Archive for November, 2006

Catching up

November 24, 2006

It has been some time since I posted.  For the moment I have given up trying to post pictures as the procedure is very cumbersome and I am constantly using an internet cafe for posting and they are not that well equipped.  So sorry.

After the birthday of Baha’u’llah celebrations, we went to a hill station that is about the same level as Mary’s peak.  However, I made the big mistake of eating something there.  The result was instantatenous.  I had a terrible problem the next day.

However, on our way back from the hill statiuon, we stopped at a campsite where my father ran a school for teachers.  I have some nice pictures of the old house as well as the school I went to in 4-7 grades.

We needed to rest the next day because of my problem and be ready for a surprise birthday partyt thrown for me by my nephew.

We had 20 people, and it was a catered birthday party that everyone enjoyed.

The day before we left Bangalore, we took my nephew and family and a few others to dinner (11 in all), and everyone ate very well at about $ 3.00 each that included a main course, appetizers, drinks, dessert, etc.  This was a restaurant 5 houses from where I had grown up in the 50’s.  In fact the street is completely unrecognizable having been converted completely into a business road rather than houses.  A sad scene fo rme. 

We did some local shopping the next few days all in Bangalore as we started getting ready to leave for Hyderabad, another big electronics/Biomedical town that has been taken over by the Multinationals.

We got here by a plane and was met by my nephew at the airport.  His father (my brother) passed away 20 years ago this year.  I met his wife and family for the first time and we enjoyed visiting each other very much.


Birthday of Baha’u’llah

November 13, 2006

On sunday Nov 12, we rented a cab and went clear across town to participate in the celebrations of the Birth of Baha’u’llah. 

The Baha’i center is in the process of moving to this new center that looks like an old school with a nice enclosed area on a fairly busy street.  It took us an hour to get there on Sunday traffic.  I can imagine that it would take twice as long on a week night.

We were earmly welcomed by the friends.  Two young girls handed us a flower as we entered the area.  We were directled to an open area under a tree.  They set up a stage, a mike, and about 100 chairs.

The progrm started around 11:15 AM, and consisted of two young men acting as MCs.  One was an American (from his accent) and the other was an Indian who would sometimes transalate in to Kannada, the local language.  They started the program with some music and sing alongs including some we hear in Corvallis – “If you are happy you can clap..”, “Down by the riverside”, some songs in Kannada.  Then the formal program started by the MCs inviting an older couple (Persian) to come and light a lamp.  The lamp (an oil lamp) in a tall brass stem standing on the floor, somewhat like what you would see in many hindu temples. 

Then they invited three children and come and sing, followed by a larger group of children.  The then had two kids one reciting a sanskrit passage that told the story of the two great Hindu epics the story of Rama, as well as the story that the Bhagavad Gita forms a part of.  There was a number of people holding symbols of various religions as they introduced the story of Baha’u’llah and used the opportunity to invite the audience to join in bringing out the highlights of His message.

After some prayers, they had a game of charade with aout half the audience participating.  We had participants from Malaysia, Africa, the US, Europe, Thailand, China, Tiwan, Singapore  and people from several other states from India.  Sometimes they had to translate in more than one language.

Then they were going to serve lunch.  But because of our tight schedule, we left after the program.  We probably will not see the friends again here.  We will probably go to a feast on Nov 22 in Hyderabad where they will be speaking a different language Telugu (that is my mother tongue).

We met Kevin, an American who has been in India for 3 years with his wife Brianna and two kids.  He is involved in getting software companies set up to international standards.  he said his father lived in Oregon many years ago.

Solar heat and other things

November 11, 2006

One of the things you we are finding out is the amazing progress made in this state about conservation.

All new houses are required to have a solar system installed as well as a collector of all rain water. Every new house has a tank for storing water.  Apparently after a severe drought, they instituted this 5-6 years ago.  I have already descibed the heating system.  There is heating oh homes because the temperature rarely goes bloe 60 deg F.

Another interesting thing we saw on the road is in small villages where they grow a certain type of millet, it is harvest time now, so thay pick their harvest and lay it the public road.  There is not much traffic and cars help the millet out of the husks.  It is a wonderful sight.

