I don’t like to admit to it but the winter seemed to last an eternity and I couldn’t wait to go to India for the thirty-fourth time in March which was slightly later than usual.
The Emirates flights were, as usual, excellent and I had a thrill at Dubai when, for unfathomable reasons, I was bumped up to First Class. Very nice it was too. I didn’t have quite as long as usual in Delhi but enjoyed my three night stay and am grateful as always to my friend, Rajesh Kumar, and his family for their hospitality. The highlight was going to Delhi’s oldest cricket ground, the Roshanara Club, which is not only exclusive but enjoys wonderful sporting and less strenuous facilities and the ground has also hosted Ranji Trophy matches. Indeed, there is a plaque commemorating the visit of Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe. I am very grateful to Rajesh and his family for their hospitality on all of my trips
Delhi's oldest cricket ground, Roshanara Club
En route to Gangtok - along one of India's National Highways
After arranging the necessary permit to travel to Sikkim, my web designer, Karamjeet Singh, kindly took me out for an enjoyable lunch but it was a visit which Health and Safety would not have approved of as Karamjeet drove me Cricket is played everywhere in India - with distractions tolerated
on the back of his moped with neither of us wearing helmets. He’s a careful driver, though, and it was fun and invigorating and I’m still here to tell the tale. I moved on the next day to Gangtok in Sikkim on the excellent Rajdhani train from Delhi to New Jalpaiguri which turned out to be a twenty three hour journey. For someone as impatient and restless as me, I strangely find these journeys enjoyable and I passed the time starting and finishing a book on Mahendra Singh Dhoni. I was lucky to come straight out of the train station and find a jeep to Gangtok which was almost full so I didn’t have long to wait. It’s quite a novel experience: the roads are not built for speed the potholes seeing to that and jeeps ply the National Highway ( motorways, if you like) conveying locals, foreigners, baggage & occasionally people also on the roof rack. There are realistically eight seats but drivers often go with ten so it can be, well, cosy – & bumpy.
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