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April 17th, 2015

This world of ours is indeed very, very small

Today would have been Uday’s birthday.

Uday, before you ask, was Himmat’s brother, who was lost at sea in a diving accident in 2004.

And the dear man is in our minds today not just because it’s his birthday, but because we have just made the most extraordinary connection regarding him.

Late last night we arrived at the Himalayan Trout House, a fishing lodge up in Himachal’s Tirthan valley, where we have been many times over the years. The couple who run the lodge, Shefali and Christopher Mitra, are dear people, friendly, welcoming, and it was with a feeling of […]

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April 14th, 2015

Where’s India’s Wally?

Some of you might have heard of a very popular series of children’s books called “Where’s Wally?”

In these books, you have to search for a little chap called Wally, and try and find him in the midst of a complicated design, a double page spread full of detailed, colourful crowded scenes. (Yes, quite like India, indeed. Well spotted.)

Wally wears a red and white striped sweater, has a bobble hat and wears glasses, if my memory serves me well.

You really have to look hard to find Wally, amidst all the noise and stuff going on in the picture.


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April 13th, 2015

Neither fish nor fowl

Last night I attended one of the things that I hate the most in all the world.

A friend’s farewell.

Saying goodbye to someone I like leaves me bereft. There is no other word for it.

And it also leaves me puzzled as to how best to describe myself and my position here in India.

Surrounded by ex-pats last night – most of them here on short contracts – I felt a little out of place, since I am, I suppose, a “lifer.”

India is my forever home now, the place where I shall, in all probability, die and be […]

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April 11th, 2015

An artistic shout out

India_New Delhi_7630

You know what?

In a city that often irritates the heck out of me, with its rudeness and noise and aggression, there are moments when you meet the good people and you think…yes, there you go, Delhi does have a kind heart and a philanthropic soul after all.

In this case, the heart and soul belong to two ladies who are doing their bit to help young artists. Their aim is to help artists gain exposure through providing them with a platform – ie exhibition space and exposure to the viewing and buying public.

The vivacious and energetic Sapna Bhatia […]

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April 11th, 2015

Well, he would speak Chinese, wouldn’t he?

Not rocket science, but it made me smile…and clearly I irritated him with my second “Ni hao”, as he puffs himself up with great, well, puffiness.

And ignores me and my bad accent.

All in a day’s wandering in Zhujiajiao.


April 10th, 2015

The outrageously dyed but oh-so-pampered pooches of Shanghai

Last week in Shanghai, I had my running route to the Bund down to a T – but I nevertheless took a detour every morning, just so I could try and catch a glimpse of a miniature poodle in a tobacconist’s shop.

The dog wasn’t always available for admiration and filming – on rainy days (of which there were several) she was cosily tucked up in a coat, on a cushion, inside a basket, inside the shop.

One morning, however, she was holding court on the street – the voice you hear is that of a friendly bloke walking past, […]

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April 9th, 2015

“Hello my sister, hello…”

There’s nothing like time out, to make you see your city in a new light.

Good, bad or downright indifferent.

After 10 days in super clean, super efficient Shanghai, we are back in Delhi. A disastrous re-entry, 9 exhausting hours late, all thanks to Air India. (Still waiting for a reaction to my tweets, by the way, but am guessing Air India doesn’t pay much heed to social media.)

I went for an early morning run in Lutyens Delhi this morning, and as I ran, I did a quick mental checklist of Shanghai vs Delhi.

Here you go. All very […]

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April 5th, 2015

Dear dancing grannies of Shanghai, you rock!

When we were in Shanghai this time last year – our first re-visit in over 20 years – we encountered the phenomenon of dancing grannies for the first time.

Ladies of a certain age (yes, yes, I know, talk about the pot calling the kettle black) line dancing in the street instantly became one of my favourite sights. They were usually out in force in the evenings on Nanjing Lu last year, and in fairly big groups, too.

When I didn’t see any dancing seniors during our first few days here, I was a little worried (much to my family’s […]

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April 3rd, 2015

Of coffee and grey skies and other such things

How is it possible that we have been here in Shanghai a week already and STILL haven’t been to the museum?

Today, however, may well be the day, since the weather this Good Friday isn’t particularly good – it’s grey and foggy and overcast. Perfect museum weather. Though to be honest, as long as it doesn’t rain, it’s actually perfect walking and exploring weather…so who knows…Anjulie is on a mission to track down smart western office clothes – not easily found in Delhi – and Himmat has yet to visit his beloved Beijing Lu, that mecca of tool shops…so I […]

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March 30th, 2015

Ni hao from rainy Shanghai

Hello from rainy but oh-so-fantastic Shanghai.

We were warned that Monday would be rainy, after a fabulous weekend, and true to form (or the weather widget) Monday has dawned grey and rainy. Which means a day in the Shanghai Museum (“not to be missed” according to the guidebook) or a day in that other temple to culture, Ikea (“not to be missed” according to us).

I’ll let you know what we ultimately decide.

So far, what have we done?

Walked for miles and miles – even by my standards, so you can imagine my husband’s grumbling – but it is […]

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March 23rd, 2015

A precious hour with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

One of the world’s most special people, HH the Dalai Lama, was in Delhi today and spoke to a huge crowd at the Delhi Gymkhana Club.

Just to get through Delhi’s lunatic traffic to the Gymkhana Club was a mission and a half today, with some of the worst traffic I have ever seen in 9 years of living here, with huge jams in all directions. There was a point when we were ready to give up and turn round, defeated by the thought of driving any more in such miserable traffic. Luckily for us, the traffic was so totally […]

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March 19th, 2015

How to defuse bombs. Indian ishtyle

After outraging in this very same blog yesterday about the ghastly stuff happening in the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh, or UP, I bring you yet more news from UP.

This news come from Agra, arguably the most iconic city in India, thanks to the glorious Taj Mahal.

I can do no better than let you read the story (below) for yourselves. Go on, read it and enjoy.

This is a classic.

An absolute cracker, which made me laugh out loud.

India at her maddest best.

Thank God it had a happy ending.


The cops had

view […]

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