The 1971-72 Global Semester, Day by Day

Sunday, October 10, 1971

Our plane (Air India) left only 40 minutes late. The stewardesses were Indian, very beautiful in their saris, and very nice. They had one stewardess for economy class so we nearly starved before we got served but the food was really good. I had chicken curry. There was also some sort of fish salad which wasn’t good but the curry was fine. There was also rice with raisins, potatoes and peas, rolls, and butter and cheese (made in Kenya but very American tasting). There was also cherry cake for dessert.

We landed in Aden, South Yemen, for awhile about an hour after we left Addis. It was 91° there and very humid. It was dark when we approached Bombay. We could see a mass of twinkling lights in the distance (the “Queen’s necklace”), just like they were sitting in space.

Bombay on the ground was breathtaking too but not in the same way. It was hot, humid, and very polluted. The “City of a Thousand Smells” I call it. All bad, too. Passport control was very slow. We got through fast but they gave the Japanese people a hard time – I don’t know why – so it slowed the line down. Then there were a couple of long-haired Americans whom they wouldn’t let through even when they showed them their money and promised to leave the country in 21 days and even confirmed their flight out. If I were them I’d just get my hair cut to avoid the hassle.

Bombay is dirty, slummy, and there are people sleeping all over on the sidewalks and center islands. Our hotel looks nice. We’re on the 7th floor. The room is large with nice furniture, a sink, toilet, and shower (all in separate rooms!) and two ceiling fans.

Monday, October 11, 1971

The night was hot and noisy but we slept fairly well. Breakfast was good: corn flakes and fried eggs with toast, pineapple juice, and tea. The restaurant is a night club with abstract paintings on the walls that are most likely the Kama Sutra illustrated. Very interesting!

Bombay looks much better to me today. From our window we have an excellent view: palm trees, slums, tenements, skyscrapers, birth control signs, and ox-drawn carts. It doesn’t smell bad today either. We don’t have any energy today to go anywhere. We leave here at 2:30 PM for the airport, fly to Jaipur, change planes, and go to Agra.


Our bus never came to our hotel so they called taxis to take us to the airport and what a wild ride! All the taxis seemed to be racing to get there first. The streets are crowded with people, animals, motor cycles, and bikes. It’s really terrifying. They don’t slow down, just honk and weave in and out. We missed having several accidents by only millimeters.

We took a 737 to Jaipur. They served us snacks: a sandwich, a bag of spiced nuts, tea, and some mint-green squares of sweets with what looked like tinfoil on top (but was actually sugar).

We couldn’t believe it when we saw the Clark’s Shiraz Hotel! It has all sorts of shops, a huge, fancy dining room, and bars and a nightclub upstairs. We got in at about 9:45 and proceeded straight to the dining room where people were dining in evening dresses and white dinner jackets. We felt like a bunch of peasants. A lady even came up to us and asked us if we had been mountain climbing all day! The food was the best yet: soup, fish in a sauce that tasted like lobster, and tender, juicy, rare steak with peas and potatoes, and cake with whipped cream for dessert. It was all so elegant that we all sat and laughed in amazement. They even asked if we wanted seconds!

There’s a pool here too. Lots of the kids went swimming after supper. They split up Don and me: I’m with Ellyn and he’s with Jeff.

Tuesday, October 12, 1971

We had a huge, delicious breakfast and then went to see the Taj Mahal

{from Marylou}


and Agra fort.


Afterwards we went to a government-approved gift shop. In the afternoon we went out of Agra to Fatehpur Sikri.


We also visited a shrine to a certain Moslem saint. He was a priest who made the Shah’s childless wife pregnant with a son and so now people who want babies go there, tie a string to the shrine, and make their wish.

We left the Clark’s Shiraz at about 7:30 PM for the airport and our flight to New Delhi. They collected our cameras at the Agra airport, for “security reasons” until we were on board the plane. We also have security checks at all of these airports where they search your hand baggage and frisk you.

The Agra airport, like Jaipur, Benares, and others, is what is known as a government aerodrome. The terminal is small as Indian Airlines is the only one using it. The runways are concrete but are sometimes lighted by smudgepots. Flares are fired to guide planes in at night. Military facilities are nearby and photography is always prohibited.

Claridge’s Hotel in New Delhi is at least as good as the Clark Shiraz. Like Clark’s, the grounds are beautiful with fountains, lawns, and gardens. The restaurant is like a nightclub, very elegant and lit by candle light. They have a floor show every night, too.

Wednesday, October 13, 1971

We had to get up early today because we had a tour at 9:00 of New Delhi.


