We woke up on our final morning in the mountains to the sound of the neighbors shooing their water buffalo and goats out of the house. The traditional house of the Kumaon has two stories – the family lives upstairs, and the livestock lives downstairs. While the local kids were getting ready for school (school uniforms, backpacks etc), the animals were taken outside where they would spend the day. It’s times like this when the different lives people lead across the world really comes into focus – for us, the fact that water buffalo sleep downstairs is simply incredible – for the village family, it’s completely normal. They probably would find our North American big city way of life unfathomable in many ways (though not totally, with the spread of satellite TV across most of India).
After playing some morning cricket, it was time to pack up. We hiked about 20 minutes up the hill to the waiting cars while the guys who look after the village house carried our luggage. The ride back was long and very windy. The best way to avoid becoming car sick was to sleep. Finally we arrived back in Kathgodam where we had lunch at the same South Indian restaurant we’d eaten when we had arrived a few days before.
Then it was time to board the train. Pujan joined us for the journey back to Delhi, and entertained the kids for the full 6 hours!
It was late at night when we arrived back in Delhi, and we sadly took our leave from Pujan. He’d become a really good friend in just a few short days.
We needed to get up bright and early the next day – we were off to see the Taj Mahal!
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