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Taste of India

Created date

April 27th, 2010
MA_0510_india_elephant
MA_0510_india_elephant

The story of Carolyn Payne s recent trip to India actually begins in September 1965, when she and her husband welcomed an Indian student into their Boston-area home.Brooksby Village, to his youngest daughter s wedding in Goa, India. The plane ticket would be his gift. Payne accepted the invitation. It was just kind of a splendid, late-in-life adventure, Payne says of her ten-day trip. She traveled to India with a college friend of Chauhan and the friend s wife. The three began their trip in Mumbai, where they toured the Taj Mahal and explored some of the city on foot. The thing we noticed most [was] the contrast from being inside a very upscale hotel just around the corner was abject poverty and refuse in the streets, Payne says. From the dichotomies of Mumbai, Payne and her fellow travelers flew to Goa for the three-day wedding festivities. Being a prominent motherly figure to Chauhan, Payne was given the front seat on the small plane, beside a distinguished man who turned out to be a famous Indian actor, Salman Khan.

Festive Goa

The first two days of wedding events were nontraditional and included a lavish enchanted forest themed party with belly dancers and acrobatic performers. Payne admired the guests spectacular dress and remarked on the sensation of almost forgetting she was on the coast of the Arabian Sea. The third day marked the traditional wedding ceremony, followed by a party in a large hall. Even before dinner was finished, the younger crowd had begun dancing. I could just feel myself beginning to dance, Payne says. I made my way to the dance floor the next thing I knew, here s Salman Khan, the famous Bollywood star, and me dancing together. In between the parties, she and her cohorts visited a spice plantation with elephants, one of the trip s highlights for Payne. I would go back in a heartbeat, Payne says of India. Her trip provided what she calls a tiny taste of Indian society. She would recommend India to anyone as a travel destination and would advise others in her age group to connect with contacts there first. Back at Brooksby, Payne reflects on the experience: I think I have a deepened feeling of being grateful for my creature comforts. She adds, I came back feeling like my life physically was very comfortable.

On the go

Despite the comforts of her home at Brooksby, Payne will travel to Lynchburg, Va., this month for her 65th college reunion. Always an adventurer, she is contemplating turning the event into a road trip with stops to see friends and family in North Carolina and Tennessee. I just think I need to put my oar in and paddle, she says.

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