My last few days in India, and I have very mixed feelings about leaving. Of course, I’m anxious to get back to my family and my work. I know that, regardless of how I feel when leaving here, it has changed me – and may take years for me to fully integrate all I have learned and to emotionally, socially and intellectually resolve all of the contradictions I have witnessed here for myself. In this I know that I was immediately hit with the desire to bring Ben and the children here – it’s something every human being should be made to experience and feel. Not just being the minority here (and sometimes feeling like a tourist attraction), but smelling, feeling, tasting, living India. I’m also interested in returning some day to experience more of the rural India, and to visit additional urban areas as a basis for comparison to my experience in Hyderabad. The people of India have been overwhelmingly friendly and accommodating. It is clear in their interactions that they delight in working with not only their colleagues, but outsiders as well. This kind of hospitality I have never experienced – and could not easily be outdone!
This week we visited the Birla Archaeological Museum, Planetarium, the Birla Temple (Hindu) and took a boat ride to view the famous Buddha statue from the Hussain Sagar (Lake in the middle of the city). Last evening we had the opportunity to attend a cultural evening on campus, where an economics faculty member expertly played the sitar in a classical hindustani style, accompanied by a colleague on the tabla (drum). The music was moving, to say the least, and was also the most sensual music I’ve ever heard. It inspired me to write a poem…more on that later.
Yesterday, I also had the opportunity to be introduced to the entire library staff at the Univ. Of Hyderabad’s library. They are leaps and bounds ahead of us in terms of their digitization efforts. I was also fascinated to discover that the majority of librarians in India are male…..quite a turn from the profession dominated by women in the USA. The staff, following Indian tradition, was extremely welcoming and curious about how we do things at Briggs. We enjoyed conversing with them and comparing our infrastructure as well as services and materials.
I’m off to lunch at the Study India Program Library.