Aline Dobbie has been supporting my work in Nepal in its various incarnations for the past two decades. Indeed, she is one of that handful of really loyal supporters whom I have never actually had the pleasure of meeting! Once again Aline steps up to the plate as she shares a lovely little memoir of returning to the land of her birth – and of how she writes from the heart:
“Thirty-five years after leaving India the Land of my birth and where I grew up the aircraft touched down in Delhi. I was back. It was an emotional arrival and very soon filled with all the charms and challenges of India at midnight at an international airport in gentle chaos that astonished and overawed my husband Graham. The friend who had promised to meet us was not there – as it later transpired poor old darling she came and gave up on us as it took so long to emerge from immigration and luggage collection. We were destined to have an illiterate taxi driver try to find the address and thus my ancient Hindi sprang to life. Gra had his eyes on stalks and so it continued for a few days. India, it was so good to be back and yes, the country had changed but I seemed to meld into it and Gra found my body language now something he could understand!
Well I made three trips to India from November 1997 through to June 1998 and the experiences, the reunions, the adventures were astonishing. Thus, in the autumn of 1998 when facing the prospect of our eldest son tasked with a return to Bosnia as a British Army officer I was apprehensive on his account but felt that I could take my mind off his challenges by – writing a book. I did and India: The Peacock’s Call was the result and saw the light of day in June 2002. That was enjoyed and followed by India: The Tiger’s Roar in 2004 and then India: The Elephant’s Blessing in 2006. Then a Quicklook at India was commissioned to help business folk understand and respect India where they were attempting to do business. It is a fair old challenge for those not knowledgeable about the country.
A famous author said once that one should write about things one knows or has experienced. This I have done with love and understanding and research. Sometimes I become acerbic when talking about the many challenges that confront India but more often I speak with affection and awe at her great diversity, her beauty, her heritage, wildlife, wild places, holy rivers, valleys, jungles, beaches, music, art, cuisines, faiths and cultures and her Peoples. Ah India!
I have a new large book all waiting to be published. It had been commissioned by a Scots publisher who then behaved ‘strangely’, and it seemed that was the euphemism for lack of funds within six weeks of my book launch. The book encompasses journeys to 20 States of India.
Writing is something that works very often if it comes from the heart. Of course, accuracy and background knowledge are essential, but the enthusiasm must come from the heart. For me it does.
ChoraChori is a wonderful little charity doing the utmost good and I sincerely recommend it and its commitment and aspirations.”