Are we a nation of cribbers?…. By Pritish Nandy

What is it about us that makes us crib, crib, crib? Cribbing has become a national pastime, making us look insecure, selfish, petulant and pompous, all at the same time.

Let’s look at the Obama visit. Even before he arrived in India, and he’s the first American President to visit India in his first term, we began to boast about how the US needs India today more than India needs the US. He is coming, declared our media, because we are the economy of tomorrow and America’s the economy of yesterday. We started hyphenating ourselves with China and argued that Obama was coming to India to acknowledge the shift in power from the West to Asia. Even assuming this is true, it was perhaps not the apt time to crow about it.

Yes, Asia is today an economic powerhouse and a US-India detente could augur well for the free world. As for China, it’s bigger, tougher, richer, cleverer and far better economically placed than we are and I don’t think they like being hyphenated with us. They prefer to be hyphenated with the US. Sure, both see us as a market for their products, not because we have a huge middle class with lots of surplus money. They see us as a market because it’s easy to sell to a country where 90% of the wealth is concentrated in the hands of 10%. Deals happen much quicker in such markets and we know exactly why.

Even before Obama came into town, our pompous local politicians, including the CM who’s currently living on borrowed time, having been caught stealing land belonging to the Kargil war widows, decide to show huge outrage over being humiliated by the US. What was this humiliation? They were invited to meet Obama at a gathering organised by the US Consulate and were requested in advance to provide their identification through PAN cards and whatever ID our own Government demands of us whenever we enter an airport or any other place where security’s an issue. So our politicians and bureaucrats took huge umbrage and refused to go.

We must be the only nation which allows our VIPs to walk through airport security without being checked because their ego is so fragile it might break if they have to go through a process mandatory for the rest of us. Worse, just outside the check-in counter, there’s a long list of VIPs who can walk past security without being checked. For VIPs it’s a status symbol. For the rest of us it’s a shame that we allow certain people (the list includes Robert Vadhera, who holds no official position) to violate a security protocol that could endanger all of us. Luckily, the Americans are not a hierarchical society. Their leaders get no such special treatment. So they did what was normal. They asked for everyone’s security details.

Our leaders created such uproar that the Consulate had no option but to call it a clerical error and apologise. Apologise for what? For ensuring security for their own Head of State, the world’s most targeted leader, at a function organised by them. Luckily, the MEA was wiser and clarified that this was no affront to India and the Consulate was well within its rights to impose its own security norms at their own function. US diplomacy won, over the petulance of our petty leaders, when the Consulate head personally met them and politely apologised for a mistake which was not a mistake in the first place. You should have seen our leaders smirk.

Now we are already claiming, half way through the visit, that Obama has let India down by not naming Pakistan as a terrorist state. No Head of State goes to a country and points fingers at another. Short of blaming Pakistan for 26/11, the poor guy did everything right. He did not go to Delhi first, like others do. He landed in Mumbai, stayed at The Taj, where the tragedy took place. He met the victims, commiserated with them, talked eloquently about the courage and the resilience of Mumbai in the face of such a dastardly terrorist strike. He said all the right things. But were we happy? No. The media went on and on and on, saying Obama should have done much more, he should have nailed Pakistan.

But Obama’s not a judge. The 26/11 case is being tried in a Mumbai court. Why should Obama pre-empt the legal process? Why must Obama stand on Indian soil and blame Pakistan? If Pakistan is behind 26/11, it’s our job to teach them a lesson, not Obama’s. He has done his bit, by openly sympathising with us, supporting our war against terrorism. He has come all way, after a severe electoral drubbing, to honour an invitation. He has not once mentioned Kashmir. He has not, like earlier US Presidents, hyphenated India with Pakistan. He has broken with the past by not going to Pakistan on his India trip. He is in India and India alone. That’s the biggest statement of all. He is here as a guest, a visitor, a friend, a believer in the tenets of democracy that bind our two nations together. Let’s treat him like one.

Bitching him out will achieve nothing.

