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May 28th, 2015

Guilty as charged

As I said. Guilty as charged.

Let me step back and scene-set a little, before I beat myself up too much apologising for not having blogged once in three weeks.


Scene-setting Mark I.

Let’s start with 3 days ago, shall we?

I wrote this much and got no further…

“It is 8am in the morning in sunny west London and there is pin drop silence around me. Well, all except for a pair of pesky blackbirds sitting in the tree in the garden and singing their little hearts out. And who can blame them? Deep deep blue sky, warm


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May 6th, 2015

Damn those stupid pavement dwellers

Today has been a pretty amazing day for followers of Bollywood and lovers of justice. In a rare dovetailing of these two otherwise disparate worlds, one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, Salman Khan, was today sentenced to 5 years in jail for having run over and killed a sleeping pavement dweller in 2002, when he was drunk at the wheel.

13 long years of ducking and diving came to an amazing end this morning when a judge in Mumbai found him guilty. He is out on bail for 2 days – why? anyone? – but will, one hopes, go to jail.


Click to continue reading Damn those stupid pavement dwellers

April 29th, 2015

Whoever knew that bugs could beg?

If I never get around to writing my Great Indian Novel, then perhaps I might instead write The Indian Book of Fabulous Flyers. Every morning when these waft-y bits of paper waft out of my morning paper, my day is set, since 9 times out of 10 these flyers are brilliant.

Can’t be doing with the glossy, boring ones for medical check-ups or hair transplants. Or liposuction. They’re always glossy and grammatical.


These are the one I like – the inventive ones.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you beg bugs.

And a great new word – “Effecment”. […]

Click to continue reading Whoever knew that bugs could beg?

April 28th, 2015

Oh dear God, is there no end to the sadness…?

I wrote this section (below) about 9 o’clock this morning…

On a very personal, very micro level, the ripple effects of the Nepal earthquake are not too bad for us, as things stand right now. As I mentioned in earlier posts, all of the families (extended and very extended) of our 3 Bahadurs are fine, and last night everyone slept inside their homes again. Nor is it raining, even though the forecast is bad.

The fact that they can call on their mobiles is brilliant.

I rather stupidly asked Nar Bahadur this morning if they are all OK for food […]

Click to continue reading Oh dear God, is there no end to the sadness…?

April 26th, 2015

Another day, another earthquake…poor, poor Nepal

Nepal_Everest Base Camp_4144

We woke up this morning to the depressing (but almost inevitable news) of a steadily-rising death-toll in Nepal, as well as news from Nar Bahadur that his house was further damaged during the night. Everyone slept outdoors, too fearful to be inside, and just as well, really. He will probably head home, to see what needs to be done.

And then at lunchtime, there was another tremor. Here, it felt about the same intensity as yesterday, but for a shorter time. Twitter was instantly alight with friends from all over Delhi saying how strong the quake was, worse than yesterday.


Click to continue reading Another day, another earthquake…poor, poor Nepal

April 25th, 2015

Poor dear Nepal


I have a special fondness for Nepal, not only because it is a lovely country which I have visited several times, but mainly because all our staff are Nepalese Gurkhas.

The Bahadurs and Rajkumari run our lives totally. We could not function the way we do without them. As those of you who know our household are aware, Nar Bahadur and Yem Bahadur have been with us since early 1989.

They predate Anjulie in our lives.

They are part of our family. Plain and simple.

So the devastating news from Nepal today – which only

view full post » […]

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April 25th, 2015

Ladies left, gents right

I have a sneaky feeling that I may well have shared this flyer with you in an earlier blog post, but since it came, once again, tucked inside my morning paper, I felt it was definitely worthy of a re-visit.

I am feeling very jaded and despondent at the Indian news these days, to be honest, so, yes, am certainly seizing on this flyer as a much more intriguing blog topic.

Like, for example, why should ladies and gents future, Past Birth & Next Birth (sic) lie on different sides of their bodies?


Click to continue reading Ladies left, gents right

April 20th, 2015

Namaste from the cool and misty hills

I gather it’s Monday, but you wouldn’t know otherwise, up here in Nagini village. There’s no noticeable extra school or office traffic, to mark the days, you see.

The bright pink noisy bus with the fabulous moniker “Godvalley” (one word) has rattled past the lodge, as it does several times a day, linking the string of little villages along the valley with the local “big” town, Banjar. But otherwise, that’s pretty much it for the Monday morning rush hour.

I haven’t yet ventured to Banjar on this trip. No time, to be honest, since I’ve been way too busy walking […]

Click to continue reading Namaste from the cool and misty hills

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 […]

Click to continue reading This world of ours is indeed very, very small

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.


Click to continue reading Where’s India’s Wally?

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 […]

Click to continue reading Neither fish nor fowl

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 […]

Click to continue reading An artistic shout out