While in Rishikesh, my long time friend Anita’s father, Balvir Saini drove all the way from Saharanpur to Rishikesh (2 hour drive) for a visit just as he did when Rick and I were here in 2001. We only got to spend around 5 hours together, but it was a wonderful visit!
Balvir looked great, had not changed much in 10 years, and it was such a pleasure to spend time with him. He offered to take the whole group (14 of us) out for lunch! When he arrived in the morning, we sat in the clean AC comfort of the hotel lobby talking. Then we went out for a slow drive through Rishikesh and up into the hills. It started pouring. The heavy rains quickly became rivers on the side streets, all rushing towards the swiftly flowing Ganga. We were sightseeing, but also trying to scout out a good restaurant for the group.
Here is Balvir driving in Rishikesh:
And here is a picture I took while he braved the rains and checked out a restaurant. This mother and her children were enjoying ice cream in the back of a truck:
We met up with the group back at the hotel and went to a restaurant called Brunch! It was really good. Everyone agreed that it was the best Indian food we have yet had on this trip (doesn’t include the Tibetan dinner). It was all vegetarian.
Dal (lentil dish):
Vegetable Curry with cheese sprinkled over it:
And Saag Paneer (Greens including spinach pureed and served with fresh paneer cheese cubes):
Everyone enjoyed meeting Balvir, especially Don, Arvind, Karin, and Glenda who were lucky enough to sit near him. I felt really sad to say goodbye to BAlvir Saini. Our visit was really too short. He reminds me so much of my close friend, his daughter, Anita, whom I haven’t seen in 15 months. She lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, is raising her and David’s little boy, Marcus, and is running a B&B in the heart of Edinburgh (if you ever go to Edinburgh, be sure to stay at her B&B: http://www.ayden-edinburgh.com). Balvir and Anita are so similar in their mannerisms and their ways of expression. Especially since I don’t have my dad anymore, I loved sharing time with Anita’s dad who is a gentle, hardworking, and kind man, just as my father was.
Balvir sitting with Don and Arvind: