Call to Place : India

In the beginning…

My grandfather, Herbert Beddall was born in Sheffield in 1889. He lived in Dunsville near Doncaster and worked as a blacksmith. He married Annie George in April 1908 when he was only 19 years old; Annie was 24 and they were cousins. My grandfather suffered from ill health and the cold damp winters in the north of England did not help, so in 1913 he and his wife and baby son got on a boat at Liverpool docks and went to India where he worked as a silversmith and gunsmith. In 1916 he returned to England where a daughter was born, my aunt Marjorie, but it wasn’t long before he returned to India and his youngest child, (another daughter, my mother Iris) was born in 1919. When she was born they were living at Angus Jute Mills, Gourhati in the Chandannagore subdivsion part of the Hooghly-Damodar Plain near Calcutta. The Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, the Danes and the British dominated industry, trade and commerce in this area for more than two centuries.

Herbert Beddall – definitely not in India!

Eventually the family returned to England and settled back in Thorne near Doncaster, South Yorkshire. My grandfather died of a heart attack whilst cycling to work in March 1938, aged just 49. My mother was only 18 years old.

As a child I always romanticised about living abroad. It seemed such an exciting thing to do; I adored learning about explorers who went out into the unknown and discovered unknown lands and reading about the settlers. I thought my grandfather must have been very adventurous and wished he had lived long enough for me to have known him. As it was my mother’s vague childhood remembrances of India had to do. Her tales of the “Amah” sleeping outside the bedroom she and her sister shared in order to protect them from any intruders was completely alien to our very English suburban way of life.

Because of this background, India in particular appeared very exotic and greatly appealed to me; I didn’t need too many excuses to want to go there, but it seemed no-one else in my family was keen.

The inspiration for my particular travels came from the ‘hippies’ of the 1960s heading to mystical India to seek spiritualism and so-called enlightenment. One of the key elements was travelling as cheaply as possible for as long as possible, using buses, trains and hitch-hiking their way as far as possible from the ‘evils’ of Western capitalism.

It wasn’t until 1973 when I turned twenty years old that my own overland adventure began following that famous ‘Hippie Trail’ through Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was a journey that would shape my life.

~wander.essence~ Call to Place

Square September: Pink

Becky’s September square photo challenge Day 21!  She would like us to share photos which embrace ‘pink’ –  there could be pink in the photo, the subject or photographer could be ‘tickled pink’*, or indeed looking ‘in the pink’*.  A photo that manages to do all three things is the ultimate offering.

Beach cleaning at Fisherman's Cove, Chennai, India

Wild storms had caused a great deal of rubbish to wash up on the shores of this resort just before we arrived; a great deal of it plastic. These ladies battled with the wind to collect the rubbish and remove it from the beach. The wild storms that we are experiencing today courtesy of Storm Bronagh reminded me of this photo.

*in the pink’ means in perfect condition, or in good health, and ‘tickled pink’ means delighted.

September Squares | Pink

Square September: Pink

Becky’s September square photo challenge Day 20!  She would like us to share photos which embrace ‘pink’ –  there could be pink in the photo, the subject or photographer could be ‘tickled pink’*, or indeed looking ‘in the pink’*.  A photo that manages to do all three things is the ultimate offering.

Alai Darwaza (Alai Gate), the entrance to the Quwwat-Ul-Islam Mosque

The Qutb complex is a collection of monuments and buildings from the Delhi Sultanate at Mehrauli in Delhi in India.

*in the pink’ means in perfect condition, or in good health, and ‘tickled pink’ means delighted.

September Squares | Pink

home thoughts from abroad

Home thoughts from abroad is a new series on Travel Words featuring a single photograph that reminds me of a country visited and showing something that uniquely identifies it as being ‘abroad’.

Wearing Feetbells (Ghungrus)

India. 2008. Almost exactly 35 years since my first visit in 1973 as a young woman travelling overland from England. This time I wasn’t roughing it, but staying in a resort at Fisherman’s Cove near Chennai. A comfortable beach cabin with a marble bathroom. Buffet meals with dosa pancakes for breakfast. The sweet scent of frangipani and the wild waves of the Indian Ocean sending me to sleep at night.

Just looking at the dancers with their feet-bells brings back the memory of the gently resonating bells representing precisely the rhythmic movements of the dancing feet.

June Squares | Roofs

It’s June and another 30 day challenge from Becky.  ‘The Life of B’ This month she is looking for a roof or roofs or even rooves. Follow the link for the rules.

Resembling the lotus flower, the Baha’i Temple in  New Delhi, India displays the richness of imagination of the architect behind the design.

June Square | 3rd June