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July 6th, 2015

Today’s Delhi joke : “they have desilted all the drains”

I am sitting on my little balcony, with the rain pattering down, the sky grey, a slight breeze. Pretty damn perfect weather, after weeks of unremitting heat. Usually the first day of heavy rains (& it poured down earlier) is the best day ever, because the temperature drops so suddenly, but there hasn’t been enough time for the inevitable water logging and flooding to set it.

Except this year.

After probably 20 minutes of heavy rain while we were running/walking the dogs at the polo club, the drive back was a nightmare of already-flooded potholes and choked drains.

All I […]

Click to continue reading Today’s Delhi joke : “they have desilted all the drains”

July 2nd, 2015

Another day, another slogan

So we had another Prime Ministerial initiative launched yesterday here in Delhi. Digital something or other.

Yes, there you go – Digital India Week.

Fab stuff.

That would be in addition to the #selfiewithdaughter campaign he launched on Sunday?

And the Yoga Day tamasha last week?

And the Make in India initiative of a few months ago?

And – of course – the Swacchh Bharat initiative (Clean India).

So many fancy sounding initiatives.

So many launches & slogans.

Yesterday’s launch saw, so we are told, the who’s who of India Inc there, to launch M governance, which is, so I […]

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June 30th, 2015

Whatsapping the Delhi Traffic Police


Lovely long slow 2 hour run this morning in Lutyens Delhi.

Felt great.

Got into car and set off back home, feeling good.

Then I got to Moti Bagh – the place I loathe above all others in this city – and all that inner peace and zen and all those runner’s high happy hormones garnered during said run were DESTROYED.

More than 45 minutes to cover a distance of – what? – 3/4 kilometre, possibly less.


Probably not even 750 metres. Traffic of such density, such mindless stupidity, such incessant pointless noise and, most of all, such supreme […]

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June 29th, 2015

Feeling very blue


Sorry, folks.

Not really in the mood for blogging and chit-chatting this evening.

At lunchtime today Tifi, our darling old cat, died. She was 16 and a half years old, and had lived with us in Mauritius and South Africa and, for the last 10 years, here in Delhi. So, yes, she did indeed have a good, well-travelled, globe-trotting, long life, but that doesn’t make today any easier.

Tifi was fished out of a swamp in Mauritius on January 25th 1999, where, as a newly born kitten, she had been put (with her late brother Sooty) in a box with […]

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June 29th, 2015

What on EARTH are they talking about?

Sometimes I read my morning paper and ask myself, in all seriousness, “Is it me?”

Is it just me who cannot understand what the heck they are jabbering on about some of the time?

Like today.

What on EARTH does “with his drink down the stemware” mean?

Is it code?

Is it slang?

Am I out of the cultural loop?

Am I just plain old-fashioned and not up to speed on the new lingo?

I guess the truth of the matter is that I do not haunt swanky suburban bars with an entrancing ambience under halogen lamps.

That’s the crux […]

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June 28th, 2015

Hey! Where are all our missing monuments?

India_New Delhi_4621

I demand to be told.

Read this article from today’s Times of India, and we’ll chat on the other side.

A little under 2 years ago I had run a similar story in this blog, which I called The Curious Case of the Missing Monuments.

Then, the blame for the missing monuments was laid fairly and squarely on an error committed sometime between 1908 and 1925. As if that explained everything.

This time round, we are just blandly informed that gates and mounds and statues and tombs have gone AWOL.

Oh yes, and 2 cemeteries.


view full post […]

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June 27th, 2015

Arre yaar, what’s with this killer Delhi air?

images (4)

This just about sums up my mood at the moment.

“Arre yaar”, which has just entered the hallowed verbal portals of the OED (Oxford English Dictionary, yaar) is a ubiquitous phrase you hear here in India, and can mean anything from “Hey buddy” to something akin to “You’ve got to be kidding me” – which is the meaning I am meaning tonight.


Arre yaar, you’ve got to be kidding me that our pollution scenario here in Delhi has just got even worse. This is my ‘hood, right now, from my iPhone widget. Hitherto we have all been fretting about […]

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June 23rd, 2015

Hello from chilly windy stormy Himachal

Fabulous weather in other words.

I am sitting on the outside verandah of the lodge, because the internet signal is available only here, and it’s chilly enough to need a fleece.  The sky is grey and vaguely threatening, there is a wind blowing  along the valley, and with any luck it will rain.

Perfect weather.

Days up here in the cool clean hills are relaxed.  I run in the forest, early in the morning, usually about 10 or 12 km, and then the rest of the day is spent reading and writing, with an evening stroll in the other direction, […]

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June 22nd, 2015

And the man fell at my feet…

It’s all go here in Nagini village this sunny Monday morning.

The lady in the field opposite the lodge is hard at work in her veggie patch. The school children have wandered by, playing and chasing each other as they make their way slowly to school. A couple of rickety rackety buses have rattled their way past, heading to Banjar, the local “town”.

And that’s about as far as a manic Monday gets up here, in one of my all time favourite places in India – the beautiful Tirthan Valley, in Himachal Pradesh.

We are back here in Nagini village […]

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June 13th, 2015

Rain! Happiness!

The sky turned a sickly colour.

The wind started howling.

We had to turn all the lights on, so dark did it get inside the house, just after lunch.

And then – yes – crash, bang, wallop – the rain came pouring down. We all rushed out to right all the plant pots that had gone down like ninepins, smashing as they did. (Note to self: plastic pots. Only way to go)

The temperature has dropped.


It won’t last, since it’s too early for the pukka onset of the monsoon here in Delhi. It’s barely arrived in Mumbai, so […]

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June 8th, 2015

“You kill all the birds with one stone at a luxury mall.”

My word but I lead a dull, dull, dull life.

Almost humdrum, if the truth be known.

Whilst I go for a run, and walk my dogs, and sit in my study and work, and – ooh, big outing – go meet friends for lunch in Shahpurjat, my fellow dilliwalis (well some of them, at least) are out every day (except Monday) shopping up a storm over crepes and cappuccino in luxury malls.

Read this glorious bit of reporting (below) and then pity your poor blogger, neither a member of a sorority, nor a kitty party, nor out killing the […]

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June 1st, 2015

Passing the buck, no, I mean the bowl of Maggi noodles

A couple of things first.

I am a junk food Nazi.

And I do like a spot of accountability.

Right. Junk food first.

Cannot and will not be doing with junk food. Just ask my children, who used to cower in embarrassment when we lived in Johannesburg and I used to vent at school PTA meetings about McDonalds being served to the children every Friday. ( I kid you not. Can you credit it?)

I remember also throwing a bit of a scene when a charity trip to an AIDS orphanage in Soweto included a stop at McDonalds for the […]

Click to continue reading Passing the buck, no, I mean the bowl of Maggi noodles