Update – 01 December 2013

I have also studied, practiced, and questioned the meaning of the extraordinary Indian puppet-like head wobble which is surely grafted into their DNA; it can mean ‘yes’, ‘no’, anything or nothing. It has no class or caste, it is used universally by every and any Indian to mean whatever you want it to mean. Another craze I have noticed is what appears to be an obsession with hair, whether it be Henna, dreadlocks, shaved heads, or the multitude of barbers who also give a pleasant head massage as part of the service. Indeed, I have indulged in a haircut which was an expertly executed short back and sides; I’m not sure who’s out of touch, me or India? I suspect it’s me!

Sitting in my sun-drenched office, I realise the more I visit the country the more I find myself magnetised by India. I have made in the region of five or six visits and with each journey I gain more respect and awe for the people, the way of life, and the values they hold dear. John Brown introduced me, somewhat reluctantly, to the country but I shall be forever grateful to him for leading me across the threshold; I truly feel India helps us put our own lives in perspective.

The new mapping programmes I hoped would address some of the issues we faced with GPS constraints have turned-out to be even more of a hindrance and appear designed only for use in the ‘perfect world’ which, of course, doesn’t exist and to which India must be the Antithesis! Thankfully, we can create our own personalised map of the route and fool the GPS into thinking it’s legitimate. We have used this system successfully in the outback regions of Australia where accurate mapping is somewhat sketchy.

The new start date has been set for 12 September 2014 and the welcome dinner will be the previous evening. Lally has begun booking hotels, we have two regions where accommodation is in short supply and therefore need to cap the number of people joining although staff can be billeted in tents through the high-altitude sections if necessary.