Huge Burden

A recent conversation with two young things who have become our adopted ‘children’ reminded me of a situation in the 80s

I worked for local government in the UK in social services. I was in my late 20’s with responsibility for managing the grants given to voluntary organisations (aka charities) who provided services that complemented ours so they were given financial assistance and developmental support. I also began developing programs to consult local people to engage them in reviewing services.

It was one of my favourite jobs and I was fortunate to get such a senior job at a relatively young age.

I was in many respects a ‘young Turk.’ Full of new ideas, wanting to challenge and innovate, create revolution. We did some really cool things.

There was an assistant director who we nick-named Huge Burden (it was almost an alliteration (?) of his name). We’d often cross Swords (blunt ones, it was govt!) and there have been times we’d have stand up rows. Well actually, it would be me, berating Hugh. Sometimes I may have been unfairly over-the-top at other times my concerns would have been quite legitimate but I now recognise, I could always have improved my approach.

So how does this relate to the recent conversation?

My lovely friends and I were discussing media relations. They were not particularly challenging me nor was there approach inappropriate, that’s not my point. They were, of course, dealing with a knowall Yorkshireman of a certain age. I felt I knew much of what they referred to, and maybe showed it too much being a bit harsh, reflecting insecurity? I’d designed and delivered with the wonderful Carol Barbone, a national roadshow for the U.K. government twenty years ago on media relations (clearly times have moved on but I’d say principles are much the same but they are the bright young things and so maybe it’s a young/old Turk situation regardless of the what’s and wherefors) so the real point is ….. I don’t want to be a Huge Burden but maybe I am.

That’s the fear, I’ve become the miserable grumpy old git! The old Turk!

Getting out

I need to get out more.

Sunday was the second Mysore literary festival. Great to get out, meet old and make new friends.

Discussions about wildlife and how we can promote conservation, Roy’s films, presentations on Mysore Palaces and our wood inlay traditions, all great stuff.

Maybe the best of all for me was hearing from a young woman from a very poor background who at age four had been given a new opportunity in life. A philanthropic organisation sponsored her residential education through to her 20s. Not straightforward. An amazing life opportunity but controversially perhaps takes her completely away from her family. I’ve ordered her autobiography. More later.

A great new slogan 🙃

A different segment and layer of society in Mysore. Mostly women, middle class and of an uncertain age.

Great people watching and meeting. I only knew a handful of the maybe 150-200 people..

I do realise from this, that with the challenges at home and the build up to busy-time I do need to get out for a bit of newness now and again.

Babel fish

I have now developed a long and significant list of excuses for why I’m unable to speak ANY foreign languages:

The British Raj, due to them the English language is so prevalent I can easily get by without Kannada here in Mysore.

British Arrogance, see above.

My parents and therefore my genetical inheritance.

Wax in my ears and assorted other hearing limitations.

A wife and extended team that speaks English and seemingly endless other languages. I get by.

Teachers that couldn’t cram French or German in me.

Probably the top of the tree…. abject laziness combined with being idle, severe inability to stick with anything for more than five minutes and being 🐻 of small brain.

This list is to help whenever I’m questioned why after nine years do I not speak Kannada. (Clearly I cant speak English properly anyway)

STOP PRESS

Manjula reckons it’s because Ive got a short stubby tongue.

Whereas Manjula, with all the languages at her disposal, yes you’ve guessed it, has a long slender one.

I rest my case

austerity rules!

I know it’s not fashionable but loved working for local government in the UK from 1986 for twelve years. It was a real challenge, government always is,  but felt we made some radical changes and I made a significant contribution whether it was funding innovative not-for profits, getting to grasp with environmental impact through agenda 21, consulting local people and dramatically changing services for minority communities and especially disabled people. That was then, now it’s in a dismal state.

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It’s often useful to see how others see us. Check this article.

“The disaster in Northamptonshire did not arise from nowhere. Since 2010, when David Cameron became Prime Minister, Britain’s Conservative-led governments have responded to the impacts of the global financial crisis with a program of austerity. In line with other European countries (but unlike the U.S. and China, which passed stimulus packages), the U.K has sought to manage its debts and repair its economy with a relentless trimming of public spending. For the past eight years, these cuts have presented a complicated picture. In some areas, like education and health, budgets haven’t actually gone down; they have just failed to keep up with the needs of a diverse, growing population. But central funding for the nation’s four hundred and eighteen local authorities—Britain’s busy quilt of local government—has fallen by fifty per cent.”

YES, we struggled to meet the changing and growing needs over twenty years ago and now there is far less money available. It’s a scandal.

here is the full article

Wooden spoon

I don’t know about you but I can get by with a fair amount of idleness. But sometimes activity takes over.

Today I punished the stairwell, drilled holes and stuck up more pics.

The cleaning ladies appreciated hanging around, chatting, chai while waiting for my mess.

They now believe we’ve more Gods per square inch than most Hindu houses.

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And sometimes one needs a hobby. Not too difficult you’ll understand. I am from Yorkshire and reached a golden age. Yes, over 50.

The current thirty-second hobby (ie this month’s) is very much Hipster Dad territory. Very Hebden Bridge, or Stroud in this case.

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Wayne of Wayne’s Wood, yes from Stroud (sorry these are English jokes) was at WOMAD music festival.

The workshop is featured on the WOMAD site. Check the photos on the site here. Spot anyone?

Will Wayne come here, I wonder. He says he’ll come to ‘your place!’

I’m now into carving wooden spoons and here’s the first two.

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The lower one is the first and my gift to Manjula. She tried is with some soup but wasn’t impressed as the spoon bowl was too small and shallow. Number two was a great improvement!

I have my knives, oil, emery paper I just need to find some more wood, preferably Mango… where’s Satish?

 

Credit where it’s due.

I have here a piece of paper….

Neville Chamberlain’s infamous attempt of appeasement with hitler.

Well I also have my own piece of paper.

Here it is….

ok it’s nothing like the first one.

On my return to India in August I was pulled aside by the immigration officers.

It seems that there has been a rule change and I was told in no uncertain terms what it is! (Maybe that’s the link, the current govt is definitely changing things for immigrants, ring any bells?) I’m here on a five year, multiple entry business visa which means I have to leave the the country every 180 days but can come straight back. At first I was uncertain. Does the rule change mean I can only stay a max of 180 days in any one year (in which case I’m very worried) or that if I go over 180 days in one year I have to go register with the police?

Anyway, it seems that if I stay over 180 days in the same year I have to register with the Police. But here’s where the credit comes in….. The FRRO the bit of the Police Commissioners office where one registers were superb. First off, I made a mistake with the form and the documents with an hour to go before the deadline, they sent me off to a chap to sort it out at little cost. Then once completed and an extra letter explaining the situation within a week I got my paper, my residential permit. Hooray!.

I once had to do something similar when I had an employment visa. It was one of those, go to about five different offices, provide duplicate forms, pay different lots of money, fetch receipts, hundreds of photos, wait endlessly…. now just one form and documents submitted online and take copies to the office, nothing more not even a fee, thank you Mr Kumar, job well done.

Let’s just hope the immigration officers are half as helpful when I next try to get in the country.