Tony couldn’t believe his mum was coming to India. His memories of her vacuuming carpets twice a day and keeping her house meticulously clean made him wonder how she would cope.
We drove to Delhi to pick Betty up. The last time she had seen Asha was when she was 9 months old and it was her first time meeting Zoë. They loved each other instantly. It was so moving to see them with their Nana. They had no idea what they were missing until that moment. They were all over her and she enjoyed every minute of it.
Christmas was spent in Mussoorie. James and Willi put on an incredible lunch for us at their house. Betty fell in love with everyone. They also fell in love with her. She became everyone’s Nana. She loved hearing their stories and would sit for ages just listening. Hiram loved chatting to her. He talked very fast and in an accent she wasn’t used to. After a particularly long chat, she came to me and said, “Lin, I didn’t understand a word he said.” We had a good giggle.
After Christmas we made our way to Delhi and onto a train headed for Goa. We left our jeep at the YMCA and got a taxi to the station. We were running late so Tony told the driver to get there “jaldi se.” He took off like a rocket, winding in and out of the traffic. Betty thought she was going to have a heart attack. Her heart was pounding by the time we got to the station. We ran for it and managed to get on just before it started moving.
The eighteen-hour train ride was interesting for Betty. The Indian style, hole-in-the-floor-toilets were a challenge when the train was rocking from side to side. She took it all in her stride and didn’t complain once. In fact we didn’t hear her complain once about anything. She was amazing.
We spent the night with our friends Arun and JoyAnn Philip and their children Yohaan and Priyanka. It was fun catching up. We laughed ourselves silly at the most ridiculous things. Yohaan teased and irritated the girls until they cried, but they all woke up good friends the next day.
We flew to Goa and went straight to the Watkinson’s flat. They were away and said we could stay there for a few days. We then settled into “C” Roque, which was where we stayed for three weeks. It was amazing. The rooms were simple, right on the sand and there was a shack restaurant right on the beach. That was where we had all our meals and watched the sun set on the ocean every evening. The girls made lots of new friends and we enjoyed seeing our Goan friends again. James and Willi were also on holiday and were staying in a room next to ours. It was during one of our many conversations that James mentioned that he had not been baptised as an adult. There was no time wasted. We drove to a beach up the coast and both James and Betty were baptised in the ocean. What a day that was.
After an amazing beach holiday, we made the long trip home. Mussoorie was a white wonderland. Within twenty-four hours we went from building sandcastles to making snowmen. In two months, Betty had almost seen it all.