It is Valentine's day, and for the first time ever, an enormous multi-faith, multiple wedding has been arranged in Mt Abu, Rajasthan. It takes place in a big bowl of dust which is still called 'The Polo Ground', but which probably hasn't seen any polo played since the days of the Raj, when this pretty hill retreat was the holiday resort and sanatorium for British civil service officers and their families.
When I was twenty I dropped out of college and travelled alone, overland to India. I didn't tell my parents where I was until, some months after my disappearance, I sent them - from Mt Abu in Rajasthan - one of those thin blue airmail paper letters. It was 1973 and back then it was possible to travel through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan - the old hippy trail - not so much the Silk Road as the cheesecloth road.
British Indians have never felt more established than at this moment, and it is a great celebration of our vibrant democracy that should one aspire to the highest office in the land, the broader society would be in full support. What was an impossible pipe-dream to the displaced migrants in the 1960s, could perhaps be a near-distant reality.
I now know that style goes out of the window when on the road. You can forget your matching outfits, pretty hair accessories and *gasp* even makeup; when you travel comfort is king. That and finding confidence in leaving your room with unwashed hair, unshaved legs, a wet wipe shower and a spritz of eau de mozzie spray knowing that no one will judge you.
the most important people of all when visiting India are the ones who will help me to find a way through the chaotic maze of human life; my tour guides... I have picked up a smattering of Hindi, but it is of no use to me here in Odisha on the Eastern coast of India where the language spoken is Oriya.
As we head towards COP21, the critical climate negotiations taking place in Paris in December, anyone invested in the Global Goals should think seriously about having the word SUSTAINABLE emblazoned on our foreheads. It should be front, back and centre of mind at all times because without the S factor we risk losing advances that have been fought for and undoing gains that have been won.
Malnutrition is everyone's business but often seems to be nobody's responsibility. That is why leadership is so important. Unicef has taken the lead, and with governments and partners, made the reduction of child malnutrition their responsibility, inspiring others, including myself, to do so as well.