It’s a joke….

And the one’s I like are also serious.

A very good friend — who will remain nameless, until I get his permission — is responsible for this.

We met during the initial lockdown. We were still allowed to cycle, as I did most mornings. We had great conversations as we cycled together.

I joked that he was receiving a degree in critical thinking, in return I was losing years by the day, sharing insights and learning from someone over forty years younger.

At first he didn’t admit to his parents that he was cycling with a Firangi, a foreigner.

There were some sensitivities in the community as they were confused about where the virus might be caught. Obviously, Foreigners might have brought it into the country.

When he did tell his parents, I became known as Tata or grandfather.

Some weeks later we cycled on my favourite place srirangapatnam and met up with his extended family for breakfast. Great!

His mum declared later that I wasn’t a Tata, more an uncle.

Thanks Amma, I appreciate that, for me it is acceptance and that I’m younger than expected.

Later nameless reflected and decided that godfather was more appropriate. I like that too.

As I’ve now turned 65 — he says with a wobbly voice, while leaning on his stick — and finding new things to do in the community that commemorate MAnjula, it seems to fit.

Over the past few months you might have noticed a little girl. I’m trying to get her mum to let me to finance her education. Now that really is being a Godfather.

So I’ve used one of Kaveri’s paintings of me and created a card.

Nameless and Kaveri will be the first to get one of my super new jokey-serious cards to remind them I’m here for you.

On the back are details of how to make contact whenever you wish for whatever reason.

Yes I’ve obliterated some of the details. It’s not for everyone 🤭

Footnote: the term Godfather is not intended to reflect any diety or relate to any Christian rituals nor resemble anyone living, dead or in the afterlife.

Mysore traffic mayhem

It gets worse every day

The bad behaviour becomes more apparent as the traffic increases., that will get worse as we become more ‘developed’.

Why?

Where to start…

The chaos at junctions when the lights turn green, as many are in the wrong lanes and there are more lanes than the markings indicate. The erratic driving which is not always because they’ve poor driving skills, most drivers are on the phone, but it’s not smart….

The lack of awareness and perennial indifference carry some of the blame, but it begins early on at the driving school and how people get their licence is a wonder to behold.

Many driving schools bring their learners through Siddarthanagar, our layout, for lessons, it’s unbelievable. I couldn’t even begin to tell you and I’ll leave my grumbles about what they’re taught to do with the horn, to the next posting.

Here’s examples that friends have told me about their tests.

An American friend had both a two wheeler (motorbike) and four wheeler (car) test on different days.

The examiner instructed him to drive up the road, round the roundabout and back to the start. He passed.

Next the examiner got in the car. Already an improvement. “Drive ahead, turn left , straight, turn right, stop.” My friend thought this was serious. “Stop here” The examiner got out of the car and entered a hotel (restaurant) leaving a few minutes later with ‘a parcel’ (takeaways) for the office. “Drive back to the RTO (office). You’ve passed.”

A neighbour’s daughter just paid the bribe, probably through a middle-man I’m not sure whether she’s actually driven to this day.

Another friend went to the new ‘automated’ track designed to put you through a series of situations and manoeuvres. The examiner gets in the car, you move forward, pay your bribe and you’re off. The examiner uses the (dual drive) pedals to ensure you brake properly and even helps you steer by lightly holding the steering wheel. Once again, it’s a pass.

If that wasn’t bad enough one proposal is to delegate the issuing of driving licences to the instructors. Really?

This Facebook posting following a column in the ‘Star of Mysore’ is what got me going. I’ve cycled, and ridden scooters, Enfield, van, Jeep and Manjula’s beautiful Ambassador on local roads.

The biggest challenge?

It’s a toss up between the ‘rash’ driving and constant pot holes, even on newly repaired roads it sometimes feels like you’re driving sideways.

Disintegrating Britain

One of Margaret Thatcher’s preferred tools was to scare us shitless by revealing a terrible plan. This enabled her to more easily get agreement to do something that seemed only half as bad.

Johnson has another favourite, from the Tory tool box.