We visited a Hindu temple built in 1938.


We also visited the tomb of one of those Shahs – the great-grandfather of the guy who built the Taj,


{and Qutub Minar}.


We had a really lousy guide: impossible to understand and not very informative. We visited the Red Fort


and the Gandhi memorial in the afternoon.


Then the guide took us to a real hole of a store where they had saris and dresses with stains on them. And they were expensive too. We were all tired and disgusted by that time.

We got all dressed up for dinner when we got back to the hotel. They had a band and a female singer going when we got to the restaurant. They handed us a dinner and drink menu and told us we could have any dinner we wanted! The food was delicious. The floor show was sort of weird – a modern dance by a man and a woman with sexual overtones. And only 15 minutes long.

Thursday, October 14, 1971

Today we both woke up sick. I felt good enough to go shopping with Marylou and some other girls at the Central Cottage Industries. Later I began to feel sick so we met Ann and Cork and took a taxi back to the hotel. I went to supper and ordered chicken noodle soup, “sole Albert” (filet of sole cooked in Vermouth), and a banana cabana (like a banana split). I ate the soup and a few bites of the fish and the ice cream and then let Bill Witrak finish it.

Friday, October 15, 1971

Room service rang us to wake us up at 3:30 and we were down to breakfast at 4:00. The flight to Allahabad was cancelled because the plane broke down so we had to fly to Benares instead and take a 3 hour taxi ride to Allahabad. We arrived here at 1:00 PM, dog tired.

Our compound here is nice. The house is white stucco. It has a large sitting room, a dining room, two bedrooms for the girls, four bathrooms, a room for the Narum kids and one for Dr. and Mrs. Narum.


The guys are in another building and in a tent and we’re in a tent.


I’m glad we are though; the house is sort of musty. Everything, including our sheets and the house, smells like mothballs. There are goats tied up just outside our tent.


The food is tolerable and we get one free coke and two teas!

Saturday, October 16, 1971

It started raining last night at 1:30 and it’s still raining. They say it’s because of the typhoon that’s hitting the east coast of India. It’s supposed to be the dry season now.

Breakfast was good: grapefruit, corn flakes, a fried egg, toast and jelly, and tea. We rented bikes last night. They cost 25 rupees to rent for a month which is about $4.

In order to get hot water here we have to ask for it and get a bucket full. But it’s hot here and the showers are cool so it feels good. The toilets are fine – flush ones – although one finds a frog in there sometimes. They have plenty of boiled water for us to use. The girls says there are lizards on the walls inside the house.

There’s a laundry boy to do our laundry but I’m not giving him any of mine because I’m sure he beats them on the rocks and my clothes aren’t that tough. Don’s jeans and underwear can take it though.

Mrs. Wesley is a little old Indian lady who is our house mother. She’s really sweet and helpful and concerned about our welfare.

Sunday, October 17, 1971

It rained all day.

In the afternoon we took a tour of Allahabad. We saw the junction of the Ganges and Jumna Rivers, a holy place to the Hindus considered by them to be the bowels of the Earth. Hindu pilgrims come here to bathe in the holy waters. We saw some naked bathers. Also a lot of beggars, lepers, poverty, and mud. We all had ice cream cones at the Indian Agricultural Institute. We didn’t have a regular guide, just the vice-principal of the college who didn’t have much to say and didn’t speak English very well when he did.

Don and I and six others were invited to a lawyer named Dayan’s house. His daughter and son ran the party which included many college students. We played some dumb games but it was an interesting experience. The games were about junior high level and the kids seem conservative in a high schooly way. They were very nice and fun to talk to, however, and the food was interesting. The sweets were good. One was a carrot-colored oblong log which tasted sort of like cocoanut. There was also a pastry with hot stuff inside and peas in a hot sauce and tea. Most of the people there were Hindus but there were a couple of Christians and a Moslem or two. They played American records – everything from Ricky Nelson (he’s big) to Yellow River to the Beatles. They have a thing about getting as many people possible in a car. They came to get 5 of us in a little car which already had 3 people in it.

Monday, October 18, 1971

We have discovered that it hasn’t rained this late in the year in 40 years here. Previous Global groups didn’t experience any rain in India. Yesterday the rain was considerable and our tent began to get wet along the edges. No dripping leaks though.

The food here is better than we expected: meat of Sloppy Joe consistency, mashed potatoes, cooked vegetable, and fruit for dessert. It’s very bland except lunch today which was Indian: rice, meat, potato and vegetable, all spicy. Every meal is basically the same. They do have soup for supper but it is awful – grease soup – and very little of it. The meat is tender. We had been told that we got water buffalo. If this is buffalo, it must be from a very young one. We also get two teas with cookies and sweets every day and one free coke. We don’t eat much because the food is so blah but if we take our vitamins and eat a lot of carbs and bread and some meat or egg at each meal we’ll be OK.

