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July 7th, 2017

72 years ago today…

Sometimes, one really does need a “feel good” moment.

Actually, who am I kidding?

We all need feel good moments, all of the time.

So, after a miserable trawl through the morning papers which had nothing but gloomy news, it was with much delight that I saw my friend Catriona Child’s Facebook post this morning.

Catriona shared that today would’ve been her parents’ 72nd wedding anniversary.

Let me give you a little bit of background to this wonderful photo.

Catriona’s parents lived for many years in India, in the final days of British colonial rule.

But Tim Betts & Ursula Graham-Bower were no ordinary Brits.

These were 2 people who loved India with a passion, and who both had very special areas of interest.

Catriona’s father, Lt-Col Betts, was an expert in birds, especially the birds of south India and he wrote & published extensively.

Catriona’s mother…ah, now there’s an amazing story.

Ursula Graham Bower was known as the Naga Queen, and hers is a story of such adventure and such derring-do that you must, really must, try and get hold of her wonderful book about Nagaland, called “Naga Path” and her equally lovely book about Arunachal Pradesh, called “The Hidden Land”.

And so, today is the wedding anniversary of two people who loved India, who fought for India – people, trust me, just read about Ursula Graham Bower’s adventures – she was a spy during World War II, along with her Naga scouts who reported back on the Japanese activities.  Two people who wept they day they had to leave, just after Independence, and who missed India all their lives.

Here is their daughter’s note on this lovely old photo:

“Seventy two years ago today this couple married in the Anglican Cathedral in Shillong.  Father looks like the cat that’s got the cream; mother looks anxious but that could be because of all those kukris around her head!”

See.  Don’t you feel better already after reading such a sweet memory?

3 comments to 72 years ago today…

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