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109 Responses to “Are we a nation of cribbers?…. By Pritish Nandy”

  1. Sharmila and EF,

    For those who wish to measure their own views, I suggest take the test on this page and then come back to this page.

    http://www.ontheissues.org/Quizeng/xPolitics/start.asp

    I am a Moderate Libertarian (Score: Personal Issues 62%; Economic Issues 75%)

  2. I believe Obama did everything right and sent a strong message to Pak excluding it from his list this time.
    Its a shame Indian politicians made an issue out of nothing and tried to spin it to take a trip to ego land. They and bureaucrats are the main reason ppl are afraid and avoiding to bring business to India.
    Media..esp TV anchors are a lot of nincompoops by far…or may be the channel authorities are…! who knows..!? They do the most indelible damage to the society by playing with the psyche of the masses.
    Yawn…………….! too sleepy…..must hit the bed…rest of it later…

  3. To be honest I am not much of an Obama fan. I believe he is somebody who is a fantastic orator and therein lies his biggest strength. I expected him not to be tough on Pakistan, no US Govt in the past too has been, so why should this administration be any different despite 26/11 and it’s after effects.?I agree that our netas have no business cribbing about security protocol. In the case of Robert Vadodra, the good son in law, there are many more breaches that would be made for him and his clan.

    • Sharmila,
      A sad event of 26/11 happened in India and India has its own governance. what exactly Indian Gov. or politicians did after that..? Any minister has no courage to speak ,condemn or act efficiently on this issue. They simply can’t deal with Kasab and providing him VIP treatment. The matter is in court of Law.
      Then why Obama is expected to deal directly with that issue. It’s very naive of ppl or media to expect Pak bashing publicly on international level from Obama.
      Obama is a good orator and poor executor at Home front ..not sure about International level though.
      But compare to phony Indian politicians and a lot of pseudo VIPs, He is quite down to earth.
      If a pseudo VIP like film star expect and enjoy that exclusivity then Vadhera is The Son in Law…! What is wrong if some Laws/rules are bent or break here and there..? hahaha…
      Remember…! How SRK made an issue when he had to follow the security procedure in here..!? If they have to follow the procedure …that dent and deflate their ego so badly…! Why..? Because they are a part of the multi million/billion $$ Industry..? Does that provide them the status of VIP automatically…!? The definition of VIP seems very hazy to me….for that matter…
      Whatever they do..they do it for themselves.. their own betterment…like politicians… πŸ™‚
      India is the substitute of China at present…tha doesn’t make it No.1 or most powerful country in the world… China is on the line and ppl here predicted that a decade ago…but darn those Industrialists and the Politicians…! Now when the result is seen very clearly…no other choices are left….damn..!

      • Quite well analyzed. SRK issue was more because he had a movie release on the same line and the issue helped him gain a fair bit of publicity. It was a case where he enjoyed being questioned. It would be difficult for India to break the ice with China, but that is where efforts should be made.

  4. We are a nation of cribbers ,no doubt about it,no two ways about it.We always complain,we always have reservations,we always have something more to ask and we are never satisfied.
    From the time we were born .we were told to crib and complain and I have no qualms saying that this is a trait we have learned from our older generations.But what to do ,this has become a way of life.probably i have not covered it as well as i should have but i think you all are getting what i want to say.
    Well i can hope that we would be more content and learn to embrace the positives and not crib about everything…

  5. Obama makes use of his oratory skills to impress the youth and our Netas who are vying with each other to be noticed by him.

    Our netas get away with all the breach in security protocols because we let them have that privilege, for, as long as this doesn’t affect us we don’t seem to care about it. We have accepted the fact that people in high places will be favoured and pampered. This is the norm in our country.

    We do crib a lot about everything all the time right from trivial issues in our daily lives to the Government and our Netas. Cribbing has become our National pastime and we are so good at it.Students crib about teachers and teachers in turn crib about the quality of students. It does bring in a lot of negativity and pessimism and depression. Why is this such a special trait of our nation and its people?? Why are we finding fault with everything and everyone? What are the remedial measures that can be taken to get rid of this habit? I think the media can take a lead and stop being so negative about the various issues that they rake up. The daily soaps too which millions of people watch, need to undergo a drastic transformation.