Everyone seems to be having the runs.

The lady who lives in the house and her daughter came to visit us. They taught us some Hindi words and offered to take me to the market to buy a sari. The little girl brought me a set of bangles which are made of glass. This family is Christian (evangelical); they’re going to take me to their church some day. It’s a mission church.


Today was the second, and most important, day of Diwali, the Hindu holiday. (This is the Festival of Lights in which each Hindu tries to attract, through light and sound, the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, who is apparently on the prowl.) All of us were invited out to houses of local families to observe the festivities. Don and I and John, Rosie, and Dirk went to a lawyer named Parchui’s house. They have a house with a big yard and a wall around it. It’s sort of hacienda-type with a huge terrace and many rooms. The inside was shabby by our standards, however: old furniture, a monstrosity of a phonograph (which had a plastic Taj Mahal in the center), and the whole place was dusty and disorganized. The only thing that was impressive was their new blue tiled and blue fixtured modern bathroom. They have 10 children: 8 girls and 2 boys. Rita is the 2nd oldest and has been to the U.S. on a Rotary exchange. We had tea and sweets which were horrendously sweet and the tea had an awful sweet spice in it too. Then we went into the study where they had a little table with statues and pictures of Ganesh and Lakshmi. They put some red stuff on them with their thumbs, threw rice and flower petals on them, and lighted lamps. They also had bowls of food there. There was no ceremony as such, just the motions which all of the members of the family went through. Then we lit small candles which we placed on all the windows, terraces, and walls so that the whole place was lit up, just like Christmas.

After that we went to a school which was lit with electric Christmas-tree-like lights of many colors. There was a statue of Kali there which people were worshipping. Kali is mostly worshiped by the Bengali and most of the people there were Bengalis. They were setting off fireworks all over and we felt very insecure. We’d never been so close to them and our ears were nearly blasted out. I really didn’t enjoy it much although some of the fireworks were pretty. I just don’t like them going off 5 feet away from me. After the fireworks were over we went back to the lawyer’s house, 9 in a car, to have more fireworks. (Some of our group who attended another house witnessed the aiming of bottle rockets into the yards of neighbors!) Fortunately, they ran out about 10:00 and they took us home.

It didn’t rain yesterday, for once, or today. Things are beginning to dry out. We had three lectures today: one on Diwali, which was good, one on a tape which was useless, and one by an Indian economist which was all review. He’s a poor lecturer, too, with a shrill voice. He is P.D. Hajela. He lectured on The Mechanics of Economic Development. We also listened to and/or discussed a lecture by Potter at a St. Olaf convocation entitled "Characteristics of Indian Philosophy."

We have another dog now in our tent at night – a brown female who comes in every night and leaves early in the morning. She scratches herself a lot so I got a flea collar for her from Kit.

Tuesday, October 19, 1971

I can’t help but wonder if those people we visited last night really believed in those gods and goddesses they were worshiping. The man explained their holiday rather objectively, I thought, and they all laughed and joked during the “worship”, especially the children. The parents were more serious. Maybe they just do it because it’s a tradition or maybe it’s the ritual that counts only, without any thought being necessary, like a superstition.

It’s really getting hot now. The clothes are drying very well and so is the tent although it still smells musty.

In the afternoon Don and I rode our bikes around a little (they call them “cycles” here). It’s so nice to be able to ride on a street with just bicycles, rickshaws, and horse-drawn carts on it. There are cows too, and an occasional car, motor scooter or bus, but, for the most part, it’s very peaceful. This is a very pretty town with lots of trees, flowers, and big old houses. Even the poor areas are brightened up with flowers and artistic work on the buildings.

Jane, Cork, Ann, Marylou, and I went with Ester, our 12 year-old neighbor,


to a Japanese garden nearby. It’s a beautiful park with fountains, water lilies, trees, and flowers along winding paths. There is also a small zoo with rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, a porcupine, rats, etc. There is also a children’s area with a big elephant slide and other playground equipment. We got stared at a lot by people. I don’t imagine very many Americans come to Allahabad. It’s not exactly a tourist town for Westerners although it’s a main pilgrimage place for Hindus.

Today marks the beginning of our academic work here. Parmar is ill with amoebic dysentery and his substitute lecturer (Hajela) is babbly, boring, and simple.

We had our fourth Narum lecture, this one on Indian philosophy.

