5 Jan 2012 - 01.30 am. At this unearthly hour I am waiting for Erika and Edward to land. My two students who are arriving from Seattle and will be with me for the next three months. It is often tough to get my time divided between them and my work. But it is always a joy to learn from them, because they come with fresh ideas, fresh blood and all too new view of India. After I waited for them in the reception hall for almost 40 minutes, I saw them emerging with another lady. I called them out, and I heard Erika telling the lady, "That's Puthumai!". The lady was looking at me, and then was almost turning to go towards the Pre-Paid Taxi Counter from where she can book a taxi for herself to go to wherever she wanted to go! I thought this lady is a co-traveler who was probably sitting next to Erika. Erika suddenly mumbled, "That's my Mom". I couldn't believe my ears. Erika's Mom came all the way to drop her in India? Hei, no kidding!
I greeted her and asked her where she wanted to go to. She mentioned a Five Star Hotel in the City. I told her we can drop her without any problem. And so, after little bit of persuasion, she agreed. The trip to the hotel was about 30 minutes, and she was so kind, amazingly simple, and was forthcoming with her views, opinions and about her own family. In the short span of 30 minutes, this lady had made a huge impression, that is hard to fade.
Footnote: She had come to Kolkata to be a volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity.