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Vidyaruchi is temporarily working as Bhante’s secretary. He writes: “Ashvajit has handed on the reins and will soon be retiring to a little cottage in Wales to live a more solitary and reflective life, and meanwhile Sthanashraddha, who will be Bhante’s next permanent secretary, will not be able to assume the post until August.
The most significant news of the last month is Bhante’s holiday to Somerset, his first excursion since moving to Adhisthana more than two years ago, and a sign of the extent to which his health is better now than even quite recently.
Bhante stayed with Paramartha in a spacious bungalow, whence they made excursions to Burnham-on-Sea, Cheddar Gorge, which Bhante had not seen before, and Glastonbury, including seeing the Tor, the site of his long visionary poem written in 1969.
Back at Adhisthana, Bhante continues as usual, attending to correspondence in the mornings, and seeing people in the afternoons when he has the energy. Among his visitors, of particular interest is Sudha Shah, an Indian writer and author of a book about the last king of Burma, The King in Exile, with whom Bhante has conducted a lengthy correspondence.
Sudha is writing a book about the annexation of Sikkim, from the point of view of the stories of three women who were involved: Hope Cook, who married the last Maharaja of Sikkim; Princess Kukula, the Maharaja’s sister; and the Kazini, the wife of L.D. Kazi, the Maharaja’s principal political opponent. Bhante knew all of these women, and all are mentioned in his memoirs. During their meeting, Sudha gave Bhante an account of her interview with Hope Cook, the only one of the three women who is still alive.