The big guy

Each year we’d buy a terracotta Ganesh, place him in our Pooja room with the appropriate rituals with lots of food (he’s a hungry god).

Sowbhaghya after preparing himself. The small Ganesh in the middle of the yellow flowers is the one we’ll take to the river.
Typical Indian male with giant belly. Says the Yindian breathing in!
The bigger version of Lord Ganesh lives here. I bought him cheap as a left over from the festival years ago.
We’d usually buy him from the potter’s street

After the stipulated number of days he’d be taken and immersed in the Kaveri river near Srirangaptnam.

Last year there was no ceremony as it was within the first year since madam departed. This year it was more subdued.
Satish did the honours.
While they attempted to drown a girl next door.
And I finished the job, immersing him three times and releasing him into the river.
Manjula was with us and
Lucie was tolerant
The remaining gods were driven back home.

Consistently inconsistent, that’s my India…


1 Bearded ladies

Bearded ladies, I’m joking, it’s about people wearing face masks, they do sometimes look like bearded ladies. At lockdown 90% of people walking the streets were wearing facemasks, astonishing to see that level of compliance, it wouldn’t happen in England. Now that lockdown has loosened its 80%. That’s worrying as over the next few weeks expecting thousands of repatriated Indians from abroad should be even more careful but credit where it’s due people are unusually for India, following the rules.
bearded lady with a disguise.

2 mobile phones

not driving while using the phone, haha, you must be joking… on a carefully calibrated sophisticated sampled study, yes random cars driving past me standing on a corner, before the ‘time of virus’, over 50% were using their phone. Hardly any were on hands free and a fair proportion were even texting. and the number one loser was a policemen.

He was in his fancy big SUV/Jeep type police vehicle, driving along the double road (dual carriageway) with his arm out of his window texting on the phone. Bad.

This is normal in a place with normality, that’s NOT following the rules.

This is not to say it doesn’t happen elsewhere in the world, this just happens to be were a live, it may be exactly the same everywhere else, it just isn’t

3 Drinking water

Now this is the most consistent thing I’ve ever found in India. When drinking an unbelievable 99.9% of people don’t let their lips touch the glass or bottle and this, in the land of inconsistency. Apart from being a great safe practice, this is probably number one example of people in India following an ‘unwritten rule’ seriously. It’s true, even where water is in a jug at a chai shop , or yes, on a wall alongside a construction site, everyone does it. Astonishing!

Happy Ugadi

Sort of snippet

Just back from a MYCycle tour on Srirangaptnam with mother and her son from Delhi.

Everywhere were signs that it’s Ugadi or the Hindu new year. People amassing leaves, positioning them around their entry door, creating ornate and colourful Rangoli, to invite the Gods, girls all dressed up, people splashing and having family fun at the bathing ghats.

Coincidentally, I get back to a new parcel from Amazon. A book …..

The author is an effective self-publicist and has rightly challenged many of the assumptions around the British Raj. This book on Hinduism (which isn’t an ism, just my humble view) is a timely counter to the increasing, unsettling, unacceptable, extremism that we’re currently hearing and seeing.

Meanwhile, Manjula has been back at home getting a well deserved lie in (guest numbers are reducing now we’ve reached the end of the season) punctuated by endless phone calls from our friends wishing a Happy Ugadi, so Happy Ugadi to you too.

Why India? 2

Why move to India…

I fell in love with India, its culture, people and places from afar and planned to visit in the 1970’s when I took a year off from my university. (I made a bit of a habit of taking years off).

True or False

True

I was a bit of a wus and not an adventurous traveller. I’d got as far as Turkey and the message from those who’d travelled overland from India was that it was particularly dangerous at that time to go to India, via Pakistan as they had just hanged Bhutto. So my visit to India just didn’t seem destined to happen.

Would I even manage to get to India in the next decade?

Nope

I hooked up with Liz and Ben in my late 20’s (We’re in the 1980s now). Liz had already lived in India for a couple of years in the early 1970’s so with one kid already (Ben) and potentially another one to come (Ol), India, was most definitely not considered by Liz to be a suitable place to take a young family.  Her experience of India was as a hippy  and she wouldn’t reconnect with India for many more years.

So that means I wasn’t also going to get to India, not yet anyway.

Farrell Factoid

I have subsequently met many people who have found a love for India (not least the visitors to Mysore Bed and Breakfast). There are of course many different attractions and often its difficult to define what it is that they particularly like. For many people they are inexplicably drawn to India, it has a sort of magnetism from a great distance. Maybe it is the free flow of ideas crossing the ‘bridges’ west and east (especially Britain and India) that stimulate people’s interest, there has of course been many exported ideas (and zero) for hundreds of years. There’s been icons such as the Beatles, the travelling Yogis, the hippies themselves, Yoga, whatever, there is an incredible range of things that we’ve heard about that help feed our seemingly insatiable desires for India, India things and Indian-ness.

Michael Wood in his book (Big Recommendation) to accompany the BBC series ‘The Story of India’ writes of becoming ’emeshed with India’, ‘the great privilege to be welcomed into another culture and to spend time in it, especially one so rich and diverse and perenially illuminating’

Of course many cultures and countries could fulfil this but

…what is so special about India?

I’d have to wait, quite a bit longer to find out.