Friday, 18 April 2014

Sipping Chai and Snow Shoeing

Again, apologies, apologies! I am back in Boulder, Colorado after another long lapse of postings.

I won't make excuses. Suffice it to say that I have been working and enduring the long winter this year in this part of the world.

David has arrived for a 2 month visit to escape the South Indian heat. It must be a bit of a shock to him. I spent the past two summers in India and the heat was unbearable some days. Napping was a must because my brain wouldn't work after the temperature reached 95 degrees in the house and 107 outside. I am not a fan of Indian summers.

Tomorrow we leave for the snowy Colorado mountains to snow shoe and see the winter wonderland at 10,000 feet. I hope to be sipping chai and a cold micro brew at 10,000 feet. More to come.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Elvis the Great

It's hard to lose a beloved pet and even harder when you are 12,000 miles away. My Jack Russell terrier named Elvis died over the weekend in Boulder, Colorado. He was being looked after lovingly by my younger sister since I have been living in India, off and on, the past few years. Elvis was nearly 15 years old and had such a wonderful personality. He died of old age and will be sorely missed. Pets are such a great part of our lives but when they die, they leave such a sad void. RIP, Elvis!! We will miss you~

Monday, 10 February 2014

Return to Tiruvannamalai

Chalk design (kolam) outside of a neighbor's home in Tiruvannamalai
After eight months away, I am back at our home in Tiruvannamalai. The weather is pleasant, the rice fields are vibrantly green and our dogs are happy to see me. My new job is allowing me to telecommute this month from Tiru so although this is a working holiday, it is a painless way to work.

The good thing about traveling between the US and India while working is that I can take advantage of my jet lag and work in the wee small hours of the morning and be pretty much done with my work day when my husband, David, wakes up. The down side is falling asleep at 4 pm, but that will all straighten itself out in another few days.

It has taken me a few days to get back into the simple pace of life here. I was frantically trying to beat the latest snow storm out of Boulder about 10 days ago and doing errands in the sub-zero weather. That all seems like a distant memory now. It's 3 am in South India as I write this now, so more when I am on a better sleep schedule.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Sipping Chai in Boulder, CO ...still

Buddha and the orchid, my sunny patio, Boulder, CO
Apologies to readers for my long lapse in posting. For those of you who have been following my blog for the past two years, you may know that I am now working in my hometown of Boulder, CO (USA) after two years spent living and working in Chennai, South India, as a technical writer.

I am still employed as a technical writer at a high-tech company and doing some freelance work as well. I am planning a trip back to South India in February, if the Universe smiles on me. My new employer has offices in India so I hope to visit the offices in Chennai and Bangalore.

My husband, David the writer, is back in Tiruvannamalai for the winter months to work on some writing projects that involve translators in India. It will be a couple months till we are reunited. He keeps me posted on the happenings there and sends frequent photos of our home and the wildlife on the path to Skandashram.

Monkeys on the path to Skandhashram,
Tiruvannamalai, South India
He was in Boulder with me for nearly six weeks recently during which time we did lots of hiking...and eating! Thank goodness for Skype since that and email are our main avenues of communication.

David tells me that the rainfall amounts are still in deficit mode in South India although Tamil Nadu did receive a nice steady rain about a week ago due to a passing cyclone. (Deepam was a wet event but the flame could still be seen from atop Mt. Arunachala.) There is worry that this season's monsoons may fall far short of what is needed for a successful growing season.

Power cuts have been up to eight hours a day in Tiruvannamalai so our solar panels are proving to have been a great investment. I still continue to plug away at my book although working full time is definitely cutting into my free writing time. I am having to set realistic goals to avoid feeling like I am slipping on my self-imposed deadlines.

Our dog named Puppy, the porch wildlife,
Tiruvannamalai, South India
The dogs and cat that call our house home seem to be doing well. We lost one dog, named Winnie, to old age while I was in the USA. India is not an easy place to be a dog or cat but she had a long and happy life running around in the fields around our home.

Namaste~ And an early Happy Thanksgiving!

Climbing beans growing in front of our home
with Mt Arunachala in the background,
Tiruvannamalai, South India

Mt Arunachala though the coconut trees, Tiruvannamalai, South India

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Indian Government Clears Way for Visas on Arrival (VoA)

Cattle fair, Tamil Nadu
(photo by Geraldine Westrupp)
Great news for tourists to India this week from the Indian government. According to an article in the Times of India:

"India is set to roll out the red carpet for foreign tourists. The government on Monday cleared a slew of measures including extending visa on arrival (VoA) to 40 countries, establishing an online application system for visas and facilitating visa on arrival for pensioners and those attending conferences.

The decision means foreign tourists will be able to apply for an Indian visa from the comfort of their homes while citizens from 40 countries including the US, the UK, Germany, France, Brazil, Russia and China among others will avail visa on arrival when they land on Indian shores. The government has also agreed to extend visa on arrival to foreign travelers above 60 years of age from all countries and cut down the time taken to give visas to groups that are keen to attend conventions.
There has to be a change in mindset towards the way we treat foreign tourists. All representatives of government agreed on extending visa on arrival to 40 countries and initiating an online system as soon as possible," planning minister Rajeev Shukla said.
According to sources, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had also discussed the issue with top officials of ministries like tourism for relaxing visa norms for more countries.
In 2012, India received 6.58 million foreign tourists, up 4.3% over the previous year. India'sforeign exchange earnings in 2012 from tourists were $17.74 billion, showing an increase of 7.1% year-on-year. However, the last few months have seen a dollarless growth.
Times View
Making it easy for foreigners to visit India should be high on any government's agenda given the tourism industry's enormous potential to create jobs and earn foreign exchange, both of which are of critical importance at the moment. Tourism is the single largest employer worldwide and that's a big plus for a labour surplus economy such as ours. Tourist-friendly measures such as visa-on-arrival and online visa application should be extended to as many countries as possible. We hope that the impetus provided by Chiranjeevi continues even if he quits the Cabinet. While relaxing our restrictive visa regime is a good first step, much more needs to be done to attract visitors to India in terms of improving our soft and hard infrastructure."
Here's a link to the online article: