In early 2013 I was seconded to work on an Open University project in rural Uttar Pradesh. We were based in Hardoi, a district capital with a population of about 125,000. Our duties were to go around the local schools to benchmark the spoken English level of both students and teachers.
The students were often both curious and very happy to see us.
Out in the countryside, I was told it was probably the first time they’d ever seen a white person, so I felt like a bit of a celebrity!
We passed a small market one day. On sale were some of the tiniest cauliflowers I’d ever seen, lots of kinds of lentils and some very gnarly carrots. I bet they taste great.
Back in Hardoi there wasn’t really anything to do in the evenings so my colleague Sonie took me out to try Aloo Tikki, a fried pattie of spiced potato served up with yogurt. I finished off with half of the biggest Gulab Jamun I’d ever seen.
So not a lot of fun to be had but it was an experience. After a couple of nights we drove home via Lucknow…