  6. Anand Khare Says:

    One of my cousins worked on a project in a backward nation of Africa.The country was facing civil war along with other problems. After settling there he called his wife asking her to join him quickly.” You come here and you would never talk about going to USA.”

    His wife, in amazement, asked “Is the country that good?”

    “No. From here, India would feel like the USA.” Replied my cousin..

    Anand

  7. Sharmila, MonaLisa, Saurabh, Aishwarya, Shubha, Anand (where have you been?),

    Mr. Nandy was proved right. Obama made a splendid address in the parliament.

    He acknowledged the role that India has played from ancient history to the present day. From the invention of ‘Zero’ and mathematical wonders to making the rest of the world think in scientific ways that the world had never imagined.

    Every Indian deserves the credit. It’s a culture that has survived for as long as human history is known.

    Obama has taken a bold step forward – of standing up and acknowledging the truth.

    Noah had missed the boat. We always said that. Only his descendents refused to believe it.

  8. Sharmila & EF,

    It’s not the time to crib at all.

    It’s time to forgive our worst enemies. Let’s embrace those who have awakened from their ignorance. That’s our culture. It’s never too late. Subah ka bhuula shaam ko laute toh usse bhuula nahin kehte… πŸ™‚

  9. Aishwarya Says:

    I need to crib…

    My comments arent making it through…why, o why?!! Aaarggghhhh!!!

    Okay…I am done…feeling much better…

    Thanks.

    (From the Nation of Cribbers)

    πŸ˜› πŸ™‚

  10. This is our world. This is our India – where old and the new live in perfect harmony – where the aged are taken care of by the young – where knowledge is worshipped – where every form of human endeavour is recognized with love and admiration. This is our India.

  11. This is my nation. This is India. This is the place where Love reigns Supreme – neither God, nor Kings nor Queens nor Wealth nor Wars. Love rules.

  12. I am not a hindu, I am not muslim, I am not a jew, I am not a christian, I am not a punjabi, I am not a maharshtrian, I am not a bengali…

  13. Anand Khare Says:

    Hi Sudhir and friends,

    I have never been to London to see the queen or anybody..:).I was very much here in India (A cribbers’ nation- Doubt of Mr. PN). I went to meet my parents. Had a wonderful time with them.Old memories.All time favourite Indian delicacies on festival.Remembered those that were not present.reminisced and treasured moments in our humble life together.

    chote-se is jag ki mere swarg balaaye letaa tha,
    vistrit jag me, haay, gayi kho meri nanhi madhushala!

    BTW,how to paste a youtube link here? I like this one on India,

    Anand

  14. For Anand,

  15. Sharmila,

    Please check your mail.

  16. Aishwarya,

    It’s not about an eclipse.

    If I honor someone’s feelings, I expect mine to be respected too.

  17. Reader,
    Don’t you think you should come out of the ecstasy of the pic of India provided by Indian Cinema of yesteryears…!? You know….India is not all that…! Right..!??? πŸ™‚
    Cinema is not and should not be the representative of any given country….and its society….! sometimes it gives warm fuzzy feeling, yet it might be far far away from the reality….! Oh..well…! …….???

    • MonaLisa,

      Did you notice, I am unable to find even one song or cinematic depiction of the same sentiment after 1970!!!!

      Those that I found are not even close to that assured sense of belonging…

      Hmmm.. may be it doesn’t exist anymore…

  18. Lol…Reader.
    Easy way to jack up he no. of comments… πŸ™‚
    May be I should take a break…as you mentioned yesterday. πŸ™‚
    See you on comment page of next post. Lately this blog sounds more like PN blog anyway…. πŸ™‚
    Sorry Sharmila…! c ya later…!