Wednesday, October 20, 1971

Something upset the dogs last night. They would come in the tent, lie down, and then start barking and go back outside. They did this all night and there were other dogs barking in the distance too. I managed to get a flea collar on the brown dog while she was in the tent.

10:45 AM. We just got done with another lecture of excruciating length by the economics professor. So far, three lectures, it has been virtually all review about economic development. That wouldn’t be so bad but the guy talks very fast and unintelligibly at times. He babbles! He looks sort of like Count Dracula with a shiny pompadour, an insane look in his eyes, and a funny grin on his face all the time. It’s hard to take an hour and a half of it.

Today I went shopping in the afternoon with Jane, Ann, and the lady next door (Theresa P?) and her sister-in-law, Helen. We walked through the back gate of our compound, through another compound of well-kept houses (which Theresa said were all Christian) and down a narrow street for 50 yards to a big street with shops on it. I bought a beautiful sari made of partly synthetic cloth that’s wrinkle-free and very soft. We had a crowd of little kids following us around all the time. Most of the shops were closed so we weren’t there very long. On the way back we stopped at Helen’s house. She led us up a narrow and steep flight of stairs to a big five-room apartment which was nicely furnished (by Indian standards). She had an antique clock on the wall and a picture of Jesus.

While we were waiting for Helen on the way to the market we saw two veiled Moslem women with a little white girl of about 6 years. She was grubby looking like all the other kids but was unmistakably European in her features: strawberry blond hair and very fair skin. We couldn’t figure it out.

Hajela continued his lectures on development in under-developed countries. We also had a discussion/lecture for Narum's class.

It’s surprising how often the general dinner conversation here drifts into discussing one’s bowel habits.

Thursday, October 21, 1971

Hajela's lectures continue. Today's was on capital formation. We also had a discussion/lecture on Hinduism for Narum's class.

Friday, October 22, 1971

Irene, and Indian girl, and a couple of her friends, came by at breakfast time and invited us to their basketball game. All the girls we have met are really sweet and they’re all so pretty too.

Today we went to Benares (Varanasi). We had to pack everything up and leave it in the Narums’ room because we can’t lock the tent. We took our water bottles and our pack and our pillows and sheets and blankets because they don’t have much bedding in the hotel. It was a three-and-a-half hour ride in a crummy wooden bus with zero leg room even for me!

The weather is, for me anyway, almost perfect. The days are clear and bright with just a slight breeze and the temperature runs from about 70° at night to about 85° at noon. It’s very comfortable in the shade, even when the sun is hot. The land here is perfectly flat with trees and fields as far as you can see.

Market areas in Indian cities are fascinating but hectic. The streets are narrow and crowded with people, cows, bicycles, and rickshaws. One has to be constantly watching so that he doesn’t get run over and also constantly watching where he steps. People spit and relieve themselves all over and also there is always dung and garbage on the street. The smells are many, ranging from urine and manure to burning trash to fried, spicy foods.


In Benares there are all sorts of holy men and lepers who beg. The lepers are so pathetic with their stubby fingerless hands and toeless feet.

Today we stopped, after seeing some Hindu temples,


at a section of the market where the cottage industries are. This is the tourist trap of Benares. You step off the bus and they descend upon you with knives, necklaces, flutes, carvings, etc.

“Hello, madam, real sandalwood, only one rupee.”

“Look, sir. You like this? Real ivory.”

“You have American dollar? I give ten rupees for dollar.”

Etc., etc., and they’re so persistent!

We got back on the bus and while we waited for the others they stuck their wares in our faces, the same ones coming back every two minutes. It could easily drive someone crazy.

Today we also visited the Hindu university. It has a beautiful 1300 acre campus and a huge temple which allows all people to visit the central shrine (usually only Hindus can). The central shrine looked like a phallic symbol – just an oval stone standing on end – with flowers around it and a pitcher dripping Ganges water hanging over it. At every shrine in the temple there is a priest, usually a little old man with thick, round, wire-rimmed glasses. Our guide was a good one and very informative.


The hotel here isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It’s about like the one in Gondar. They gave us each ten rupees to buy food and we can get three meals here for that! And they sent lunch with us today, including two bottles of pop each, so we’re all set. We only brought 7 rupees with us and we had to shell out 8 for the guide so we had to borrow one from Marylou. We have candy bars and one coke each left so we should be OK until tomorrow night. The food here tonight was pretty good, a little better than in Allahabad: soup, some kind of meat, rice with mutton curry, bananas, and vanilla pudding with some jello.

