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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 clichés 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.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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,


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August 4th, 2017

A hair-raising story from India

In a land of what is very often the weird and wonderful, this developing story is distinctly weird.

For the past 4 or 5 days, reports have been coming in from various areas of northern India, of women finding their hair has been cut off, usually while they are asleep or unconscious.

It’s not that their hair is being stolen to make wigs, because it is always there, on the floor next to them, when they wake up. It appears that most of the victims “fall unconscious” or “fall into a faint” and then when they regain consciousness, their chopped-off […]

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July 31st, 2017

Delicious typo? Or slick marketing?

Decision time, folks, on this morning’s floating-out-of-my-paper flyer.

Delhi Collage of Art.

Whaddya think? Is this a spelling mistake or a cute name? Whatever it is, I like it!

The reverse of the flyer doesn’t really help in the typo/or not debate because the Hindi is definitely “collage”.

So, my

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July 30th, 2017

“Better Food Better Mood”

One of life’s little joys is the Indian flyer.

As in the flimsy paper variety that float out of my morning paper, not the airborne species. The latter are, oftentimes, not really a joy at all.

But the advertising flyers that are tucked inside my paper – ah, now, they are a class apart.

Who could resist a tag line like “Better Food Better Mood”?

I’m a tad perplexed by the exact kind of image they are aiming to project with a name like “Dark N Shine”, but I’m sure they’ve thought it all through.

Better Food Better Mood and […]

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July 28th, 2017

Let’s hear it for Africa’s girls!

I can’t tell you how pleased I am that I started a “Just Because” section of this blog, because now I get to share with you here things that have nothing at all to do with India, and yet are so wonderful that they MUST be shared.

Like this all girl’s brass band in Uganda and their fabulous 10 year old conductor.

I have an enormous soft spot for Africa, having lived there, but even so, this is a story to cheer every soul 🙂

This made my day & I know, I just know, that it will bring a […]

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July 23rd, 2017

The wonderful world of Jane Austen. In Pakistan.

This is by far the best story I found in my morning papers today.

Amidst a diet of rape, and civic infrastructure woes, and child abuse, and servant abuse – ugh, it was a miserable news round up – so yes, amidst this depressing scenario, let’s hear it for the wonderful ladies of Pakistan who are huge Jane Austen fans.

This is an absolute gem of a story. I love, love, love the ideas of the good ladies of Islamabad donning empire-waist dresses & carrying reticules. Too wonderful.

I love the Mr. Darcy moment. Come to

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July 21st, 2017

In the name of God?

Right, folks.

I am about to appeal for information and for some explanations.

Earlier this morning, driving back from my run, I was caught up in crazy traffic scenes, courtesy kanwariyas.

For the benefit of non-Indian readers, let me give you a quick low-down on kanwariyas – with a request to my local readers that if I am incorrect, please, please correct me.

As far as I understand it, kanwariyas are followers of Shiva, and for a few weeks a year, usually July-August, they make a pilgrimage from Gaumukh or Haridwar, up in the Himalayas, back to their homes, carrying […]

Click to continue reading In the name of God?