Monday, 13 April 2009

India 2009 - wedding

The main reason for our return to Kolkata in February was to go to a wedding. Our friends Suve and Ellie had a traditional Hindu ceremony in Kolkata on Valentines day. Suve's family are from Shibpur and many relatives still live there and they were all very hospitable and made us feel welcome. One of Suves uncles gave us a little tour of the district, this picture was taken just near the Banerjee family home.
The first day of the celebrations took place in Shibpur and was a huge meal for friends and family of the bridegroom. There was a seemingly endless supply of wonderful food and Suve had a quite enormous plate to get through, all his female relatives stood behind him to tell him what order to eat it in! He doesn't have much of an appetite so some of the others had to help him out and tidy it up.

The main wedding service took place on the Saturday at a large marriage hall. The ceremony was very interesting to watch and at various points friends and relatives got involved. The priest was very patient with Ellie's dad as he struggled to get to grips with Sanskrit. Ellie and Suve looked fantastic in their wedding outfits.

Friday, 10 April 2009

India 2009 - homeopathy

We went back to Kolkata for a week in February this year to attend a wedding then spent a couple of weeks travelling around Chennai. While we were in Kolkata I was able to join Dr Banerjea for a couple of days in his homeopathy clinics. The Bengal Allen Medical Institue run an exchange every year for foreign homeopaths and this comprises a combination of lectures and clinic visits. I did this course in 2008 and it was a fantastic experience. The Institute runs free homeopathy clinics in various parts of Kolkata and we spent a great deal of time in these. They have a small van which acts as a mobile dispensary.
It always amuses me when people criticise homeopathy and say that people only appear to get better because they have a chance to talk about themselves for a while. In my clinic the first appointment would take 90 minutes to 2 hours, in these free clinics the first consultation could well be less than 5 minutes. Dr Banerjea has such a detailed knowlege of homeopathic remedies he regulaly sees around 50 patients in a 3 hour clinic and patients still get better without the long chats! A new clinic has recently been set up near Dr Banerjeas ancestral home which is near Barasat to the north east of Kolkata. Dr Banerjeas uncle was a Hindu priest and the house still has a shrine and a resident priest. A clinic building has recently been constructed in the grounds. The clinic is in a very rural area and as they don't get many foreign visitors we were a bit of an attraction. Myself and Camilla were sat by the window and regularly had small children jump up behind us to see what was going on!