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October 20th, 2017

That nasty morning-after-the-night-before feeling

Its 11.30 on the morning after Diwali, and I can still taste the muck in the air. My eyes are stinging and there’s a tightness in my breathing – hey, listen, I’m not remotely scientific, plus I’m in a bad mood, so don’t quibble with my terminology. My breathing feels tight. OK?

I don’t smoke.

I’m not asthmatic.

I drank only water last night.

I’m a vegetarian.

I try to keep active and healthy.

So why do I feel like shit this morning, if you’ll pardon my French.

Because of mindless stupidity like this, from the wretched people who live […]

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October 18th, 2017

Honouring our dogs on Diwali

Of all the Diwali traditions, including getting my jolly coloured pots painted red by the gardener – grrrr – (see yesterday’s blog post 😛 😛 ) Kukur Puja is my favourite.

Kukur Puja or Kukur Tihar is actually a Nepalese festival, honouring dogs on the 2nd day of Diwali.

Here’ a link to good ol’ Wikipedia for you, which explains this Nepalese tradition.

This morning, our (Nepalese) Gurkha staff prepp-ed for the puja, with marigold garlands, sindoor for the dogs’ foreheads & 2 biscuits apiece. Not dog biscuits, please note, but pukka Britannia biscuits:


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October 17th, 2017

Getting RED-dy for Diwali

Bad pun, I know, I know, but when I saw the mali (gardener) & the mali’s assistant (how grand Bola Ram has got 🙂 ) splashing red paint all over the terrace, then I knew for sure that Diwali is just around the corner.

Mali is getting our flower pots ready 😛 for the festive season, as he does every year, by painting them red.

I asked him today whether he was “red-ing” my pots because it’s Dhanteras today or was it a coincidence.

His answer was that he tries to do it on Dhanteras, because since that’s the day […]

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October 16th, 2017


#MeToo is trending all over the world, as women take to social media to say that they, too, have been sexually harassed or assaulted.

And men, good men, decent men, profess themselves stunned.

They had no idea, they say.

If #metoo is trending amongst educated, online women, just imagine the thousands upon thousands of women who are not on social media, who have never heard of Twitter let alone a hashtag, but have been abused, assaulted, harassed.

view full post » […]

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October 16th, 2017

My wish for the Talwars

So today, this beautiful Monday morning, my thoughts turn to the tragic Talwars, who are due to be released from prison today, having had to spend the weekend inside, because of paperwork.

Ever since the Allahabad High Court overturned their conviction for murder last week, the papers have been full of little else, sharing with us each day yet more excerpts from a judgement that tears to pieces every aspect of what was clearly a shoddy, deceitful, malicious investigation. I can’t even begin to go into the detail here – for that, yet again – I refer to you the […]

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October 15th, 2017

Your Hindi word of the day is “chalta firta”

Yes, OK, OK, it’s 2 words, so technically it’s an expression, rather than a word.

So, yes, “chalta firta”.

Yesterday, stuck in a traffic jam on Khel Goan Marg, here in Delhi (quick aside – hands up anyone who isn’t stuck in traffic jams in Delhi these days?) so, yes, stuck in the traffic, I noticed a van which had “Chalta firta bazaar” written on the back and on the side, in English, something like “New Delhi Government mobile shop”.

I’d never seen a van like this, ditto hubby, but what a good idea.

The fruit & veggies go to […]

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October 14th, 2017

Your Hindi word of the day is “japani”

Friends have just returned from Himachal, bearing gifts.

To wit: These are “japanis”, known in English as persimmon.

In Hindi, “japani” is an adjective meaning Japanese. There’s even a classic 1950s Bollywood song called “Mera Joota Hai Japani” (“My shoes are Japanese”).

The first time I ever saw a persimmon – up in Himachal a few years ago – I admit to being surprised at the name.

Turns out that the fruit is native not only to Japan but also China and Korea,

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October 12th, 2017

Justice. Of sorts.

Today, a bereaved mother and father, Nupur & Rajesh Talwar, can breathe a little easier.

The Allahabad High Court this afternoon acquitted them of the charge of murdering their only child in 2008.

From 2.30pm onwards, I sat there, glued to my phone & the news updates, praying for this dignified couple. And thank goodness the court saw reason.

I won’t re-hash the whole sordid saga here, and will instead give you a link (below) to a comprehensive blog post I wrote in 2013, when they were found guilty & sentenced to life. It should explain a lot to readers […]

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October 11th, 2017

When cycling is your day job

Sometimes, one reads the most heart-wrenching stories about India.

And sometimes one reads a story that makes you go “Aww…” but also laced with a tinge of sadness.

Like this story of a young man who is paid to cycle up and down Raj Path, THE showpiece avenue of Delhi, while a stereo attached to his bike broadcasts a message about cleanliness.

Over and over and over again, for 7 hours. Sweet. But, dunno why, it also made me feel a

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October 11th, 2017

Taj Mahal? What? Where?

Take one of the most iconic, beautiful, most recognisable buildings in the world.

That would be the Ta…well, sorry to disappoint you, but if you were hoping to find the Taj Mahal being proudly extolled by the government of Uttar Pradesh, the state where this breathtaking monument is located…fact is, that’s not happening.

’cos the BJP state government has decided that the Taj Mahal simply doesn’t cut the mustard.

The esteemed state government has published a booklet – a pretty divinely retro move, by the way, in this smart-phone era – but anyway, yes, the esteemed BJP government has published […]

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October 10th, 2017

Now about those Diwali fireworks

Back in Delhi after a wonderful week in Hong Kong, I’ve been thinking about fireworks. As one does.

Firstly, because in Hong Kong we saw THE most fab firework display on 1 October to mark the 68th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, and secondly because, back here in India, Diwali is just around the corner.

And we all know what that means, don’t we? That Delhi’s already poor air quality will get significantly worse.

Having said that, yesterday the Supreme Court reimposed a ban on the sale of firecrackers. Just like that. 10 days before Diwali.

Good decision, […]

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October 9th, 2017

Ee bah gum, but that’s right gradely

I have a super patriotic “Just because” post for you today.

Patriotic as in talking about the old home country…

My sister has just sent me an article which filled my Yorkshire heart with pride & joy (& not a little astonishment, if I’m being 100% honest).

To put this news in context – the English county of Yorkshire, aka God’s own county, is where I was born & lived until I went to university.

And Yorkshire is possibly going to become a country within a country.

As powerful as London.

By ‘eck, but that’s proper champion.

OK, OK, I’ll […]

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