silence on Malabar Hill speak to the depths of mortality.
And so, with wheels up, I left India with diary memories and tourist souvenirs. How would I have known that I would return to my adopted country three more times?
Dr. Brad Wideman – Fulbright to India 1975