It was quite common to see village huts with cow dung cakes on its side.  All that is now gone.  Apparently, the village can collect cowdung, produce gas that is fed into each house by pipe.  if you have more than 10 cows, you can develop your own fuel for cooking.  The residue left is used for organic farming which is now taking a big resurgence following the debacle of Monsanto’s presence in India.  Apparently when Monsanto started to patent long traditional grains of India and different regions, people arose and forced Monsanto out of India.  There was also much opposition yo genetically modified seeds.

There was also a backlash against Enron who had worked a special ddeal with one of the state governments.  This was voided and this country saved ~ 30 billion dollars, and did it legally.


Visit to a town where I lived 60 years ago

November 11, 2006

On our way back from Hampi, we decided to go by a city called Madhugiri (literally means hone mountain) where I lived from 1941-1946, where I went to the elementary school for a few years.  I had a vivid memory of the location of the house we lived in, but no address.  As you can imagine, the town has grown a lot in 60 years.  All I could say was the house was near a middle school.  When we asked the locals, they said “O now there are two government middle schools”.  We passed the middle school, but it was surrounded by a wall that I had no memory of.  So we knocked on people’s homes trying to locate, and finally we saw it.  We ended asking people in their 70’s or 80’s to jog their memory and we found our house at last.  Spoke briefly to people who lived there now. It was a true Ah Haw moment. 

Once we finished this visit, we are on our way to bangalore, and we had a flat tire.  I was wondering when we would have one, and it happened in a small village.  Luckily, there was facilities to get it fixed.  At this point we were surrounded by small children and later joined by their mothers.  They had all kinds curiosity questions.  They wanted to look at a dollar bill, wanted to know what my caste was, how many kids we had.  I spoke to a lot of them in telugu (my mother tongue) which pleased them even more.  I woman about 25 had one child and was very curious about jeannie.  She wanted to know if she (Jeannie) knew how to wrap a sari.  When I asked how many kids she had, she said one (the girl she was holding), and her mother in the background shouted “One child is enough”.  It was a very unique and special experience most would not have.

During our journey, we saw lots of sugar cane, peanuts.  Our driver is a big fan of peanuts. On our way he stopped a bullock cart carrying peanuts as they had pulled them off the ground and the fellow gave a whole bunch of them to us.

people were very friendly and very curious.  They have not seen many Indians with foreign wives, so this is all a very new experience for them.

At Hampi, we saw some school children following Jeannie around and wanted to shake her hand.  As soon as she started to do this, the rest of the kids (30-40 of them) wanted to do the same.  I think Jeannie was a bit overwhelmed.

Lots of little experiences make us more aware of the peoples of the world.  

Visiting ruins of an old empire

November 11, 2006

On Wed Nov 8 (before we knew anything about US election results) we left Bangalore by car to Hampi, a place hosting the ruins of an empire that collapsed 500 years ago.  This place is about 260 miles from here.

Hiring a car and a driver is a common practice particularly when visitng from abroad.  because it can fit our schedule and is relativel cheap.  It cost us $ 35.00 per day for driver, car and gas.

We took off at 8 am and traveled on India’s national highway 4.  It is a nice 4 lane toll road.  The toll was Rs. 21 ($0.50).

Just like you find on US highways whenever there is construction going on, no workers are found.  They must all be hiding somewhere or are out to lunch.  That practice has migrated here as well.

Once we left the national highway, sections of the road were quite bad.  Whatever we ate would be thoroughly agitated the food in our stomachs.

As we were driving, we passed through a town where I was born.  I did not have any knowledge of how to find that house owned by my mother’s parents.  So we skipped that adventure and continued.

We arrived at our destination, a very dusty town called Hospet that was established over 500 years ago by a king of the empire I will describe later to enable commerce for the citizens while his palace focused on commerce for the wealthy.

My sister, bless her heart, anticipated that getting breakfast on the road would be difficult and she she packed some food for us.  (This was the practice wen I was growing up because there were very few tourist facilities. 

We took a brief peak at our destination, and called it a day.  That is when I logged onto the internet and heard about the US elections.  It received some coverage on the TV news stations something like the Indian version of CNN.  There is no Fox news here.

We hired a private guide for the day and started out the next morning at 9:30 am. 

