After the ITP finished and as summer was coming to an end, I left London for a one-month trip travelling around India. My own personal and academic interests aside, I was particularly excited about my first destination – Kolkata – as it meant I could catch up with Joyee! After attempting to acclimatise to the extreme heat and humidity, I arranged to meet Joyee at her museum, The Victoria Memorial Hall. It is a beautifully grand marble building set in large, well maintained gardens.
After meeting Joyee for tea in her office, she showed both me and my partner around the collections. Of particular interest to me were the portraits of key figures from the Independence Movement and the exhibition detailing the history of Kolkata. She also took us to the restoration where we met some of her colleagues who showed us their work preserving watercolours and wooden frames, and explained more about the problems they face such as high humidity levels. We spent the next few days in Kolkata visiting other museums and sights – including Netaji Bhavan, the ancestral home of Subhas Chandra Bose and home to the archives of the Netaji Research Bureau; the modern art gallery CIMA; and the Kalighat Kali Temple. Before leaving Kolkata we again met up with Joyee and her husband, who took us to a restaurant in a newer part of Kolkata, Salt Lake City.
After leaving Kolkata we continued to travel eastwards, stopping in Bodhgaya, Varanasi, Agra, Amritsar, McLeod Ganj and New Delhi. Each destination was so different, and we visited many places of worship, museums and historical sights. Some of my personal highlights included the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the India-Pakistan border closing ceremony at Wagah, the residence of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile in McLeod Ganj, and going to the cinema in Delhi to watch Bollywood movies!
However my holiday had to come to an end and in late September I returned back to the UK and have now moved to Cambridge to continue my studies.