    • MonaLisa,

      Hmmm… now look who is cribbing… πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      See you later… it’s my last day before I leave for my vacation… So there will be long gaps between entries… that should keep the numbers down if that’s all there is… and a bit of respite for all…

      I know there is a dark side to every theme… but it’s good to see one side fully before flipping the coin…

      I put up the songs because they are still in circulation even if mostly on the youtube…

      I know what you mean… if we want to kill something faster.. we must ignore it completely and not mention it anywhere… right?

      πŸ™‚

  19. sharmila and the EF,
    I am seeing things or is it true that the blog is unusually quiet,i wonder what is happening..maybe its the lull before the storm..

  20. Sharmila, Aishwarya, MonaLisa, Shubha, Saurabh and EF,

    48 hours till I got a Reliance Username and Password to get this line working. Wonder why they call it Reliance…

    ===

    Anyway, getting back to business… I reached Ooty in one piece thanks to Kingfisher. The weather is cool but not chill.

    Have you ever seen an old man with a bald head and a white beard? Well, the weather here reminds me of one. The sky above is clear and blue; the 5000 feet valley below is covered entirely by a dense white fog.

    But more about that later. (I don’t want to sound like a weather obsessed Englishman. Have you heard that joke about an American and an Englishman walking in the park? Doesn’t matter if you have. I am going to tell it anyway.

    These two guys are walking, as I said, in a park. The Englishman is mighty pleased with the mild sunlight, takes a deep breath and says, “Spring in the air!” The American looks puzzled and asks, “Why should I?”)

    ===

    I landed at Bengaluru International Airport yesterday. For those who have missed the funny side of BLR, read on…

    I landed at 1500 Hrs, which is approximately 0300 PM if the watch is right. My connecting flight to Coimbatore was in the evening at 2115 which is exactly 0915 PM if you ask someone whose watch is right.

    I walked upto the Kingfisher counters on the domestic part of the building. All KF staff are dressed in Red & White. That’s either a dress-code or just a clever ploy so that customer can’t identify the culprit if they were asked to show the person in an investigation. They all look the same.

    As a rule all customers of Kingfisher are politely called “guests”, which was actually tempting me to pull a chair and ask for a cup of coffee with a croissant. But that’s not real. There is no place to sit there.

    There are passages with two distinct signs that were most confusing. One said “For Gentlemen” and another for “KF staff only”

    After one long uncertain moment, I walked through the lane marked for gentlemen.

    I received the boarding card from a dazzling Colgate-Palmolive.

    The first thing that hits a person who arrives from the silence of the desert to this swarming space is the alarming noise level.

    And the next are the queues. There are queues for everything and everywhere -even on the escalators!

    There are some special things you must notice next time you are waiting in the lounges upstairs.

    In the center of the floor is a perfectly circular spot that has no walls, corners or ends – for some strange reason it is called Shopper’s Stop.

    On the left is a board that says “Time out bar”. It is anything but a bar. It’s a food court.

    There is one that is called Life’s Spirit. This too has nothing to do with alcohol. It’s a books shop. I wonder what is this fixation for alcoholic names!

    There was one counter selling Idli and Coffee for INR 90/-. The Idli’s are not larger than a gulab jamun! For half the price I get better and five times the size back in the ME!

    I decided to go out for some fresh air… and guess what, I was told that once a person is inside, he is not allowed to go out!

    Whaaaaaa????? Five hours in this joint… No Way!!!

    I strode up to the central command and asked to be let out with a solmen promise – “Geeta ke sar par haath rakh ke kasam khata hun” – that I’ll not come back inside till the flight is announced. The officer was kind and polite. he made me enter some A4 sized register and I walked out to breathe fresh air!

    To be continued… don’t go anywhere.. you are yet to hear of Coimbatore… Bass yun gaye aur yun aaye…

  21. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  22. Continued…

    The KF flight to Coimbatore was fairly comfortable even if it is an ATR aircraft that was probably tested by the Wright brothers.

    I was offered a VIP seat number 1F (one can ask for it). This seat is fixed with it’s back to the pilot’s concentration chamber. (Cockpit? What if the pilot is a woman?)