From about 10th to 16th century this area was ruled by Hindu kings except for a brief period when muslims ruled here.  The place of our visit is a designated as a World heritage site by the UN.  It covers an area of 25 sq.kms (about 10 sq. miles).  The area is at the southern bank  of a river called Tungabhadra.  A dam was constructed in the area 60 years ago, and the agriculture is very lush (sugar cane, peanuts, rice, millet).  The area has huge boulders some of them 20-40 meteres in diameter.  The rocks come in all shapes and it is a spectacular site to behold.

We entered a valley that gave us a first glance of what we were about to behold.  What a site indeed.  The area was named Vijayanagar (Victory town) in 1500’s by a dynasty that made this area the capital.  A key emperor in 1510-30, was a patron of the arts, and also a warrior.  many of the temples built here were done during this period.  This was a major hindu stronghold while the northern part of India was under muslim rule.  In the last decades of the 16th century, the muslims defeated the empire and destroyed most of the idols in the hindu temples.

 The key emperor I mention here also welcomed other faiths – muslims, christians, buddhists, jains had their impact here as well.  They were all in the royal court.

Except for one temple that is active today, all other temples here are hindu gods that were damaged and thus no worship takes place here.  They are all accessible.  They are still digging more stuff in the area.

There are many things I can tell you about these ruins.  A spectacular part of it is an ancient temple that has in front of it a chariott carved in stone.  It is a classic sight.  The chariott was a show piece and was never used.  Another facinating part of this temple was “singing columns”.  You would not believe it unless you saw it and even then it is very difficult to believe.  These columns are roughly 2′ high, 4-5 inches in diameter nesting in another column.  They said this all one piece of rock.  Our guid tapped gently on the column and you could hear musical note “do re me ..” in one set of columns, one column had the sound of a drum, a metal noise.  we heard it all.  We were told that in the days of the golden age of the empire, the sound could be heard in the court yard as the emperor held his audience called durbar.

The archeology department is trying to fix some problems.  They have not figured out how to raise some very heavy stones to the roof.  Makes you wonder how it was done before.

We saw a Lotus palace for the queens of the day to relax, a Queen’s bath with a massage area, an elephant stable, a large staue of the elephant God (7 meters high), and a smaller version of the same.  Everywhere we went we saw a shopping row for the royalty and their guests of jewlery, animals etc.

We ended up an exhausting day.  I will post the pictures after I have labelled them all possibly tomorrow.

We will try to go to the birthday of Baha’u’llah today.

That was our adevnture to Hampi.


About Bangalore Part 2

November 8, 2006

More about Bangalore and the food we have had thus far.

All the traffic lights in Bangalore are solar powered with a battery back up.  At every traffic signal, there is also a timer that counts down to when the lights change.  So often many motorists turn their engines off for 60-75 secs as the lights stay that long.

Many homes have water heated by solar power.  The water tank at the roof has two compartments; one for cold water to be pumped up there, and another tank that is insulated well and has heating coils.  The heater can be solar poweeed or switched to regular power during days when there is no sun.  It is very effective and there was plenty of hot water for us and everyone else.

Food – We have certainly had a wide variety.  In both the houses we have stayed, chapati (think of it as a whole wheat tortilla) is the staple carbohydrate.  Everyone in these two families have reduced eating rice substantially.  This is one big change I saw.  Usually with food we had different curries served every day.  One day we had potato curry, several days we had green bean curry I make in the States that many of you have tasted; I found that I could add carrots to it as well.  We had a lot of curry using one of my very favorite vegetablrd Cayote squash.  In my sister’s home they had a tree on the roof top and was yielding plenty of the vegetable.  We also had vegetables that are not usually available in the US – bitter squash, s sqash that has a very thick skin and looks about the size of ordinary cucumber.  My sister made a variety of mixes based on certain type of dal she roasts, mix with chillie poweder, coriander, and a mix of many species. They are very delicious.  I will try to get a bottle when we return.

Almost every meal ends with yogurt, usually home made.  What they do is heat up the yougurt and stop just before boiling, cool it and at the right temperature add culture.  It is usualy ready afterwards in about 6-7 hours.  She then refrigerates it.

We of course had sambar, soup like a stew, pilafs of various kinds.  One day my sister fixed a angel spaghetti, home made from a machine my mother used to use 50 years ago.  My mother used to do it a few times a year as this can be big production.

Coffee with milk and sugar is the first drink everyone has.  Sometimes fruits are available in the eveing.  We have been drinking bottled water or boiled water here to be on the safe side.

