People who blithely speak of the permanence of the hills have clearly never spent time in the
Himalayas. The thrust may be upwards but the evidence at hand suggests we will shortly be
holding classes on a pile of rubble in the Doon Valley.|
The most recent slip was under Miss Holmes' house, Eastwood Cottage, the back corner of which now hangs in space while a platoon of cheerful Nepalis is working from the nulla up to replace the foundation. As luck would have it, the disaster occurred on a Sunday morning and every immediate neighbor, despite their good intentions, was at home. The evacuation was immediate and complete, and Miss Holmes was safely ensconced in Doshisha by the day's end.
Several years back Mr. Ruddock, then history teacher, was found on his back in the ditch on Tehri Road, toothbrush in hand, by Mr. Ten Singh Nema. Not wanting to be intrusive but concerned for his well-being, Ten Singh asked if he could help. Mr. Ruddock was grateful for a hand up and explained that he had been brushing his teeth on the patio of his house, Sun Cliff. Seeing a flicker in the jungle, possibly a new bird, he stepped on the edge of the patio which promptly collapsed, sending him fifty feet down to the road even faster than he usually went. An environmentalist, Mr. Ruddock remembered to hold onto his toothbrush and not litter.
The law not withstanding, dowry is still expected, Rs 10 lacs for a chartered accountant, Rs 15 lacs for an IAS officer, and so on. In a moment of weakness, Alan Mendonca, being basically unemployed but having potential, said he didn't want any dowry from his intended, Kavita Ezekiel. Her family had the decency to send something anyway, and Alan and Kavita now live at Abergeldie with 65 cushions in their front room, to which they have since added two children.
The kids are keepers but Alan's hope of ditching the cushions were nearly realized three years ago when ominous cracks appeared in their front yard. At 1:00 AM the groaning of twisting metal woke them. Alan rushed out to have a look. The stones on the pushta were bulging, then, with an explosion, gave way and chunk by chunk their yard descended. Kavita assured their daughter that mere excitement would hardly suffice, this was a panic situation, but the demise of the yard stopped three feet from their front room and the cushions were miraculously saved.
Back at Doshisha, a ten foot addition was made to the back of the house several years ago. The khud behind the house was carved out to accommodate the addition. The occupants' old cook, at a lull in making dinner one night, stepped out the back door to savor a bidi. It could have been his last, for just as he came back in and closed the door, the khud disintegrated, sending down tons of debris. The door was forced open and a four foot pile of dirt and rocks was deposited on the kitchen floor seriously delaying dinner.
Don Holmes, Academic Vice Principal at the time, listened patiently to the occupant's rather wrought telling of the tale. His laconic response, "Next time tell your cook not to slam the door."