Saturday, October 23, 1971

We were in the bus at 6:30 AM today to go to the Ganges. We had to walk from that same stupid market place we were in yesterday, through the same bunch of holy men and souvenir sellers. After that was a narrow street lined with beggars and then the steps down to river, crowded with beggars and bathers. We got into some rickety wooden boats, half of us in each, and, after much difficulty, got away from the shore. The river was beautiful. The sun was barely up and there was a haze over the water silhouetting the boats in the distance. There are temples and palaces lining one side of the river for miles. The bathers are purified by bathing in the Ganges. At the same time many worship the rising sun. They fill a brass jar or pitcher with water and offer it to the sun, slowly pouring it out. After bathing, the people are blessed by a priest and a red mark is put on their foreheads. They then take a jar of Ganges water to the temple to a morning worship service there.


We floated down past the cremation place where several bodies were burning but we couldn’t see much from a distance. Then we landed and walked up a narrow street, saw the golden temple, and finally got back to the bus. The streets are filthy with sewage, spit, and manure and are crowded with beggars, holy men, pilgrims, cows, goats, and small children. I really felt contaminated when I got out of there.


This afternoon we visited Sarnath, near Benares, where Gautama Buddha underwent his enlightenment.


Our hotel was really a hole. We got bug bites (I just discovered mine now). The men in the “dorm” room had beds full of fleas and tried to sleep in lawn chairs after discovering their situation. The breakfast was good – cereal, eggs, bananas, toast, and tea – but lunch was pretty bad. We were glad to leave.

Sunday, October 24, 1971

We got up and went to the mission church at the Bible seminary today: a bunch of girls (and Don) and Mrs. Poplae. It was an old-time evangelical type of service. There was a bunch of traveling ministers and missionary types there and some of them sang country western type of Bible songs. I had a hard time keeping a straight face. There was one big pudgy man, Rev. Woodhouse, who had that perpetual fake grin on his face all the time. He gave the sermon and the Indian preacher translated. It was all just quoting Bible verses. And then at the end he asked anyone who “didn’t know Jesus” to raise their hand!

They asked us to stay for coffee afterward and we got to talk to many people, both American and Indian, plus eat good American-style cookies. The head man at this mission church was from Minnesota as was his wife (Robbinsdale).

We saw an elephant and a Hindu mourning group, complete with corpse in a shroud.

We all went to bed by candlelight. The power went out at 8:30 PM.

Monday, October 25, 1971

Mrs. Narum is leading a group of our students in some choir practice for a music contest at the university. They are singing “Come Holy Ghost Our Souls Inspire” and “Lord For Thy Tender Mercy’s Sake.”

The dogs barked and howled again last night. I don’t think people pet and play with their dogs much here. Raja doesn’t seem to know how to act when I pet his head and scratch his ears.


He obviously likes it because he stays and wags his tail but he looks sort of surprised. We only see the brown dog at night. She disappears with the coming of daylight. I can tell when she comes because she thumps her tail on the floor.

The Hajela lecture today was on economic aid to UDCs. Contrasted U.S.'s (political, strings-attached, anti-communist) with Sweden's (moral, humanitarian) as described by Myrdal. We also had a discussion/lecture for Narum's class.

Tuesday, October 26, 1971

We had our fifth major Narum lecture today. The anti-Vedic revolts of the Jains and the Buddha.

We exchanged money at the bank today. What a bunch of red tape! And, with all the bookkeeping, they don’t even give us a receipt!

Wednesday, October 27, 1971

We had lectures from Dr. Paksa on Indian Philosophy and Dr. Parmar on Goals and Process of Development. And, for Narum's class, we had a discussion on the first two chapters of Nakamura.

People are getting sick again – sore throats, diarrhea, and some strange bug or virus.

We’re learning much from Narum. His course is superb and as a teacher he is superb: a brilliant mind, a comfortable and easy-to-talk-to man. He inspires one to thirst for knowledge like no one I’ve ever met.

Thursday, October 28, 1971

Some people seem to never go to sleep in this town. There is a temple or mosque or something near us and they sing and carry on about every other night. Or the dogs bark all night or there’s something else. And the servants come to work about 5:00 AM and clatter around.

This afternoon Shankar took us downtown to a nice jewelry store. He’s taking us to another one tomorrow.

Our Narum discussion today was on universals vs. particulars and on emptiness.

Friday, October 29, 1971

Some Peace Corps workers came and took 14 of us out to the village of Poulpur about 30 miles from here. We were really crowded in the jeep. Our driver was Mrs. Wesley’s son. He’s in his late 30s probably, dark, handlebar mustache, and wears shorts and knee-highs.

