Douglas and I

Donkey loses legs!

Road Trip …. with a great geezer.

Attention!

Douglas and I spent the day together travelling from York to the Deep South!

It helps me realise how important it is to keep connected and spend time with those we might not ordinarily come into contact with….

… age difference 36 years!!

It was a great, fun journey and took maybe six hours (this disUnitedKingdom is a VERY BIG country, or so the Brexiteeeers think) taking in an extended lunch (talking) and unplanned detour (my battery ran out and talking).

Talk time was on a ratio of 9-1 Douglas to me). You may find that hard to believe but absolutely true.

Douglas is the father of Liz and grandpa of my sons Ben and Ol.

I’m clearly a donkey and my hind legs have now fallen off.

What a character! Aged 97 he retired from the army decades ago!

His final rank being lieutenant colonel (pronounced leftenant, in some inane British attempt to prove we’re not French. It’s a French word!) his experience is vast especially in logistics and management, nuclear armament transport (his daughter and I and Ben, years later would be demonstrating against those very things), the first Army helicopter outfit, suez crisis, parachutist, internal army machinations (like all organisations), and he’s an intelligent, thoughtful, aware guy and not the rabid Tory you might expect.

So thanks Douglas. Top man, great time and conversations.

It helps remind me that we just need to give people time and recognise that wealth is in sharing our knowledge, experience and opinions.

At ease

Banana Republic

Am I seeing things or is that a straight banana?

First let’s talk about Banana Republics. Well actually that’s a bit unfair. The state that’s probably got most bananas is the least like a banana republic. Generally over the years they’ve had reasonably coherent and stable governance although they’re maybe losing their way more recently. That’s Kerala.

Back to the point.

We’re in Karnataka, where we had a state election last week.

The result was ‘hung’ as they say between three parties: the BJP, Congress and JDS with no one party having an overall majority. The Governor (until appointed he was an active BJP politician, which is not allowed but let’s forget that, he is however supposed to be independent and above party politics), who has authority in these matters, swore in the leader of the BJP (yes, his party, no no no he’s independent remember) after the election.

This is the party with the largest number of elected representatives (called MLAs) but they did NOT have an overall majority. Got it? Yeddyurappa, the leader was given fifteen days to prove he had an overall majority, which he hasn’t ….

Woah, hang on a minute the two other parties with a combined strength had an overall majority and one was the incumbent ie previous Government. They also have signed letters from the MLAs (members of the legislative assembly) , as proof. So surely they were invited to set up the Government as a coalition? Er, no.

The BJP leader was not only sworn in he will not have a cabinet but is already making decisions on revenue expenditure, without even putting together a budget or knowing the financial situation and he’s got fifteen days to prove he’s got an overall majority. But remember, he hasn’t got an overall majority. So how will he solve that problem?

Ta ra ta ra

buy Them? Surely not.

The wonderful, patient, trusting (actually they don’t trust their politicians) people of Karnataka, registered, listened, deliberated, ok some were bribed, queued up, to cast their vote for a person carrying some sticks, a flower or a hand (symbols of each party as so many of the voters are illiterate) got a mark on their finger so they couldn’t vote twice…… used their precious fought-for- vote to elect MLAs who represented specific parties.

It’s useful having parties, by being a member of a party it helps us understand what they stand for in terms of policies, values, future of the state, that sort of thing …. but hang on, if they we’re to switch to a different political party immediately after the election…. for money? Or a job in government. Doesn’t that sort of invalidate the system? Is this real?

Wait …. is it a bird? Is it a plane? Noooooo it’s Super- Court, well Supreme Court….

STOP PRESS

The Court takes action…..

and forces the BJP to prove they can form a government. The BJP chief Minister has now just one day to bribe as many of the MLAs as possible to get his overall majority. Shameful.

So that’s how the largest democracy in the world is currently working out here in the south. So how about the longer established democracies, they working well? A shining beacon for the others to copy? Er well no, Donald being Donald in the Useless US is making a right old pigs ear of things but it’s a mistake to think that. It’s going to plan, it’s working, he’s shifting that society and the administration where he wants it to be, if only he could find the napkin he wrote the plan on, he might have an idea how he wants it to end.

What about the mother of all Parliaments? Well the disunited Britland has the most incompetent Government and opposition, and what’s called the second house is causing too much trouble messing up the mess that is Brexit so the Governments party is going to increase its membership so that it votes its way. Marvellous, now that’s a Banana Republic of the cold cold north.

Equally shameful.

Despicable

Who makes monsters?

We do, partly, through acceptance, encouragement and reinforcement

It’s also actually how we make nice people.

It’s the process of

Clarifying and confirming what is and isn’t acceptable that helps creates and forms patterns of behaviour that is our culture(S). Evidence of this might be reflected in the whole organisation or society, community or just one of its sub sets.

So what’s brought this on?

Men in India who rape and/or murder because they can.

It’s an expression of power over others, reflects a degraded system, where there are few societal or personal restraints with limited accountability and recourse.

I wouldn’t want to colour a whole nation and it’s culture from individual incidents. After all I love this place and it’s people because it’s so open, friendly, easy-going, accepting contradiction, paradox and incredible diversity BUT there are limits.

This must however be seen, and highlighted as completely unacceptable. If we don’t, we’re also monsters.