Jeannie is learning crocheting from my sister.  My sister is an excellent teacher and ensures that Jeannie got it right after many tries.  The young man Arjun would say to Jeannie “treble is trouble for you?”

Children work here very hard.  My nephew keaves at 8:30 am and does not return until 4:15 pm.  He then spends an hour playing what else cricket on the street with neighbors.  Then he comes home and starts his homework that continues until 8:00 pm, eats, watches TV with others and goes to bed around 10 pm.  He gets up around 6:15 am and does more homework or gets tested for an exam he may have by my sister.  Everyone pays a lot of attentioon to his education, his parrents as well as my sister and her daughter Meera who also lives here.

People wander off by 9 am and this gives my sister a break for several hours until she starts lunch preparations.

We have been part of these activities for 3 weeks now and are now in the fourth week.  In about 10 days or so, we will head north gradually, and work on Chennai and its beauty in early January because it is raining there now and hopefully it will let up by then.  In addition, we want to be in Delhi before it gets too cold.

That is it for today.  We traveled 350 kms from Bangalore in 6 hours and are ready to do a lot of sight seeing of an old ruins from an empire 500 years ago.  We plan to have lot of pictures to be uploaded by Sunday into several albums.

Bye for now

About Bangalore

November 6, 2006

Some of you asked about weather etc here.

Bangalore is a city with a population over 6.5 million people.  It was about 1/5 th the current size when I was growing up here.

The weather here is usually mild summers (not more than 90 deg F ); it is 3000 ft aboe sea level.  Winters are very mild as well usually does not go below 60 deg F.  Rainy season is usually from July – Oct; we have had some rain since we arrived here.

Bangalore of course has become the IT hub of India and call center for many companies and governments in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and France.

The difference I see since the last time I was here is

1.  There are very few bicycles compared to the days when I was growing up.

2. There are many motor bikes, and fewer scooters.

3.  Lots of auto rickshaws – three wheelers that can transport 2-3 people.  They all run on Liquid Natural gas.

4.  Many many many cars – Toyota, Honda, Hundai, local brands, Suzuki, occassional European models, but almost no US brands.  All cabs are required to run on Liquid Natural gas.

5. The town has shopping malls that are very new.  Some resemble Singapore malls.

6.  Young women (15-30) are seen often in pants, designer jeans, and not saris.  Older women wear saris, however younger women wear saris for important occassions such as festivals, weddings etc.

7.  Every one from the street sweeper, a cooli, to housewife has a mobile.  Apparently a few years ago, they gave incredible incentives to own Mobile phones and boy did people ever take advantage.  In my sisters home there are 5 Mobile phones, in my brother’s house there are 4, etc.  The phone numbers here have 8 digits just like in Australia, and the quality of phone connection is excellent.  I took a call from my sister-in-law from California and it was as if she was next door.

Traffic – it is very very bad.  Except in some areas where the police direct the traffic, it is a free for all.  People have not developed courtesy in driving.  Evryone for himself/herself.  Sometimes, you can see 4 people on a motor bike.  A man driving  a with a kid in front, a woman in the back seat with a kid on her arms – a fairly common site.  We have seen small 3 wheel trucks loaded up to the hilt and driving slowly on streets basically annoying everyone. 

Some roads are very good, but many roads are very narrow and full of people going somewhere.

There are many internet cafe’s and they have broad band connection and charge $ 50 per hour.  (just over a $ 1.00)

Because there are many languages spoken here, radio, TV and movies cater to the taste.  Movies tend to be in Kannada (a local state language), Tamil (language of a neighboring state), Telugu (another language from a neighbouring state) (I speak them all), Hindi (national language), and English.  Next week they are having a German film festival in this town.  TV channels include stations in all these languages with Soaps, religous programs, exercises, sports, and news channels.  In addition we get channels from UK (BBC), US(CNBC and CNN – International), Australian channels.

In sports, the country is mad for cricket.  It does not matter where a major teams are playing in the world, they are on TV here.  It is really a very big business.  There was a championship series that just ended Sunday when Australia won.  We had teams from Australia, SouthAfrica, new Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangadesh and Zembabwe.      They also play badminton, soccer, volley ball and field hockey, tennis.  The colleges have no sports teams like they do in the US.  All teams tend to be private clubs.