{from Marylou}

They took us to a tube well they had drilled for irrigation. The dust was terrible; very fine and almost white. They finally got the pump working and we could see how the water runs in the mud ditches around and around through the fields.


The Peace Corps workers claim that much is and has been done as far as digging wells and introducing new seeds is concerned. They say that the use of the new “miracle” grains is quite widespread. They took us over near the Ganges to eat lunch and we saw where they were building a pontoon bridge.

Saturday, October 30, 1971

Yesterday was the first in the last five or six that we haven’t had a power failure.

I went to Civil Lines with Marylou. It’s a modern shopping area with a variety of stores. We ate lunch at the Kwality Café. I had fried fish and potatoes, which were good, and a banana split, which was great.

It is customary to sing grace at the table here in India. Mrs. Narum, choir director that she is, has us singing the familiar words to the Gillette theme as well as in 2-3 part rounds. Group singing is becoming a tradition among us.

Sunday, October 31, 1971

Monday, November 1, 1971

Last night we had our Halloween party. We invited a whole bunch of little kids and we all dressed up in costumes. We did pretty well considering how little we had to work with. Coleen and Rosie were “Injera and Wat”, Erika and Jane were Siamese twins, Terry was a blue bumble bee. Paul Chmelik was a butterfly. I put some lipstick on my face and wore a blanket over my Arab dress and a headband with feathers. There were tons of peanuts to eat and the floor rapidly became covered with shells. We had 3 jack-o-lanterns and lots of crêpe paper decorations. I think all the little kids had a good time. They probably thought we were all crazy. They had delicious cookies and lime juice and some rather strange pumpkin pie. The games were hilarious: musical chairs, step on each other’s balloon, peanut hunt, pass the guava from neck to neck, etc. Dr. Narum wore his kurta, a silver medallion, pants stuffed into knee-highs, slippers, and a head band that said “Fram Fram.” He was obviously Saint Olaf.

I put on my pajamas, my ripped T-shirt, knee-highs, and a Norwegian stocking cap. I don't really know what I was supposed to be but I think most people thought "fool."

Mary and I went to Civil Lines today. We bought some material for kurta shirts and had ice cream at Kwality.

One of our lectures today was by a Nehru who was the Indian ambassador to China in the late 1950s. He talked about the India-Pakistan situation.


The music contest was today at 5:45 PM after the last lecture.

This evening a few of us (Rosie, Paul C., and I, with Tito from Kashmir) rode our bikes over to a large temple near here where we got forms to apply for yoga lessons. An Indian law student, who knows yoga, took us there. I don’t like riding my bike in the dark but it wasn’t very far. The only panic is at intersections where I never know where to look for traffic. Sudden stops are bad too because the bike is too big for me and it’s a boy’s bike.

The temple is a beautiful white structure surrounded by a wall with a big elephant over the gate. We were led into a dark gymnasium, lighted by a single birthday-cake size candle, where men were weight-lifting and doing exercises. Rosie and I may have been the first women ever to enter judging by the stares we got. The law student helped Paul fill out the forms, which were in Hindi. A month’s worth of lessons cost 13 rupees.

Tuesday, November 2, 1971

This morning 14 of us got up and left at 6:15 for our first yoga lesson. It’s nice early in the morning: cool, quiet, with not much traffic. Our yoga instructor is about 70 years old, toothless, and in excellent shape except for a slight pot belly. He has a shaved head with one long strand on top and wears a T-shirt and some sort of loin cloth. He speaks fairly good English, understandable most of the time. Today he taught us some elementary exercises, which I’m sure we’ll be stiff from tomorrow. He also showed us how one can clean his nose and stomach with water. First he poured water into one nostril and it ran out the other, then he put a piece of cord into one nostril and it came out his mouth. Then he drank about a gallon of water and you could see his stomach become distended. Then he took a piece of rubber tubing and, after saying “om”, fed it down his throat (all 3 feet of it!), leaned over, and let the water run out. A truly amazing performance!

We were all discussing yesterday how our standards have changed as a result of this trip. I’m not tired of my meager collection of clothes. All I care about is that they’re comfortable, relatively clean, and that I don’t smell too bad. I’ve given up on my hair: it’s pig tails or braids all the time now.

We had our sixth major Narum lecture today.

Our Indian lecture today was by Dr. Datta on Indian Philosophy, especially Tagor and Gandhi.

We had a "town meeting" at 6:30 tonight.

Wednesday, November 3, 1971

Three kids are sick right now, one pretty seriously. His symptoms are a fever and shaking. They brought in the doctor.

Today's lecture was from Parmar on international implications of development.

