Saturday, January 15, 2011

Recapturing Old Times

Christoph is back in Bombay after more than ten years. To all the newcomers who never met him (or should I say haven't yet met him - Christoph (or Chrissie as I like to call him to tease him) is the guy who helped to get the Basicindia network started way back in the late nineties, at a time when we hadn't even thought of giving it a name. We had met in Switzerland the year I went to study and stay with Samuel, and subsequently he visited India several times, often working with my dad's company, on the issue of conflict clarification (a useful process to learn and apply also in daily life). He held my hand during the many workshops we conducted together, enabling me later to start out on my own.

Over the years that he visited India, a small group of us began to come increasingly together, for sessions and workshops and today the family has really grown to several times its original size. We did workshops based on conflict clarification, on holotropic breathwork, and self awareness based on music and meditation.

Among some of the memories I have of Christoph and his wife Iga are of all of us in Goa, at Bogmalo, eating fish and chips in Agonda, chatting about all kinds of things, and sunning ourselves on the beach, in between workshops.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

In Her Grandfather's Footsteps

Beate, Michael and Mira posing their Fabindia wares
"Winter" in Bombay is a time for guests. Once the fierce heat subsides all over the country, people from north America or Europe tend to flock here to thaw out their chilled bones. Among those who recently visited was Mira, the partner of an old friend, Michael who lives in Switzerland. She and Michael along with a third friend, Beate, were here for a couple of days, looking Bombay, sniffing out its special air, taking the local train from VT to Mira Road (curiosity I suppose to see what a road with one's own name looks and feels like), getting a shave from a roadside barber (that was Michael), and going berserk at Fabindia.

Mira, who has just completed her studies in medicine in Switzerland, was the first to arrive, some time early in November, and she spent the first several weeks following the traces of her grandfather who had lived in India, (in Bombay) from 1910 to 1930. After a few days in Bombay and being shown around Bandra which is one of the areas he lived in, Mira took the train to Delhi and further north to places like Naini Tal and Almora which her grandfather had also visited. While in Bombay she read out snippets to us from the letters her granddad had written to his mother during the years spent here, describing all that he experienced. The effort that Mira's put into transferring his handwritten letters to the computer and compiling them into an informal booklet is quite amazing. For that matter so is the minute detail and attention with which Herr Lieberherr has described the places visited, the country that was his home for twenty years. Everything from the colour and texture of the Goan soil to the taste of the King of mangoes - the Alphonso - supposed to have been imported from Brazil a couple of centuries back.


Currently the three of them are in Andhra and after visiting a few more places expect to be back here towards the end of their trip around the third week of January.