India – Part 2 Kolkata

Today was supposed to be an easier day but it turned out to be anything but.
After a late breakfast (this is a glorious hotel by the way) there were two interviews, first with the Telegraph and then the Times of India.

Then it was out to Rabindra Bharti University to speak on Australian Children’s Literature and me the writer but as these snaps will show the conditions at this university are not what we are used to at home nor at any of the places I have visited here. The students thought they were lovely and not only was this room filled but there were students outside the door and in the hallway. Imagine an aussie university like this. But I loved speaking to the students … again they were so pleasant and courteous and wanted to know more and more.
And when question time started I picked a real strange one who asked some rather crazy questions – and who would not stop at one. I had to put on my teacher presence and make her return to her seat. One of the wonderful tasks from the Australia – India Council is the facilitation of what i have been doing. There are courses here on Australian Culture and Literature – and that is glorious.

from the podium

notice the desks

from the rickety stage
entrance to the building. it was dark and dingy and NO work place safety laws were followed

Driving to the university and back was hairy! I was a little rattled! We were delayed by they SLOW traffic.

Something to do with elections here – the most colourful part of a rather dark looking city

Back to the hotel for a photograph for the Times – which was supposed to be done this morning at the interview and added to our late arrival at the university – and then straight out again to the Oxford Bookstore for another session. Hardly any kids (many schools were closed today due to the local election) but some wonderful adults. There were two more interviews, the Telegraph again and another I can’t remember – she was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t give her any insights into a naughty childhood.

yes my head DID hit the steel rafters

notice the banner they made!

And then some shopping at one of the local markets where I was haggled and was pursued. One trader was such a pest that he followed us all over the stores. I walked out of another when they pestered toooooo much but a few nice pieces I have. Was a bit freaky in the markets. I didn’t quite feel secure and relaxed so shopping was not too much fun!

So now I am packing. This time tomorrow night I am homeward bound. Love it here in India. They really need the support and the encouragement. There is a hunger here.

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