Thursday, November 4, 1971

Parmar's lecture on development was continued today. We also had a lecture/discussion for the Narum class today on epistemology and metaphysics of the West. "Common sense realism is assuredly wrong."

Mary got sick this afternoon so she moved into the house. It’s 9:00 PM now and I’m in the tent preparing for a solo night. Over half the group is sick now or has been recently. Symptoms include fever, nausea, sometimes intestinal disorders, aches, difficulty breathing.

Friday, November 5, 1971

Saturday, November 6, 1971

The bug caught me yesterday after tea (we have coffee at 10:00 AM, tea at 4:00 PM). I had been feeling groggy all day. My temp before tea was 98.3° and by 5:15 was 100.8°. I hauled myself inside to the Narum boys’ room which had become a sick bay for the men. John and Jim had recovered by then and they moved out so Mary could move in with me and let Marty have her bed back. I got steadily worse and by 6:15 I was at 101.8°. By 8:25 I was shaking, breathing in gasps, and tossing around in my bed. When I woke up at 5:00 this morning my fever was gone and I felt fine. I’ve spent today in bed since Denny said I should. Since no one was in our tent last night Mary and Jim had to haul all of our stuff in. Probably 65-70% of our group has been sick over the last few days. Some just have the runs, some just have a fever like me, some have both like Mary.

Sunday, November 7, 1971

We moved our stuff back to the tent in the morning and by noon I was in bed again with a fever.


Monday, November 8, 1971

{from Marylou}

Tuesday, November 9, 1971

More Parmar lecture today. And we had our seventh major Narum lecture.

Virtually everyone has been sick with some mysterious virus. I was stricken Thursday. My fever was 101.8°. I moved into Marty’s bed and she slept in Narums’ room (they were gone for the weekend). I started taking my antibiotic and continued my Lomotil and Kaopectate (I finished Denny’s bottle of Kaopectate and started Linden’s).

Wednesday, November 10, 1971

I stayed in bed, prostrate with a fever in the middle 101s and a fair headache.

We had some Indian musicians here tonight. The main musician is an insurance salesman who is an amateur but plays with professional skill. He taught George Harrison for a few days when he was in India a few years ago.

{from Marylou}

Parmar's last lecture today.

Thursday, November 11, 1971

Don got sick last Friday and is still sick with a fever, headache, and nausea. The doctor, an old lady named Dr. Bihar (European or American), came to see Coleen, Jeff, Ellyn, and Don today. She questioned us about our typhoid vaccinations and what we had eaten or drunk in Benares. She said she really doubted that it was typhoid though. She gave Don a prescription for a different kind of antibiotic (chloramphenicol) which Mrs. Narum promptly filled.

Friday, November 12, 1971


Saturday, November 13, 1971

Sunday, November 14, 1971

Don is still sick. We went to the doctor yesterday in a rickshaw. Dr. Chandra diagnosed it as typhoid or para-typhoid, the same as Dr. Bahar’s diagnosis. We questioned our group about their typhoid inoculations and came up with this theory: those of us who got our shots the last half of May at St. Olaf were the ones who got sick. Two exceptions were Dirk and Melanie but they undoubtedly had a different serum. Gary Halvorson had his shots at the same time we did and he said that the nurse told him that he was getting a new batch of serum. A few people who had their shots in other places got slightly ill. But the whole Narum family, for example, stayed well and they all had their shots in a different place than we did. Apparently our serum was old or didn’t have the right strains in it. Don and Coleen were hit the hardest. Coleen still has a fever and headache every day too. I am really tired and run a fever of 99.0° to 99.5° in the afternoon.

Mrs. Poplae had her hysterectomy yesterday. They haven’t given her anything for the pain so she’s not comfortable. Her tumor was about as big as a baseball. I hope it’s benign. Jane and I are going to see her this afternoon.

It gets cooler here every night – down to about 50°, I suppose, then up to 75° or so during the day.

Most of the people have left now for break. The Narums leave tomorrow. Jane, Rosie, John, and Doug leave for Delhi tonight (Rosie goes to Hyderabad from there) so that leaves only us, Coleen, and Ellyn here.

Monday, November 15, 1971

The chloramphenicol has worked well, just as Dr. Bihar had said they would. She said my fever would drop 1° a day and it did, in very neat steps.

Tuesday, November 16, 1971

We moved into Narums’ room yesterday after a brief hassle with Mrs. Wesley who wanted us to live in the Narum boys’ room. This room is nice but the windows won’t open and it’s sort of dark. Our tent is down and gone now.

