While Jennifer and I hung out in the hospital, the rest of our team had the opportunity to have tea with the titular Maharaja of Travancore.
Jennifer and I are both massive royal history nerds and we were pretty devastated to miss such an incredible experience. Even though the monarchy in India was disbanded after they gained independence from the British in 1947, the family still holds the titular title and fulfills their duties as related to the Padmanabhaswamy Temple (which we visited on our first day in India).
The current Maharaja is the brother of the last Maharaja to have power, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma II. He died in 1991 and Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma III took over the title and responsibilities at that point.
Our driver had tears in his eyes when he got to meet him. He said he never imagined that he would have an opportunity like that. It was all he talked about for days.
So sweet. After visiting the king, they broke us out of the hospital.
The next morning (while we were schlepping around another factory), we got the most wonderful news. The Maharajah had some time in the afternoon that we could stop by to see him. We were thrilled. When we arrived, we spent about 30 minutes talking with his personal astrologer.
Astrology is very very different in India, it was extremely interesting and we had a million questions. It guides everything you do from how you dress, your hairstyle, your interests, and even your voice.
Eventually the Maharaja came out and we had the opportunity to speak with him for about an hour. He was fantastic, such an interesting man. I could have sat and listened to him talk for years.
We were asking him so many questions that he very graciously gave us copies of his autobiography and even signed them. I was just a little bit excited.
One of the best moments of my life right there. I was beyond ecstatic. I read the book on the trip from India to Dubai and it was excellent.
That evening, we had our last Rotary meeting (Praise tha Lawd). We somehow arrived an entire hour early, so we killed some time with stupidity.
I sure am going to miss my weirdo teammates. Love those dorks. Eventually, the meeting started and we gave our final speeches. And cried through every one of them. I had so many things I wanted to say, but once the tears started, I just went blank. I am not the most eloquent person when I’m crying.
After the speeches, we received Kathakali pictures that were sent over to us by the Maharaja. The astrologer presented them to us based on our age, and since I was the youngest I was up first. I received what he described as “love,” but I later learned that it was seductive love. If that’s not a cosmic joke then I don’t know what is.
Everyone loves a sweaty face. After receiving our prints, we posed for endless pictures.
I’m not going to be able to smile again for months. We also enjoyed our last Rotary dinner.
And with that, it was over. I won’t miss those nightly Rotary meetings, but I will miss the people we met there.