Saturday, September 06, 2014

Nostalgic Travel to India

In yesterday's Budapest Times, (http://budapesttimes.hu/2014/09/05/the-travelling-times/) there is a fascinating story on returning to India after a long absence, and an accompanying story on what the country is like now.

Writer Christopher Maddock is an Englishman who joined the hippie trail as a young man in the 1970s, travelling overland to India and beyond. That was at a time when it was relatively easy to travel through Iran and Afghanistan, which is no longer true.

He writes of his shock on seeing his first dead body in Varanasi, and of subsisting on a very low budget with all the accompanying hardships. Today he finds much has changed, but that eternal India persists.

One difference he notes is the absence of snake charmers now. They were outlawed after a campaign by animal rights activists. I never associated India with animal rights, but then I guess in the land of the sacred cow it makes sense.

It would be valuable to read an account someone had written of a trip many years ago that was actually written at that time, compared to the account of a return visit. However, few of us keep such meticulous records--I certainly don't. I know someone, Montreal poet Stephen Morrissey, who claims to have recorded every day of his life since he was a child, but most of us are not that organised.

In any case, Maddock's stories are well worth reading. For some shorter posts I wrote about returning to Moscow after 37 years, you can refer back to posts for July 2013. I have since written a longer version of that story, which perhaps I will post here someday. That's the great thing about writing, you can keep changing and hopefully improving it.

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