Saturday, we had to get ready to go, and finally to say bye for now. We packed first thing after breakfast, spent a few minutes with Mrs Smith, and after Jeannie settled some business with Ashit, we headed to the internet cafe. Some of us did some shopping there, and then we went over to the Oxford Bookstore on Park Street for a little browsing and some cappuccino. I bought a copy of "If I Were Rain," a great book about the slum kids of Kolkata.
When I got back to the Fairlawn, Mrs Smith and her daughter, Jennie Fowler, were sitting at "the boss's table" talking, and I took the opportunity to get a picture with them. When I showed the shot to them on the camera's screen, Mrs Smith said to me, "You're a good-looking fellow, you know. You're on my list; a bit down on the list, though." I was thrilled to make the list at all. Then she stood to walk over the her waiting car, to go on some errand, I imagine. Jennie took her one arm, and a nurse stood by to take the other, but instead of reaching for the nurse, Mrs Smith grabbed me around the waist and pulled us towards the car. As we started off, she began to skip and sing a nursery rhyme! Jennie just laughed, and away we went. When we got to the car, I helped guide her onto the back seat. I said that I'd miss her, to which she replied, "What are you, a Russian, pining away?" Then I kissed her on both cheeks, and she said "I'll miss you too, David." Wow! Then she pinched my nose between two knuckles, and took her leave on that note. One of a kind, that one.
So here I am now, looking at snow again and missing Kolkata and its memorable people. Our return flight had its assortment of hiccups and near misses, but it all worked out in the end, a lot like Kolkata traffic. It's so hard to capture this place in words or photos, but I've taken a swipe at it in this blog. If you want the whole amazing picture, book your ticket!