Saturday, August 10, 2013



Vegetable Market



White man!

Tractor Park

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Glimpses of India

I have glimpsed India
In random glitters of lights in the night, necklaces of fallen constellations;
In mothers being motherly, babies being babies, and businessmen being businesslike;
In fragments of an airport, deracinated and international;
In a thorough bureaucracy ordering chaos, and a sign "DIPLOMATS/PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED";
In coolness within and heat without, softened by a gentle breeze;
In a splendid chorus on the roads, autorickshaws, Ambassadors, bikes, and buses honking with joyful abandon;
In the sareed women side-saddle on the backs of motorbikes;
In the graceful namastes of hotels staff and workers, and their courteous grace
In the black and white butterflies almost as big as birds, and the neat dull birds, almost as small as butterflies;
In Bala, Hindu, to whom there is one God - Shiva to him - but an absence of the man Christ Jesus;
In tables and shelves of flavoursome food, ready at my disposal;
In a mother side-saddle, clinging, one hand to the bike, and the other to a sleeping toddler;
In a toddler on a bike in front of his father - and sister, and mother;
In a dusty man, dark as a negro, lounging near a shrine of Ganasha;
In words used perfectly correctly, but not in the British way;
In a saree sash used to cover the eyes of a tearful girl;
In the eager eyes and hunched back of a beggar whom I could pass once but not twice;
In the massive hoardings for films, insurance and religion - even, "Jesus gives new life";
In a plethora of craftwork, row upon row, in the Victoria Technical Institute, and in the pitiful prices;
In injunctions ignore; if to reduce speed, ignored by speeding: if to sound horn, because they would have sounded it anyway;
In the rich and destitute meeting together - Jehovah is the maker of them all;
In a brother, chaffing with his brother, nudging him - and assuring us that as the elder he was entitled to beat him;
In bricks carried by head, hay almost swamping a lorry, a crowd borne standing in the back of a truck;
In gaudy lights in the night - neon advertisements, or the celebration of an idol;
In black-robed Muslim women letting the waves of the Bay of Bengal soak their robes;
In the Malal Heart Foundation, and the Kidney Stone Hospital, and the General Hospital - miles apart;
In buffalo grazing in a scrubby patch deep in the city;
In a vastness of land, the Deccan, stretching below the aeroplane - hills and mountains, mile upon mile of ridges, dry valleys - broad brown scars snaking through the plateau, waiting for the monsoon to rush down them, and jagged-edged lakes, some with one straight edge for a dam;
In a fine meal - on our own, with Simon as spectator;
In an insistence that we should sit down, however long a seat we'd had already;
In shabby shacks, a neat villa, and a spacious villa, spare in its decoration;
In a superbly efficient airline, yet with the plane to Vadodara announced as to Baroda;
In a person whose mother worked a field now owning a fine villa in that field;
In a patch of scrubby ground - with a peacock in it;
In buffalos tethered by thatched cottages, near a modern building site;
In a villager courteously running to get a seat for us from her hut - and bringing plastic chairs;
In one woman swinging on a covered chair on a covered veranda, while over the wall a villager works by her shack;
In a brother assuming command in his younger brother's house;
In ox-plough, camel-cart, and horse-carriage;
In slum urchins clamouring to be photographed, and running off happy when it is done;
In women eating, cross-legged, on the floor in the kitchen, after the men have eaten;
In richness, and variety, in food;
In a younger brother attending his brother's home to be host, and to be ready to care;
In a chador-clad woman working in the veranda's coolness, and calling to her neighbour;
In a flight of parrots landing on a tree in formation;
In a large clock, prominent over the door; a small clock decorating the table: both within twenty minutes of the correct time;
In the women, elegant in garb and motion, although crouched to clean the floor;
In the caterwauling of heathen music, and a Christian who will not let the name of a heathen god pass his lips;
In care and attention so close that it keeps you off your sleep;
In a woman ironing a shirt, cross-legged on the floor, without losing her dignity;
In houses clung to a crumbling cliff above an expressway;
In villagers using the expressway hard shoulder as a cycle path;
In the women who, in spite of their poverty, wear sarees or chadors with colour and pride;
and in saree after chador in which the combination of colours seems never to be repeated;
In the way in which the journey may be marked out by a succession of smells;
In the elegant hotel stenched at low tide by seaweed;
In in a shabby tenement sporting one brilliant purple patch of washing;
In oxen patiently hauling their cart through the city's impetuousness;
In a man with a broken leg launching into the traffic as if to collect the set;
In smart, satchelled children coming from shacks;
In gay clothing wafting around the shacks in a national park;
In stone-breakers hammering by the roadside;
In a child safely walking alone by the stone wall on an expressway, and dodging across the other track;
In the large vehicles bullying forward, and the small weaving to the front;
In the safari park where you drive through the woods to see lions and tigers as well caged as in a zoo;
In the safari bus conductor contemplating the ticket long, before deciding to accept it;
In being met in the street by Isaac calling out "Praise the Lord!";
In the women vigorously hauling from a filthy well within fifty yards of an unused water pump;
In women and children washing clothes in water I would not wish mine to be dirtied in;
In Christian Mennonites in a community around a hall of which they are proud;
In a sign for "Perfact Construction", emblazoned with "Praise the Lord";
In a marvellous hotel reception, light, glitter, and colour, with the stink of seaweed wafting over it;
In in a Hindu shrine endorsed "Blackberry" and "Airtel";
In in a row of shabby shops in a compound marked as "Shopping Complex";
In the modern traffic system indicating the number of seconds until the light change - to allow the drivers to start off with ten seconds to go;
In the smile of a beggar child for whom I did nothing but take her photograph;
In the swimming pool changing room signs "his" and "hers"
In a row of people using the central reservation of a dual carriageway as a place to sit with their feet in the road;
In a shabby, one-roomed house, unrepaired after monsoon damage, with a massive sound system below the high water mark;
In someone, amid light jumping, ducking and weaving, and lane-madness, being cautioned for not wearing a seat-belt;
In the news headline, "Pathan fit for WC";
In the toilet attendant helpful to the point of ridiculousness - and expecting baksheesh for it;
In the pale Indian with a wispy beard, white hat and tunic, and his white-shawled wife;
In the policeman directing the small traffic to cut corners past the cars and trucks;
In dia!     

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Green belt?

School Rules

Not very Indian!

Building site: women as labourers

Hindu Temple and Christian Church

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Views of the bus about to start
Approaching the the Nilgiri Hills
Not in operation when I was there
The Nilgiri Hills
Hand out of fleeces to the orphans: it was cold enough to make you shiver!