SUNDARGARH: A bond of friendship formed on social media three years back brought a British-origin professor of Chodang University in South Korea to non-descript Rangadhipa locality of Sundargarh town.
James Gavin David (45) had befriended Ankit Pandia (20) of Rangadhipa on Facebook and both of them used to chat on WhatsApp.
The professor, in order to meet his social media friend, arrived in the town on December 30 last year and stayed with Pandia’s family till January 2. James said before coming to the country, he and Ankit used to discuss each other’s culture, hobbies and interest. “I had told him if possible, I will travel to India as I had never been to the country before,” he said.
James savoured the local delicacies and loved ‘masala chai’ (spiced tea) here. Ankit said he and James used to share pictures and the latter, after seeing some of his aircraft models, expressed the desire to visit India.
“I am glad James took out time to visit me from South Korea via Thailand and Kolkata,” he said. The second year Diploma student of Sundargarh Engineering College stays with his father Chintamani, mother Bandana and grandmother. His sister Monalisa is a B Tech student at Bhubaneswar.
Monalisa said she, Ankit and their mother along with James visited the Sarafgarh irrigation dam, Hirakud dam and a few other places of tourist interest and all of them enjoyed the quality time spent together. Chintamani said the family was astonished to see James taking the pain to visit them all the way from South Korea. This shows the value of human relations. James is now like a member of our family,” he said.
Apart from learning about the local culture, James picked up some sentences in Odia like ‘Namaskar, kemiti schho (greeting, how are you) ? ‘Ei babu eithi aa (O mister come here). Ankit said James has promised to visit him again.