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September 24th, 2017

Swanning around in Delhi

Delhi is not known as a city with a ballet culture – heck, we don’t even have a proper theatre here – but, oh joy of joys, the ballet came to town this weekend.

“Swan Lake”, no less, with only a small company of dancers, and recorded music, but it was ballet ๐Ÿ™‚ and the hall was packed last night ๐Ÿ™‚ and there is nothing wrong that an evening of Tchaikovsky can’t put right ๐Ÿ™‚

We were 2 mother & daughter combos, which is always, always a good thing.

Despite endless ticket hassles, the total brunt of them borne by […]

Click to continue reading Swanning around in Delhi

September 21st, 2017

The best story of today!

Just a woman and a parrot, right?

Wrong!

This is no ordinary parrot.

This is Buddy.

Buddy just ordered ยฃ10-worth of stuff from Amazon, by imitating his owner’s voice. The photo shows Ms Pretorius showing Buddy what he’d ordered ๐Ÿ˜›

Fantastic story, that totally made my day.

Enjoy!

And yes, folks, this is indeed my “Just because” story of the day.

Between you and me, one of the best things

view full post » […]

Click to continue reading The best story of today!

September 20th, 2017

A 4000 year-old pot called Kim

Just a month ago, we were up in Kashmir, celebrating a friend’s 80th birthday.

At the time, I’d shared photos with you from the beautiful little town of Gulmarg, and in one blog post, I’d also told you about the parlous state of tourism – here’s the link again, in case you missed it first time round.

Sadly, most of the news coming out of Kashmir is bad.

Terrorist attacks, reprisals, more attacks, more reprisals and so the sad circle of violence goes on…and, unsurprisingly, tourism takes a huge hit.

So it was with great delight that I read a […]

Click to continue reading A 4000 year-old pot called Kim

August 25th, 2017

The highs and the highs, and then the lows of India.

Just 2 days ago, I shared with you the news that the Indian Supreme Court had ruled that the triple talaq (used in Islam to divorce a woman) is unconstitutional, marking an amazing success for Muslim women in this country.

Here’s the link, if you missed my original post.

Continuing the fabulous news, today the papers were full of another huge decision by the Supreme Court.

In a unanimous decision (yaay!) a 9 bench court of Supreme Court judges ruled that privacy is a fundamental right, and is part of the freedoms guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

This ruling is […]

Click to continue reading The highs and the highs, and then the lows of India.

August 23rd, 2017

An important week for India’s women

We are living in interesting times in India.

Well actually, & let’s be honest here, India is always interesting.

India is also – let it be said – oftentimes frustrating, irritating, sometimes hilarious, sometimes frightening.

But never dull and routine.

Oh no.

India categorically does not do dull.

And now, in the space of a couple of days, there have been two very interesting events here.

Over the past few days, 2 judgements have taken place that – theoretically at least – will forever change the future for millions of women in this country.

Yesterday’s judgment by the Supreme Court, […]

Click to continue reading An important week for India’s women

August 23rd, 2017

Now about all those flowers in that meadow

When you stay in a pretty little town called Gulmarg, which literally means “meadow of flowers”, stands to reason there should be lots of flowers around.

This was indeed the case, though the marg (meadow) wasn’t quite as dazzling in mid-August as it is earlier in the year, when the lupins are in stunning profusion.

But what we lacked

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August 20th, 2017

Re-visiting a little corner of paradise

We have just returned from 3 marvellous days in Gulmarg, celebrating the 80th birthday of one of our very dear friends, Shoki Bhatia.

No clichรฉs here, like “80 is the new 50” because Shoki, as those who know him will agree, is in a league of his own.

Has w-a-y more energy & get-up-and-go than most of us put together, and a personality to match.

So to say we all had a brilliant time marking his birthday is an understatement, and Gulmarg, the location of his birthday bash, had a lot to do with it.

view full post » […]

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August 16th, 2017

Back in the oh-so-green hills

“Mera naam Rashidbhai hai. Me aapka room boy hu. Mera number likh do,” said the grey haired grizzled Kashmiri who showed us to our room in the quaint Nedous Hotel.

Quick translation for non-Hindi/Urdu speakers – “My name is Rashidbhai. I am your room boy. Take down my phone number.”

Room boy.

Now how’s that for an antiquated expression? We have just arrived in Gulmarg, for 3 days of partying to celebrate our dear friend Shoki Bhatia’s 80th birthday, and thus far it has poured with rain, stopped raining, re-poured, re-stopped, re-re-rained and so

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August 11th, 2017

Sharing my 30+ year old Indian secret weapon…

Next week, on August 15, it will be 70 years since Indian Independence, but to be honest, I am a little surprised at the lack of buzz around this significant figure.

The papers yesterday featured a whole day that Parliament spent commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Quit India movement, which was the precursor to independence.

Worry not, I am not going to revisit history. No need. I’ll leave that to the pundits.

Rather, instead of wondering why our esteemed government is taking a decidedly low-key approach to what is, after all, a 70th birthday party, I’ll do a little […]

Click to continue reading Sharing my 30+ year old Indian secret weapon…

August 10th, 2017

A poignant story, 70 years on

This short video, beautifully filmed by the BBC, profiles one of the many sad stories that resulted from Partition – the tragic separation of India and Pakistan, that took place 70 years ago next week.

A country that was once one whole, united against their colonial British overlords, was then split, violently and brutally.

And 70 years on, the legacy of mistrust and dislike is still in place.

This story, below, however is a more personal one.

A Muslim former ruler whose father became a Pakistani, whilst he remained resolutely Indian, sees his property classified as enemy property by the […]

Click to continue reading A poignant story, 70 years on

August 9th, 2017

Taking refuge in gardening

My morning paper today is full of nothing but doom and gloom and, quite frankly, lots of rubbish, both real and metaphorical.

There are, literally, photos of piles of rubbish all over Delhi – part of a laudable initiative by the Times of India to name and shame areas where garbage is piled high.

But at 8 o’clock in the morning, a little caffeinated but still-un-breakfast-ed, I simply do not have the energy to tackle the huge issue that is rubbish in India.

I cannot start ranting about the seeming apathy of this country in the face of the revolting […]

Click to continue reading Taking refuge in gardening

August 6th, 2017

From hysteria to lynching

And suddenly, what seemed to be a slightly mad story about women waking up to find their hair chopped off, has taken a tragic turn. A 62 year old woman in Uttar Pradesh state was beaten to death by villagers who claimed she was a witch and responsible for cutting off hair.

And just like that, the farcical element immediately disappears and the tragic underbelly of ignorance and violence and the tendency to mob violence that exist in India, are brought to the fore.

Here’s the link to a sad story of ignorance and superstition.

And then 2 days ago,

[…]

Click to continue reading From hysteria to lynching