The streets in Bangalore have many English names as it was a major center for the military.  Thus we have a parade Road (now called Mahatma Gandhi Road), Cubbon park named for Col. Mark Cubbon, Fraser town, Austin town, Commercial street, Plain street, St Marks road etc.  There is a very nice statue of Queen Victoria proudly standing at the beginning of Mahatma Gandhi Road.

There also a lot of muslim influence in town as it had muslim rulers here 200 years ago.  There is a tie between US history and here.  In 1790’s after the revolutionary war was over in the US, Cornwallis the defeated general was posted to help the East India company and he launched several attacks on the muslim rulers and eventually defeated them.  In fact here he also drove the French away from the area.  The French had been helping the muslim rulers with amunition, and military planning.  This is where the was between the English and the French ended before the Napolean started it again a few years later.

Bangalore is often called a garden city because it has many  parks; fresh flowers are always available, and often street vendors come to your door hawking their merchandise.

Early morning (6-6:30 am), you hear street vedors selling vegetables of the day from their farm.  They are usually good, and you can even bargain with them.

There are over 45 engineering schools here (yes that is correct)  India turns out 300,000 engineers every year compared to 70,000 in the US.

ATMs are everywhere. 

People are busy and are everywhere.  I did not see lazy people.  yes there are beggers in certain areas.  They are a lot less visible than they used to be.

Prices are modest compared to what we play.  Some food items I buy at the Indian store in Corvallis (I pay $ 3.00), costs here $ 0.40.  Clothes and materials are typically about 50-70% below what we pay.  There are five star hotels that are expensive.  Good meal can be had for $ 2.00 in a decent restaurant.

The planes are getting cheaper to travel.  Smoking is no longer permitted in public buildings.  If they catch you, you are required to pay a fine of Rs. 300 and the policeman collects on the spot and gives you a receipt.  This is similar to what they do in Singapore.

The basic lay out of the city and road structure is very British.  Every major town has an inner and outer ring road that completely cirmscribes the city.  these roads tend to be broad and somewhat orderly. 

People get to work arund 9 am and work until 7 or 8 pm.  They work on saturdays as well. the wife of my nephew came home last night around 11:30 pm and she is off to work again this morning by 8:45 am.  The middle class here really works hard and have been rewarded handsomely in the past 10 years or.  However the lower middle class and the poor have a lot of difficulty.

We are attempting to go to the birthday celebrations of Baha’u’llah on the 11th.  I will write about this afterwards.

That is about it for now.  May be more after we travel on a train. 

Planning for the coming week

November 5, 2006

Today, we will spend time planning the travels for the next 10 days.  I made the commitment to my nephew that I will be at their house on Nov 15, 2006 which is my birthday.  The expectation is that we will use Bangalore as a base for the rest of November and star moving north by December 1.

Nov 1, 2006

November 5, 2006

Today is a special day in the country.  In 1956, the states were reorganized based on language into 16 states and all the languages were recognized.  This state is called Karnataka and the language spoke is Kannada, a dravidian language.  It is spoken by nearly 70 million people, and has a rich history in literature, arts, and music.

All around this city, there were massive celebrations.

In the afternoon we went to see my nephew and his family.  He is the son of my late brother who passed away in 1994.  My newphew and his family has a small agriculture business.  When we went to his house they were packing corn for local merchants.  They asked to taste the corn and “certify” it to be American as they had no idea how American corn tasted.  Their own clue was that they bought the seeds from a US company.

They have 2 children, a boy 20, and a girl 14.  The boy studies engineering with interest in environmental and reusuable energy studies.  We had a nice chat.

When we returned back to our base, we had a real surprise waiting for us. 

My sister had 10 children, the first two died as infants.  Of the remaining 8, 5 live in Bangalore.  Three sons and two daughters.  One of the daughters and the sons and their wives also like to sing. They all had gathered in the house, and started singing together from 6 pm until 9:30 pm.  They used a Karaoke microphone plugged into the TV.  Part of the microphone was also a library of songs that can be selected from a menu.  A movie song can start with a background music, lyrics are posted on the TV and you can sing.  Once you have completed the music, you get a ranking of how well you did on a sclae of 1-100.  It also covers classical music as well.  It was a lot of fun as everyone tred to sing, (some very well, while others so so). Everyone had a great time with each other. They had had invited some friends who also sang.

