Monday, 29 April 2013



We have rented a two bedroom two bathroom cottage that hangs off the side of a mountain in Ghorachal.  Kamla continues to surprise us.  While we were still trying to figure out the logistics of the move itself, Kamila had already found a truck and extra men to help us.  I figured it would take a day Indian Time.  She said that we would have breakfast at the old cottage and lunch in the new cottage.  That is exactly what happened!  The truck arrived around 9 AM and was packed in 30 minutes.  Mind you we have no furniture.  Kamla and the truck left.  Ram, our dog and I followed by taxi, probably a fifteen minute drive at most.  When we arrived, we found the landlord and the cleaning crew finishing up.  Our landlord drove us to a shop back in Bhowali where we bought a mattress for our bed.  The store owner tied the mattress to the top of the car and we were off to the cottage again.  By the time we arrived back the truck was unloaded and Kamla had the kitchen put together and was fixing lunch. 

Stair to front door
Living Dining and Kitchen

Master Bedroom
Master Bedroom
Balcony off both Master Bedrooms

The water that is available to us here will require a water filter.  However a number of the local people walk to an unpolluted spring to get their drinking water.  Kamila insists that that is what she wants to do.   She wants us to get a large container so she can carry it on her head.  I think she is nuts.   The spring is about a half a mile away.  She says, “Why waste money?”  I’m thinking, how is this going to be practical during the monsoons?

Our cottage still needs a few things to make us more comfortable.  It came furnished with bedroom furniture, four patio chairs and a wobbly dining table with no chairs. That is more than I expected.  The water heater has not been hung in the master guest bathroom or the kitchen.  These things will work themselves out in Indian time.  Now I’m happy to be out of the ghetto as Ram describes our old cottage neighborhood.

Saturday, 27 April 2013



Kamla has been with us for a month and a half now.  I have had a chance to get to know her a little better.  She is a mountain girl born and raised in Ghorakhal near Bhowali.  Her marriage is what she calls a “love marriage", rather than an arranged marriage.  Her husband asked her to marry him.  She knew him by reputation and knew him to be a good man.  She asked her family to arrange the marriage. 

Kamla says her husband has had a rough life.  His parents died when he was five.  He was then raised by his grandparents who also died.  He was then sent to live with his Aunt who was mean to him.  He completed the fifth grade and has been working odd jobs to survive ever since.

Kamla loves her husband dearly.  When she was sick he carried her miles several times to the Doctor on his back.  She says not many husbands would do that.  We have had the opportunity to meet him.  He seems like a kind and decent man.  One can tell he cares very much for her also.

Kamla has three children, boys eight and ten and a daughter three and a half.  She is working to provide them an education and a better life.  In order to save money Kamla chooses to cook over a wood fire rather than spend money on gas.

In the short time Kamla has been with us, I have grown to care for her.  She is smart, resourceful and shows initiative.  She is always laughing.  It was Kamla that found the cottage we are going to rent.  While we were talking about how to manage the move she had already arranged for a pickup truck and help! I was astonished.

My husband and I both feel that Kamla will be a part of our lives for a long time.  While we cannot help all of India we can help one family.  We will help educate Kamla's children and help with other family expenses as well.  In short Kamla and her family are becoming a part of our family.  

Saturday, 13 April 2013


It’s funny how things take a turn when you least expect it.  We thought we had found the perfect long term rental in Dhanachuli.  However, the owner asked an exorbitant monthly rent, 100000 rupees or $1851.00 USD per month.  We decided to rethink living in that particular are for several reasons.  One- the area seems overpriced, two- the weather is quite cold and three- there are were no larger hill stations close by.  The cold would ordinarily be a problem for us, but in India homes are not built with insulation and there is no central heat.  We have found the space heaters do not work that well either.

Ram and I were becoming disillusioned with the area our cottage in Bhowali was located. When we first looked at the cottage all was quiet.  However the multistory apartment complex across the street consists of mostly 2-3 day rentals.  Families were arriving at all times during the night.  It did not suffice just to knock on the door to announce their arrival.  No one must honk the horn many times.  Then the loud reunion in the street begins followed by loud music. 

 Kamla mentioned she knew of a good place to rent.  Ram and I were skeptical but we decided to take a look.  Kamla arranged for us to meet with the owner of the cottage.  She was right.  We saw the cottage, immediately liked it and rented it on the spot after some negotiations with the owner.  The area is so peaceful and beautiful.   It is in Ghorachol near the Sainik School.  This is a residential military school for boys ages 10-18. Bhowali market is 4 kilometers or 2½ miles away.  Golu Devta temple, the temple where my prayers were answered and are still answered is a 10 minute walk through the Sainik school grounds from the cottage.  Best of all, Kamla’s will be able to continue to work for as her village is still within walking distance.

Balcony View
Balcony View

Wednesday, 3 April 2013


We returned to Golu Devta Temple to give thanks.  On our previous visit I prayed for a home to meet our needs and a long healthy life for my husband.  Immediately after leaving the temple we stopped for lunch at a hotel restaurant.  Ram mentioned we were looking for a house for rent.  We were taken across the street where we found our cottage to rent.  When a prayer is answered one hangs a bell giving thanks. This we did yesterday.                                                       
Ram placed our bell here

Golu Devta Temple

Afterwards we joined our son Jeevan in Dhanachuli.  He and four other doctors participated in a health camp.  This is a government sponsored program for the locals in the area that would otherwise not have access to health care.  Afterwards we had lunch. Lasting friendships were formed.  The couple on the left are from Manchester, England.  The visit India two or three times a year to participate in these camps.                                                                                               

During lunch we indicated we would be interested in renting a furnished cottage in this area.  It happened that there were cottages available.  We saw them after lunch.  One is very much to our liking.  It’s still under construction but will be available soon.  

This area is breathtakingly beautiful and exactly what we are looking for. Unfortunately the snow capped Himalayas are obscured by the clouds It seems our prayers continue to be answered. 
                                                                                                                                                  Published on
Himalaya view from the cottage we like
Valley view from the cottage we like 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013


Locally grown fresh vegetables

Locally grown fresh fruit

One of the things I really enjoy here in India is the vast amount of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.  We have been here for over three months nowIn that time I have had nothing canned or frozen.  I feel great and have a lot more energy.  My husband, Ram no longer experiences a burning sensation in his feet that plagued him in the United States.  We both have unintentionally lost some weight.  We attribute this to our GMO-Genetically Modified free and preservative free diet

I was devastated to know GMO seeds are in use here in India.  I am relieved to know our state, Uttarakhand, as well as New Delhi: Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, and Karnataka have banned the use of GMO seeds.

The use of Monsanto GMO seed has had a devastating effect on India’s farmers.  Monsanto promised higher crop yields with less cost to the farmer.  Even though the Monsanto seeds cost 1000 times more than traditional seeds, farmers were promised cost savings because with the use of Monsanto’s” magic seeds”, crops would be insect and parasite free. The Monsanto crops were not insect and parasite free.  Farmers were not told their crops would require twice the amount of water, a scarce commodity here in India.  Two years in a row their crops failed.  Monsanto refused to permit them to save and plant their own seeds for the next crop forcing them to buy Monsanto seeds again.  As a result over a 200,000 famers have taken their lives.  The surviving families cannot pay their debts and have lost their farms, homes and livelihoods. They are the poorest of the poor.

India is now suing Monsanto for biopiracy, the destruction of traditional crops with genetically modified crops.  It may take years to go through the courts, but it will be well worth it.  India’s food supply and the livelihood of her farmers are at stake.