Lucknow

It’s the day before we leave and I can’t think of non-cliché things to say. Honestly, waking up to realize that it’s Monday was hard to comprehend.
So much has happened in the past few weeks, here are some snippets of those adventures:

Brainstorming Health Workshop:

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I can’t talk about the last few weeks without talking about the team in the picture.
These are the CHIRAG health workers, and the CHIRAG hospital doctor who was our supervisor (3 from the left on the top row).

In this last week we had a training session with them where Nathalie and I presented our projects and worked together to finish our implementation ideas.
They’re an amazing group of people- seeing their openness to learning new topics and hearing the ideas and passion definitely reinvigorated passion in me for the project and the future of the project.

Lucknow:
Sleeper class (no AC): 6 numbered bunks, it can become a game of musical chairs if you don’t have all your seats together.
You know you’re in the plains when: sweating profusely is part of the norm.
Though the train was overnight, the street lights helped illuminate the sights that were passing by.
The irrigated rice fields, halted buses and cars behind the train gates, the crowded makeshift hut villages.

We had 4 days to cover the main sights and smells:

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Gautham, the man to the right in the picture and our driver for the majority of the trip, took us to all the most well-known Lucknow places. As the picture shows, these trips involved Nathalie, Alex and I crowding in the back of his rickshaw, and Jason hanging on in the front.
One of these sights was the chota imambara (the building at the back):
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Almost every building we saw was historic, filled with stories of the past. Even the house we stayed in was around 100 years old! In the mountains, we had seen temples, and homes but we hadn’t known for sure whether any carried the same past that we were able to be so close to in Lucknow. It was a quick reminder to me of how much history and diversity India has seen- its colored past has lent itself to a beautiful mix of everything. Where the mountains have been an insight into a different side of india, Lucknow was the opportunity to see another side of its history.

One of our favorite stops was at Ram Advani’s Bookshop. Mr. Advani, a friend of the administrator of CHIRAG that had helped us set up the entire trip, was a 95 year old man with memories from everywhere and every time period. The stories we were able to here were incredible- his experiences with Mahatma Gandhi, and other various authors whose books he had in the shop and whom he became good friends with. We all walked away with a new addition to our bookshelves.

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(Our artistic shot lol, check the reflection)
By the end of the four days, I realized how much my identity in India had already changed. When people asked the classic, “where are you from? Kahaan se hoon?” the response was no longer the US/America, but rather- Uttarakhand, the mountains etc. Even on our way back, seeing Kishan, one of our favorite drivers from Orakhan, waiting for us at the train station, the winding roads, the trees galore- it was as though we were coming back home.

Until the last post!
-Shobana

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About rshobana

Class of 2015. Majoring in Biological Basis of Behavior. Intern at Chirag in Simayal, Uttarakhand in summer 2013.