It was quite a site.  One young man sand a Beatles tune “Yesterday” specially for Jeannie. 

Apparently thuis has become a tradition in my sister’s family where everyone who lives in Bangalore gets together once a month or so and enjoy singing.  They all have excellent voices.  Music from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s rtc along with old hymns.  They all prepare a week ahead with the lyrics on special music.

My sister also joins them (she will be 80 in January). 

So ended the day with lots of fun and music.

Introducing my sister

November 5, 2006

My sister is an amazing woman.  She is going to be 80 in January.

I remember her very well as a child.  She used to escort us to school, keep an eye on us as children.  She went through high school and got married when she was 16 or 17 (I’m not quite sure).  She was married in a small town north of here during the second world war period.  Even today, I have vivid memory of her wedding which lasted 5 days.  The town we lived in at that time had no running water, and no electricity.  All the food was rationed during war, and my parents struggled to get rationing to feed nearly 150 people.

She had 10 children.  The first two died as infants.  She has 6 sons and 2 daughters.  The daughters are the youngest.

Her husband was in the insurance business and passed away in 1984 from lung cancer.

The children are all grown now, the youngest is 40.  her oldest son lives in Mumbai and owns a marketing comany.  His wife ives in Orlando Florida working as a software engineer.  He says that  he will immigrate to the US perhaps next year after he sells away the remaining part of his business to a British firm that already owns 51% of the business.

Her second son is an accountant who lives in Bangalore with his wife and son.  The son wants to come to US to study biotechnology.

Her third son and his wife are power couple.  He worked in Saudi Arabia, Scotland, and now works for Intel.  His wife is a senior manager at Intel and travels to the US 3-4 times a year.  Infact she is in Arizona right now attending some meetings near Phoenix.

Her fourth son works for a NGO on organic farming.

Her fifth son (where we are staying) is in the insurance business; his wife is a pathologist for a Swedish company Asta Zeneca.  They have a son 11 who is heavily into studies and cricket.  My sister stays with him.

Her last son works for Cisco in the US and comes here every 6 months or so and is a avid sportsman into hiking, running.  he lives in California.

Her first daughter was born just as I left India (so is 45 years old) and has one son.  She lives closeby.  She is a marvelous singer and she used to be in several groups when she was in her college days and before marriage.  They have one son who is a computer expert at 13.

The youngest daughter lives with my sister and she is an artist involved in a varety of fields including clothing, designs on clothes etc.  She has been an invaluable help for us.

My sister’s routine is very simple.  She had a hard life for many years, but her golden years have just been wonderful.  All her children are fiercly loyal to her and love her very much.  One could say that my sister raised them all, focused on their education.  My late brother in law was a passive person.

Even today, she gets up around 5:30 am, gooes to the kitchen and starts plans for meals every day.  She starts making “Chapatis”, a whole wheat tortilla, which is the main staple for them.  They are not eating as much rice as they used to.  She is in excellent health other than some pain in her knees (just like me). This must be genetic as my mother had it too.

As people get up, they get ready to go to work or to school, my sister feeds them breakfast; then she spends everyday from 9-10 am reading the newspaper (something that my mother always did), and keeps up what is going on in the world.  Then she spends time doind Soduku every day.  She told me that this keeps her mind alert.

She then takes a bath and says prayers for about 30-45 minutes and then relazes.  They don’t eat lunch until 1:30 or 2 pm.

When the grandson comes back from school around 4 pm, he goes out and plays for a while (cricket of course); when he comes back my sister works with him on his homework.  The other day I saw her talking to him about fractions, one day it was geography.  Often she might be in the kitchen and the grandson is hanging around her asking her about some topic from school.  She is his true teacher at home.  This is what she used to do to all her children.  She showed Jeannie crochet, and some other skills she picked up a long time ago.  I saw her watching through Jeannie’s practice runs very carefully as an excellent teacher.

She relaxes bywatching TV perhaps an hour a day.

She is very content with her life, has a very loving family that cares for her.  She has a marvelous attitude about her life, her family, and her siblings.  We are all very fond of her and all her children.

When I left India in 1961, all the boys ranged in age from 2 years to to 12 years.  Some of them followed my footsteps and studied Engineering, many used the text books I had left behind.

To my mind, she is a saint.