We should hang our heads in shame.

Those in power whether politicians, police, whoever they, have a heavy responsibility to ensure their words, actions, inactions do not encourage or condone or create the monsters in our midst. Unfortunately the increase in these actions is also a consequence of political movements.

Here’s a link to the story

The disconnected

He’s talking about coal but makes fascinating points about contemporary society, political challenges we face, how we’ve created this mess and the actions we need to take

We are, today, at the end point of a millennia-long process of disconnection. Since we first built cities and started leaving the land we have been disconnecting from nature; losing sight of it, quite literally; losing our vocabulary of it, to the extent that blackberry is no longer a fruit to be plucked and eaten but a device to tie us to our desks when we’re on the toilet.

Nature was just the beginning. While this slow severing has been going on for thousands of years, the last few centuries – the reformation, the enlightenment, the industrial revolution, and capitalism – performed the amputation.

In capitalism, we have created the first social organising principle based on selfishness, the first system to make greed, competition, non-cooperation its credo. In Thatcherism, we have the declaration that there is no such thing as society. In neoliberalism, we have a system which alienates us from each other, from our labour, from democracy; a system which declares we have great choice while turning everything into a supermarket aisle full of different but identical toothpastes; a system which insists we have great freedoms while systematically removing more and more of our capacity to have any real control or influence over, or stake in anything real in our lives.

That’s why we can have politicians actively discussing doing something which not only makes no economic sense but will actually kill people, while most of the population turns away to binge-watch the next series on Netflix.

There is only one way through this – we have to reconnect. And it’s already happening. Around Australia and the world, people are seeking out reconnection in all sorts of ways. We are starting community groups, getting involved in community gardens and food co-ops, starting childcare and health co-ops, joining sharing groups instead of buying more stuff. Instead of always doing things on our own, as disconnected individuals, we are looking for innovative ways to work together, to eat together, to live together. And, excitingly, we’re banding together to create social and political forces to be reckoned with.

Check the full article here

Wow 3

 

Some are not even that lucky. The current shouting in our street is from the guys rebuilding the drainage channels. The boss hasn’t got any money to pay them. Some are paid daily (around 600rs,) weekly or even monthly. So how are they supposed to manage?image

wow 3

well the shortage of cash is now beginning to affect me.

I jokingly refer to Indian being consistently inconsistent and don’t misunderstand me, I love the people and the place but sometimes it just takes the biscuit! and can be sooooo annoying.

I didn’t have enough money to buy train tickets this morning. So I ended up with a single instead of a return.

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I’d also taken the scooter for a service.

 

Would they accept a card or cheque?

Not at either the Post office or the scooter main dealer. So I go to the  nearest Bank (branch of Canara, my personal bank) massive scrum around the bank door. No chance. Next, the five ATMs in the vicinity, all not working. So I get the motorbike out to go to the city and visit the bank branch to cash a cheque for 12,000 Rupees (its around 140 devalued pounds after Biscuit (aka Brexit)). That’s my max allowance now for the week.  Then back to the Post Office to get my return ticket. The clerk has my form, from the first trip to the Post Office in front of her, on the desk (its required to show what ticket you want). There are all the details of the return part of the journey on the same form, she uses that form to complete the details into the computer.

img_1146

“Sorry sir can’t take the details from this form” where it listed all the details of the train, its name, number, our names, ages, address, out and return dates and times, preferred class and berth, starting station, getting on station, getting off station. “You need to complete a new form”.

Its at this point I begin to lose it!

later, back home…..

what next?

Half the money has now gone. I suddenly have the realisation that at this rate we’ll not have enough cash to go on holiday next week. That’s why I bought the bloody train tickets.

half a rant

at the bank I asked for my pass book to be brought up to date but have to call back as recent entries are not in the book, is there are a problem? Sorry sir each update (printing of deposits and withdrawals in the book) can only have twenty entries per day/visit. So I have to go back to the bank tomorrow for another printing session to see the other deposit/withdrawal entries. What!? Really?

Farrell’s dodgy factoid and questioning.

I seriously wonder what would have happened if the UK Govt had unilaterally deleted ALL the five and twenty pound notes in circulation overnight and then severely restricted how many of the replacement notes each person could withdraw so they just didn’t have enough cash! Would we have been so accepting and tolerant?

Yesterday a guest managed to cash 2,000 Rs of old money at my bank and had indelible ink marked on his finger nail so that he couldn’t go to another bank to exchange more. Mad!?

 

its 2 am in the morning

It’s 2 am in the morning and I’ve just given the dog, Lucy a final walk of the day. In the shadows I noticed a mother and daughter, covered with shawls, scarves and carrying bags.Waiting tentatively for me to pass. Once I and the dog had passed by they continued on their journey.

Who are they? what are they doing?

As they continue to walk through the area I can hear the wild street dogs kicking off.  I guess that they are poor people just travelling through. It must be quite scary and daunting with barking dogs at most corners and now I’m back at home I hear the whistles in the distance of the policeman on their beat.

What must their life be like?

It makes me stop and reflect for a moment and think about those poor people and what I assume are very different and difficult lives.

I might live in India but as you might expect, in a middle class lifestyle and quite detached from the experience of many very poor people.

I recognise how important it is for me to not lose sight of the difficulties that people face and somehow to connect.