    There is ample leg space at 1F as there is the emergency exit on the left in between this and the seat facing.

    And to add to the aura in this closed aquarium there was a particularly charming Red and White KF fish presenting her best side.

    As the ATR bumped and jumped in the air, the R&W offered us a club sandwich which I can say with some certainty that it was stored in a pencillin factory – smelled like a rat.

    I called for the feedback form and asked the R&W her name, which she offered readily, probably expecting a good feedback. Ofcourse, I didn’t see her reaction after she had read my caustic remark on the sandwich.

    Shortly, the aircraft was drifting over the night lights of Coimbatore. I couldn’t see the airstrip below but guessed that the pilot would have an idea.

    We floated for a few minutes on cold air and presently the blue rows of neons came up or rather we were going down towards them. The wheels hit the ground hard and I looked with some concern at the floor expecting the wheels to come through… which they didn’t ofcourse.. just kidding… the Wright brothers knew there rubber…

    The best part of Coimbatore is the International Airport.

    It’s more like a roadside kiosk actually. There was no bus or vehicle to take passengers to the the terminal. There are many buildings under construction. We stepped out on the tarmac, look into the darkness around and after that it was a follow-the-leader amble all the way to the terminal building.

    The tarmac was wet with some recent showers and the air was cool. Generally speaking, it was a nice, pleasant evening walk.

    There were two farm tractors painted deep-red and sugarcane trolleys attached to them.

    The flight attendants unloaded the luggage on the tractor trolleys and they went past us like you see them in the country-sides.

    I came out of the building to see a waiting shadow in a small crowd with my name written on a white board. I waved at the shadow and it moved sideways and out of the crowd.

    A few minutes later, we were driving on the road to Metupallayam. After a brief stopped for dinner at a restaurant. I asked the waiter for a masala dosa and he politely told me that they don’t serve dosas, instead he offered a Nai Roast.

    Now, I didn’t like the sound of the name Nai Roast. But since the man seemed too eager, I nodded. And what-ho! It is Masala Dosa but called Nai Roast! And I was afraid Nai meant a dog, as it does in Kannada, and roast was an English word…

    Nevertheless, nai meant ghee (butter) to this good man who was serving me. And I was not going to contest that.

    I touched base at midnight, welcomed by a pair of happy German Shepherds.

    That was last night… a whole day has gone by since then.. and all good…

    πŸ™‚

  23. Is being alone in a hill station a crime against God’s design…????

  24. Crazy NRI experiences:

    Being an Amex Gold and Visa priority card holder I am allowed to use the services of the business class lounges in most of the airports.

    There is an assortment of distractions (called ‘Comforts’) for the lazy traveller.

    My last experience was day before.

    ===

    Most of the TV channels were showing Obama at the G20 summit.

    China and Saudi, being among the largest owners of the US Treasury, are aptly concerned about the Fed printing US$ 600 billion and releasing liquid cash in the market. At the same time Obama is lobbying against devaluating the dollar. He may not succeed, given that an over-valued dollar is a good sell.

    ===

    The food counter served asian vegan food and european meat. Most of the european meat in the room was blonde.

    Have you noticed that the best Indian food is available mostly outside India or in 5 star hotels?

    The best punjabi food is in Canada, the best Gujarathi food is in London, the best south Indian food is in the Middle East. Crazy, na?

    The saffron rice is heavenly! Kashmiri full grain basmati, with ghee, jeera tadka, cashews and a pinch of saffron for flavor. Branded and sold by an English company.

    There is the Assam Tea (!) produced in Ooty, sold by a company in London under their brand name, There is mineral water, bottled in Himachal, branded and sold by a Scottish company. Vegan food, made in India, packaged and sold by Brittania, another brand from London.

    And now I am using Vodafone which is registered in London.

    What is the difference between a holding company and an operating company? Who is richer at the end of the product life cycle?

