What a funny day.
This morning we visited a 19th Century boys' school, still in operation, called La Martiniere College. Built in the late 1700s by a wealthy and eccentric French businessman working for the British East India Company, the palatial complex is a mix of European and Islamic influences, for a stunning eclectic mix. It has a very interesting history, including a role in the Indian Mutiny, 1857, not to mention a link to Kipling's 'Kim' who supposedly went there. Today it remains a prestigious boys' school, from 'nursery level' to pre-university. We were fortunate that we visited at the exact time they were celebrating a reunion of past graduates. The bonus was that there was a large group of students wandering around as guides. Several extremely polite, well spoken fellows followed us around impressing us with their knowledge, each trying to outdo the other. We actually had a fabulous time.
So now to the reason for today's title.
Somehow we inadvertently assisted one of the boys to escape from the College for a few hours in a scene out of a Monty Python movie. Upon heading out of the grounds, we were stopped by a young man of about 14, whose name was unpronounceable. His nickname 'DVD' was much easier to remember. We had a long and involved conversation, during which we were joined by Dr. Bharti, a chemist who spends his days off seeking out foreigners he can pin down to speak English with. Twice during the conversations DVD ducked and hid because someone went by on a motorbike (a headmaster perhaps?). As we pressed our need to go (time for coffee), DVD insisted he show us the way. So off we went through the gates: DVD on his bicycle in his crested uniform, Dr. Bharti jumping onto his motorbike to join in, and us jogging behind trying to keep up. They both offered to piggyback us, but that wasn't too appealing. Lo and behold along comes a rickety old cycle rickshaw that we hop into with enough room for 1.5 persons. What a motley crew - us in the rickshaw, DVD (aka Ferris) holding onto the rickshaw as he cycled alongside, and Dr. B driving in circles around us. Down the road we go, merging onto a major traffic artery with every form of conveyance known to man whizzing by. OMG I thought, we're going to die! Around 2 traffic circles we went. Dr. B soon gave up the chase, and DVD began to look more nervous as we got further from the College, and he still couldn't find a coffee shop (he thought tea would suffice - not!). Soon he left us at a western style restaurant after asking us to buy him a take-out lunch, which we did. A very bizarre day.
The wonderful boys of La Martiniere:
Don with Dr. B:
Me in the bicycle built for 1.5: