Sunday, 25 January 2015


On the road less traveled, Kuldhara is not an often visited historical site.  Located 20 km from Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.  It is interesting nonetheless.  Kuldhara, established in 1291, was the largest village in the Paliwal Brahmin community.  There were 84 villages in all.    The Paliwal Brahmins were prosperous and known for their business and agricultural abilites. One night in 1825 all the people in Kuldhara and in the nearby 83 villages mysteriously vanished.  Why, after having prospered there for more than 5 centuries?

It is said that  Salim Singh, minister of Jaisalmer,  when visiting the village saw and demanded to marry the beautiful daughter of the Kuldhara village chief.  If the chief refused, there would be retribution.  Rather than allow the chief to force his daughter to marry, Kuldhara and the other 83 villages left in the dead of night.  Where, no one knows.  The ruins of these villages remain today untouched except for the slow destruction due to nature’s elements.  The locals believe that a curse was placed on the villages and thus, it remains uninhabited and untouched.


This morning I was feeling a bit inconvenienced as I was heating water on the gas cook top to take a bucket bath and wash my hair.  Then I remember the women I have seen carrying water on their heads home for the days use.
Could we have a hot water heater in the bathroom?  Yes, if we want to pay for the instillation in our rental home.  We plan to leave in a few weeks.  In Gujarat it is very hot most of the year and a hot water heater is not needed.  Now it is in the 80s F and the water tank on the rood does not heat up that much.

Today I am grateful for running water in my home and a gas cook top I can use to heat it instead of an open fire using cow chips for fuel.  LivingIndia does put things into perspective.

Monday, 12 January 2015


We are spending the winter in Bharuch Gujarat, population 150,000.  Bharuch is the oldest city in Gujarat and the second-oldest city in India. Her history goes back 8000 years.

We wound up here quite by accident.  After a month long tour of Rajasthan we planned to see a few ancient historical places in Gujarat and Maharashtra and then on to Goa for the winter.  Our route took us through Bharuch, home to Ram’s second sister’s grandchildren. Bharuch has the perfect winter weather and good infrastructure.  Here there are no rolling blackouts.  We were EXHAUSTED from our constant travel.  We found a nice furnished rental in the same complex that the family resides.  I am enjoying our stay and getting to know them.

It turns out that this area has very good medical care.  At my urging Ram had his hearing checked and purchased hearing aids.  Oh happy day, I no longer have to shout!  He also began having vision problems.  Our family arranged a visit to an excellent eye clinic.  Turns out, he has bilateral cataracts and a deteriorating retina in his left eye.  He had the cataracts removed via laser surgery.  His retina is being treated with eye drops and oral medication.  It should improve some and will not deteriorate any further. 

During his work up one of the doctors asked if I wanted to get rid of my eye glasses.  She said I am too old for Lasik but if I had developing cataracts, I could have the same surgery as Ram.   If I did not, she would not recommend it.  I never thought I would be happy with the news that I do in fact have developing cataracts, 1%.  My surgery is planned in a week or so.  After my surgery they say I will see better than I am able to see with my glasses.  I however will need glasses to read.  Sounds like a win win situation for me.  Right now I am dealing with Ram’s complicated eye drop regime.  His Doctor said that he uses oral and topical antibiotic regime that most doctors do not use just as an extra precaution.  I am glad that I will not have to wait until my cataract surgery becomes medically necessary under the insurance guidelines in the USA.  My doctor told me it is actually better to remove the cataract early on. The surgery is easier with less chance of complications.

The cost of Ram’s surgery was $800.00 per eye.  This includes all the diagnostic work up, medications, post-surgery eyewear and follow up doctor visits.  His hearing aids ran $500.00 for the pair.  He did choose the larger and less costly behind the ear hearing aid simply because it was easer to handle than the small in your ear type.  I do not know the cost of my surgery.  I have not had the complete work up yet.  That will determine the type of intraocular lenses I need and that will determine to cost of the surgery

I never cease to be amazed.  The Creator, God always puts us in the place that we need to be.  At the same time we meet the people we need to help us or that we need to help along our pathway.