Monday 30 June 2008

Kodai odds and ends

Back from a holiday in Kodaikanal, where I began by walking, rowing and enthusing and then transited to sleeping, reading and eating once the initial thrill wore off. I need about three days to work off my need to be out and about and soak new experiences in while on holiday. I haven't been on a holiday longer than three days in a long time.

It's good having one's own house, garden, enthusiastic cooks and boat. The burdens of ownership do little to undermine the advantages. Club membership is less salutory. Yes, it gives one a place to rest away from the hoi polloi, but the colonial survivals - the dress code that one may innocently run afoul of without even wanting to, and the ghastly trophies of the subaltern's need to asassinate gallant tigers, stalwart bison, frantic foxes and fleeting deer - these are things I could have done without. Shameful that the 'Indian Club' is still a small, frugal affair in comparison. We are all Indians now, the old 'European' club should have amalgamated with the native establishment a long time ago. Although in fact, I find that the latter was established in the 70s.

The amount of filth generated by even the tiniest human settlement in the Palni hills is mind-boggling. You'd think every little hamlet on the roadside was subjected to 12 hours of strafing every day, to see the piles of debris strewn everywhere.

An old notebook of my grandfather's, the gleanings of 'a snatcher-up of unregarded trifles', full of literary musings and story-kernels. What people used before blogs were made.

Graffitti seen near the lake, possibly inscribed by a disgruntled International School student: 'Fuck Mr. B'. Mr. B, your unpopularity is legend.

The local Tibetan community took a day off from selling sweaters and running hotels to clear a section of the lake of filth and reeds. The Israeli community manifested only in the form of occasional bearded types whizzing by on bikes, clad raver-hippy style. I never did get a chance to deliver my anti-Zionist tirade.

Several volumes of Soviet science fiction in the bookshelves in the house. Oddly, I'd brought along Chingiz Aitmatov's 'The Day Lasts More Than A Hundred Years', a book which partly fits the same category.

Familiar places change forever, not always for better; but are always new and wonderous when rediscovered with someone else. I'm glad that someone was you.

Friday 13 June 2008

won't someone please think of the children?

(Text on hoarding: Introducing the lightest school bags, for guilt-free mums)

Monday 9 June 2008

desperate times on avenue road

Seen this saturday. Schools are re-opening, but only one shop on Avenue Road, Bangalore's text book bazaar, had this year's books. A hoard of anxious parents and somewhat less actual schoolchildren than you'd expect queued up outside, while the other shops, like the one pictured above, had to sadly turn customers away. A boy approached me, offering to get text books for me - at a 'special' price of course - but I had other things on my mind.