12.3.2016 Port Aransas in Nurces county, TXS is a small place with its economy based on its beautiful sea beach and tourists like us. With quite a number of small and big hotels and a number of private houses rented to the tourists, it looks like a pretty newly developed one. India’s 50,000 km of sea and river fronts can easily be developed for well planned tourist destinations contributing as a huge source of revenue to enhance GDP. I wish a dynamic cabinet minister can take up the work. With increasing affluence of the younger generation, it is the need of hours and many startup can come in this field too. Our tourist destinations lack many aspects and that must get its due attention. While driving from Austin to this place on the Gulf of Mexico, we passed through huge chunk of barren land mass of US. One another surprising aspect was the natural beds of flowers that grow along the both sides of the expressways.
13.3.2016, Sunday: Went for a good morning walk on the beach with Satya, one of the friends of Rajesh, a graduate from IIT, Kanpur at 7.20 AM. He had come for his Ph. D at Stanford. I was surprised to hear his story. Satya got frustrated with the lack of attention of the guide professor and finally decided to join industry rather than pursuing his doctorate. Now both Satya and his wife Sweta work in Austin and are blessed with one brilliant daughter Riya and a son, Ayush. As it appeared from his conversation, the professors use the students to work for their own papers and hardly bother about the research work of the students. While discussing, I talked about some of my suggestions to the government about improving the badly required quality of education in India with Satya: The centre, state and even reputed private enterprises such as HCL’s Nadar and Wipro’s Premji must collaborate and set up High Schools on the model of Army Schools, Kendriya, Navodaya, and Kashturba Gandhi Vidyalayas at least one in every rural blocks of India, if not in every panchayat. Additionally, all the existing good private and government high schools of proven quality must increase its intake capacity by 5-10 times in next five to ten years. A similar approach must be taken for the institutes of higher education such as IITs, IIMs, and IISc. Instead of establishing new ones, the government and the institutes must increase its intake capacity by incremental increase in all related infrastructures. Satya confirmed that all the high schools in US have students in thousands and so do the great universities. We kept on talking and walking till point 13. Because of high humidity, initially I experienced some breathing problem and a little giddiness too. I reduced my pace. It was so great an experience. …. I could capture the flying seagulls and the wonderful sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico. It was a great experience to be with this group of four young families. Kids added to the enjoyment. They all were too happy and catered to two of us, who were the elderly ones in their 70s.
A Day on Banyan Beach: It was a little different way to enjoy the beach for me this time. While sitting on the beach I kept on remembering the younger days, be it during the technical tours of IIT days when I never missed any opportunity at Marina, Chennai or Juhu in Bombay, be it on Swansey-on-Sea during my first visit to UK, be in our holidays at Digha or Puri, and also in US in earlier trips after retirement. However, this time Yamuna can’t move and I felt shy enough not to join the youngsters. But it was no less a pleasure with kids making castles, younger ones playing with waves, some making their kids happy, and some playing with a soccer ball. But the multicoloured kites were very attractive ones. Rajesh took some photographs. I could have stayed back. The songs of the waves of the Gulf of Mexico were good enough attraction for me. But we returned for our lunch and Yamuna had to rest. We stayed back.
14.3.2016 Port Aransas, It was cloudy and misty morning on the Banyan beach, when I went alone for the morning walk at 7.30, but the waves were as charming as ever. The crowd is no more. The beach had only few morning walkers and those engaged in cleaning it of odd trashes. For me the special attractions were those few RVs and some tourists who had stayed in the tents in the night. I went up to point 15 from 5 to complete my quota of 40 minutes. On return I found everyone busy in winding up, collecting all the belongings, trashing, cleaning the appliances and utensils of the property owner and placing them at the right place. Vinay had been taking great care of us. He offered a real nicely prepared tea. By 11.30, we left. On the way back to Austin, Rajesh handed over the key of the house to the real estate agent. Surprisingly, the climate was the best yesterday for holidaying and today it has gone gloomy. This system of short duration holiday rental properties is still not very popular and established back home in India. I would have been renting my Haridwar flat, if possible.