As my plane left Bombay for Bangkok on June 14 at 1 a.m. I was both excited and a bit apprehensive about the future. I had not been away from India before and this was going to be a new experience. I was leaving on lean from Indore University to Assumption University for a year: Who knew that it would be 18 years before I left Bangkok!!Early in the morning, when I reached Don Mueng airport (the then international airport in Bangkok); I was waiting to get my first glimpse of the city. Bangkok was grey and cloudy that morning as it normally is during the monsoons. When I reached Soi 24, Assumption University or Au at Huamak;the lovely buildings stood sentinel in the morning light. After a quick meeting with the President of the University I signed the necessary papers and joined the university. My teaching assignments would begin the following day!
AU is the first international university in Thailand. It’s iconic buildings and beautiful atmosphere are endearing. The place is reminiscent of old world charm and modern amenities. Students wore black and white uniforms and it was a surprise to learn that these were compulsory in all universities in Thailand. They wished faculty members politely with a “Sawasdee” joining their hands in gracefully in a “Namaste”. I was soon going to learn that Indian ways and habits have been incorporated into Thai life and this was my first eye opener.The next day I met the Chairperson of the Business English Department, Dr. Suthira Dungsamorsorn, who was both cordial and forthcoming. She updated me about the University and the subjects I would be teaching. Dr. Suthira was to become a good friend and guide in the years to come. The Department of Business English was housed in the new campus about 40 kms. Away from Huamak .
When I took the coach I had no idea that the campus I would see would be stunningly beautiful. As we enter the campus a stone in glittering gold color with AU imprinted on it stood at the entrance.
The main academic building had three wings with a huge tower called Cathedral of Learning at the center. This 35 story building houses the library.
The fourth wing has a statue of Mother Mary and Baby Jesus. A sala or pavilion with a huge pond skirts this end. At the little distance beyond is another larger lake with unique posse of horses in bronze. Beyond that is a beautiful church and a large conference hall.
AU has several faculties one of them is the Business English Department. It is housed in the third floor of the St. Raphael wing. I was briefed about the subjects I would be teaching. They were “ Critical and Analytical Reading” and “Reading in English Newspapers “. The critical subject had short stories and journalistic writing which had to be analyzed and studied intensively. While Reading in English Newspapers was teaching English using the Bangkok Post newspaper. Both subjects were interesting and I was glad that I would be teaching them.
It was also wonderful to know that several Bollywood movies had been shot here. Later I had the occasion to view some stars from India shooting dance sequences and also interact with them.