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Focus on a Family: Rao

It’s important for us to remember that Deer Park has now become a family of people from many different places. Anil Rao, with his gracious wife Shipra, is one example. Anil has supported our civic club in attending meetings, working on road clean-up, and providing useful advice on a number of issues. His report on a trip he made this year reminds us that there is a big world out there for us to visit. And look at some of those affordable prices:

“Hi . . . . I flew to Bangalore's new airport . . . . Met many of my relatives, including 95 year old uncle (living alone in a retirement community). Took an overnight sleeper train to Mangalore (12 hour journey, perhaps 250 miles for $5). Mangalore like other cities has a booming construction- roads, flyovers, huge hospitals, clinics, the city has 4 engineering colleges & 5 medical colleges. I gave an hour long lecture to 60 students & 10 faculty members- my overview of 20 different countries that I have visited so far! . . .

Spent 4 days in Miramar Residency . . . , $22/day. Us seniors get a 15% discount. The complex has beautiful gardens, a good restaurant that serves dinner in a garden setting with live music. One can get river & sea fish, including pomphret, coconut based curries with cold beer or wine for a very reasonable price (single digits most of the time & lunch under $5). . . . The pristine Mondwi river is used by 20 boats during night for dinner & music shows ($8). I also took a day long boat trip to a spice garden (each way boat journey was more than 2 hours, with a good lunch shrimp & chicken curries with rice, veg & fruits & bottle water- all for $14). . . .

I spent only a day in Bombay- met college friends & relatives. Next 3 days in Udaipur at a new hotel (Sangram Sadan $21/day) . . . . Watched an hour long folk dance show of Rajastan- one woman dances with 9 earthen pots on her head!

Took a night train to Jaipur (capital of Rajastan with broad streets & huge govt. buildings) . . . . Finally, I saw Taj & spent the last day in New Delhi . . . . Fifty years ago, I had a meal at the Kwality restaurant in Allahabad & this year visited its branch in New Delhi. As you can see, I am a sucker for the good old memories.

Lastly, many relatives, friends (usually ones who have never gone overseas) & total strangers in the trains asked if I missed India or preferred America? I had to disappoint them & tell them that even though I was born in India & spent 23 years in India, the next 43 were spent in USA & my pension comes from the US Govt., so naturally my loyalty is with USA. Best wishes