Don’s temperature was below normal all day yesterday so I think he’s got it licked. If it’s normal all day today then he can be up and around tomorrow. I’m still feeling a little tired and have a temp of 99° in the afternoon but I’m eating like mad and my constipation is getting better so I’ll be OK soon too. When I get to Calcutta I’m not leaving the hotel and we’re bringing our water bottle with boiled water from here. We’re not going to take any chances.

They had a practice blackout here last night. Pakistan is thinking about declaring war. I doubt if they’d ever get as far as Allahabad though.

Ellyn and I went to the market this morning and I bought some bananas, apples, and tangerines.

The mosquitoes drive me crazy at night. I’ve got bites all over my forehead and hands. Their high-pitched whining wakes me up all the time.

Wednesday, November 17, 1971

Thursday, November 18, 1971

Friday, November 19, 1971

Mrs. Poplae is worse. She’s got a fever. They claim everyone gets a fever after an operation here.

Saturday, November 20, 1971

Sunday, November 21, 1971

Monday, November 22, 1971

Today the Narums returned so Mary and I have to split up.


Tuesday, November 23, 1971

We’ve used up all of our Bufferin, all of our Vitamin C, all of Mary’s tetracycline, all of our paregoric (plus 2 bottles of Kaopectate) and nearly all of my tetracycline while we’ve been in India.


Wednesday, November 24, 1971

It’s 9:00 AM and we’ve been in the air for about 45 minutes. The dumb Indian Air Lines gave us a big hassle about this flight. They told Dr. Narum 2 weeks ago that our reservations were OK – all 32 of us could fly out of here. Then, a few days ago, they told us only 13 of us could go and the rest would have to go by taxi to Benares and fly from there. Needless to say, we were all upset. We had all hoped we would never have to travel down that awful road again. The five of us who were here went with Shankar down to the airline office and argued with the guy, who fidgeted and told us 16 could leave from here but no more because the runway was too short because of repairs being done on it. So we gave up. Then, when the Narums came back on Monday, they said they had been told 21 of us could go. Finally it went to 26 and then to 29 (3 people left early) so we all got on the plane, finally. I really don’t know what their problem was.

This plane is a Fokker Friendship turbojet. It holds 40 passengers and it’s not full. We did get a better explanation for our hassle with Indian Air. With the pending war with Pakistan, standing reservations for possible government troops or personnel are kept on all Indian Air flights.

One of our group of vacationing students, when faced with being bumped from a crucial return flight, finally got on the plane after a couple of the girls burst into tears. Their motto: when all else fails, cry.

Everyone is worried about their baggage weight. Some people are at least 20 lbs. over, including their hand baggage. Mine weighs exactly 44 lbs., not including my purse. That includes a kilo of apples and a lb. of candy so I’m probably still a little under.

I didn’t get to see Mrs. Poplae again because I got a cold on Friday and then, when I thought I was over it, I got a splitting headache, the worst I’ve ever had. That was Monday night. Kit gave me some Sinutabs and they did the trick. Mrs. Poplae’s operation is healing fine but she’s got a cold and headache now so she’s still in the hospital.

Our hotel in Calcutta is pretty good. It’s the oldest in Calcutta (est. 1830). The rooms were huge, had rugs, excellent beds, nice furniture, but were not real clean.

Thursday, November 25, 1971 (Thanksgiving Day)

This morning we had another hassle with the airlines, Thai this time. They had us confirmed yesterday, then they called and said the flight from Kathmandu was full. Narums told them we were getting on anyway and we went to the airport. The terminal was very nice and very empty. We were the only ones in the whole place! We found the Thai agent and the Narums started the hassle. Mrs. Narum is truly excellent in argumentative skill and good old Norwegian stubbornness. Unfortunately, the Thai representative was also a stubborn Norwegian. Finally they sent a telegram that said, “Group of 36 refuses to be split up. Repeat – refuses.” So they bumped off the extras in Kathmandu – who had only gotten their reservations recently anyway – and we got on after a relatively easy passage through passport control and security check.

Calcutta’s Dum-Dum International Airport was almost totally empty. One flight was going out in the afternoon – ours – and one flight was going out at midnight on BOAC. Three Pakistan planes had been shot down two days ago and the possibility of an air war near Calcutta may have caused the rerouting.


While we were waiting for our flight, Burt Quent, a CBS news correspondent appeared with a very impressive looking yellow bag containing film and sound tapes to be used in an upcoming CBS special on the Bangladesh situation. It was to be in our care to Bangkok where we would hand it over to CBS officials who would relay it tonight to New York via satellite. He promised us that the St. Olaf Global Semester would be mentioned on CBS news.