He creates a cloud of confusion, like the airforce plane that throws out flack so the missile misses its target, he launches dead cats and kittens, custard pie distractions to keep the pressure up and to help him get through inane policies that help the very few that already ‘have’. The opposition misses its target and the general population is worn down, losing the will to live.

The so-called ‘culture wars’ is part of this, the latest being the decimation of the Civil Service and destruction of effective governance.

What are they doing? Taking the piss. They (the govt/ruling party/oligarchy/elite) — delete as appropriate— seem to have become so comfortable and confident in their domination of the masses that they can’t be bothered to hide how they use their power with complete disregard for the impact on what in India they call the ‘common man.’ We get what we deserve and of course none of it is anything to do with Brexit, that con to help them keep their millions.. Thanks Marina for the entertainment as the titanic sinks.

Who’s taken them?

We have a pomegranate thief.

Just as they ripen on the branch someone comes and steals them.

We don’t believe anyone is taking them from our side of the wall or that it’s anyone that works here or relatives of the owner that live on the roof.

No strangers have entered our property. We do have CCTV.

They are however easily reachable from the neighbours path.

It’s a recurring theme. People help themselves to flowers from the public parks. We’ve challenged people with their discreet plastic bags filling them not least from Manjula’s memorial garden.

This morning, Sowbhaghya came across one of the workers in the park who accosted a little girl who was collecting flowers for Pooja. she shouldn’t.

A lesson for Kaveri to learn.

Information

You decide

A mish mash, some might say eclectic

Useful sources of information to help us think things through

They’re videos, personally, I need a rest from reading books.

Posted 20th March 2022

The first featuring a British comedian, is about the pandemic but I’m not a believer in conspiracies. That doesn’t mean that we’re not manipulated. The pharma companies are bleeding us, should be regulated and their profits limited.

His videos are about sharing information to help us form our opinions and realise how the world works.

..

I’m really impressed by this writer. His book Sapiens helped me rethink the development of humans and to realise how significant storytelling is in how we lived in our earliest days, and now, how integral stories are to our identities, to our collaboration, which affects every aspect of our lives

.

This video is about the Ukraine but reveals his thinking about what the current situation reveals about all our societies, being both positive and hopeful.

Philosophical thoughts

India stimulates all sorts of reflections like …. What’s the purpose of the line?

a boundary, a border, between in and out? Here and there? Normal and abnormal? The limen … an important guide, the threshold, between one world and another.

If India is anything to go by, it may have no use, other than helpfully creating ‘purposeful’ work.

I pity the poor guy — with his trusty leaf blower and a hanky round his mouth, — who momentarily shifts the dust from the road and into a cloud to probably help the paint stick,

On both our trips to England, Manjula was amazed and intrigued at how the traffic stayed within the lines that marked the lanes.

Wedding part two

The morning after the reception.

Timings are followed exactly (9.00 to 9.30 am) unlike the night before when things hadn’t started almost two hours after the advertised time.

The knot is tied and I’ve poured milk, gently thrown rice and had tiffin.

Behind the scenes in the choultry or wedding hall is the sort of place where Manjula started working.

The bride’s proud father

Poppy’s School

My friends in India often ask what things are like in the U.K. so here’s My granddaughter’s school.

I’m here to collect her at the end of the school day.

It’s probably a school from the 19th century when ‘board’ schools were introduced.

I love the old building and it has a great feel.

It’s managed by the local government

Here’s one or two great additions to help improve safety.

Manny is overseeing the renovation work at the school.

I’ve stayed with Poppy and her parents Ben and Alice in north London.

We’re losing so much

There are signs everywhere of the man-made environmental damage resulting from not anticipating the consequences, concentrating on short term gains and our lack of care.

Even seas go missing. Due to all the above combined with local and global pressures.

All around the world, including in our backyard in Karnataka with the Kaveri river, there’s conflicts about water being taken from rivers and little being left for the communities further down.

Found them

Today’s panic was that I’d misplaced shirts, shorts and especially trousers.

I fly to the U.K. next week, my first trip for over two years. Here I wear shorts and T shirts unless I’m formal when I wear kurta and pyjama.

As it will be variable weather and much cooler moving to really cold in the U.K. I need shirts and trousers but I couldn’t find them. We’ll know I have.

Next shoes.