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From Helen Mackay (Class of 1974)
posted 15 March 2016

(Please click on photo to view it enlarged.)

I came to India at the end of 1962. My father worked for Qantas (the Australian airline) as the area manager for New Delhi, Karachi and Bombay (Mumbai) as Qantas flew to those cities. We lived in the Diplomatic Quarter on Kautilya Marg. The house still stands but is very dilapidated. I enrolled at the "old Taj" and started school on the first day at the new school. Originally, I was born in Scotland so "my flag" was the Scottish one; and it was displayed with flags of various nationalities represented in the school. It was a welcoming touch. The new school seemed so space age in its design at the time and very progressive in many ways. A great deal of the site was still under construction, and I remember part of our Hindi language class was to go around and ask the construction workers the Hindi name for various things. We asked the name of a large machine, and we were told it was a "Caterpillar" (the brand name). It is funny what memories get stuck. I also remember the athletics carnival and Arbor Day, when we tried to green the new site by planting a tree. My best friend was classmate, Linda Finlay, and my other friend was in the higher class, Susan Henken. Susan's father was the school Director. Geoffrey Reid helped me with math, which involved learning currency units from the USA. The Hindi I was taught in Class One by Mrs. Murphy came back to me in dribs and drabs and proved useful for the two weeks I toured Rajasthan. We left Delhi mid-1963 and despite very happy memories, I had no real interest in returning despite a lifetime of traveling.

I had two young friends transfer to work in Gurgaon recently and tales of their experiences prompted me to return for a "walk down memory lane". It was a very moving visit as so much came back to me that I had not thought about for so long. A great deal had not changed at all; and in others ways, India has moved on. A notable change is that there are so many more people and cars!!

In the intervening years, I qualified as a High School History/Geography teacher and taught for 35 years in Sydney, Australia. Now retired, I volunteer as a Heritage Tour Guide in Sydney and travel when I can. I learned to ride horses in Delhi, a passion that stayed with me all my life; and I still train and compete a horse. I was thrilled to find my old riding school still operates as The Children's Riding Centre; and they were very welcoming when I visited. I live on five acres in the outskirts of Sydney with dogs, chickens, cattle and sheep.

Kindest regards,
Helen Mackay

(Email dated 15 March 2016)



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