    ===

    There was the usual net cafe in the lounge where many passengers were spending time on Facebook and surfing. Internet is a real time space warp. A blog on a wordpress server in London and another in Hong Kong seem like next door neighbors although the net world has about a billion plus websites!

    ===

    However, despite all the temptations of food, music and television, I spent all my waiting time on the phone talking to a friend in India.

    Just shows…

    πŸ™‚

  25. Crazy NRI experiences:

    Two red and green open hood convertible jeeps that bollywood superstar, Amitabh Bachchan drives in a movie called Kandahar, starring Mohanlal, are for sale. That part of the movie is filmed in the Wellington Cantonment golf course.

    Both the vehicles belong to my estate manager. The guy who is assigned the task of selling them came up with wierd USPs – antique models driven by Amitabh Bachchan in Kandahar; all wheel transmission (4 by 4) system; only two pieces left in India; all parts can be serviced by owner; vehicle can be dismantled at home! No electronic fittings! Completely mechanical! Only 7 lakhs! Diesel! Also available on rent. INR 5000 per day…

    We drove the jeep through the town. After a few rounds along the Collector office road and a shopping stop at Mohan’s, I asked him, “How much does an auto rickshaw cost?”

    He said, “Rickshaw is a public transport Sir. May be 1 lakh”

    “I will buy an auto rickshaw for personal use.”

    “???”

    “It’s safer, cheaper, faster in this traffic and does not draw the attention of the policemen. See?”

    “Sir, this jeep is used for film shooting.”

    “No Problem,” I said, “Next time Bachchan comes here you give him an auto-rickshaw for shooting.”

    Good idea, na?

    πŸ™‚

  26. Crazy NRI experiences:

    Barber’s envy owner’s pride.

    That’s the hair on my head! I haven’t taken a hair-cut for the last 2 months because some supernatural instinct tells me that this is probably the last time I’ll see such a good crop. The density on the top is falling so rapidly that my eye brows and beard look more populated than the crown.

    When un-combed, and stripped of all fixtures like gels and stiffeners, the entire field looks like Medusa’s head of snakes. Each strand curls away and stands up, all by itself, like an independent candidate in the parliament.

    Well, anyway, I am doing my bit for the environment. Are you?

    ===

    I have added some more accessories for effects.

    There is a large-beads original 108 rudraksha maala hanging around my neck. It’s an all Himalayan piece brought by highland Nepali ghorkhas from the deodar forests North of Kathmandu.

    It’s a complex appearance. The hair looks like something off a West Indian athlete, the beads look aesthetic to me but scary to the general public. The khadi kurta makes me look like a foreigner (!), The weathered sky-blue jeans attract drug peddlars.

    A beggars outisde the Liberty cinema got a rude shock yesterday. In fact I was not prepared for it myself.

    Some guy came up asking for alms. I was looking at a road map of the range of forests from Muddumalai to Coorg.

    After a few crying sounds he touched my right arm and I unwittingly whacked him on the face!

    A rickshaw driver pulled him back and the crowd scattered. I looked back at the guy and said,

    “Shame on you! Look at these working people. They work all day for 50 rupees and you want to live like an animal?!!”

    The rickshaw guy said, “Sorry Sir. Please leave him… jaane do!”

    I shook my head and walked across the street…

  27. Crazy NRI experiences:

    There is a steady rain since morning. Soundless. The sky is overcast. A dense fog has descended on all the hills and the forest cover. I had to walk down the hill for breakfast.. not walk exactly.. more like skiing on slush… downhill…

    Reminded me of a Bertram event from the Jeeves’ chronicles.

    Quote

    Introducing Jeeves

    Impeccable, omniscient gentleman’s gentlman; the final authority on the proper fit of a morning coat and on the shape of things to come.

    “Jeeves!” I shouted.

    “Sir?” came a faint, respectful voice from the great open spaces.

    “My man, ” I explained to the Right Hon. “A fellow of infinite resource and sagacity. He’ll have us out of this in a minute. Jeeves!”

    “Sir?”

    “I am sitting on the roof.”

    “Very good, Sir.”

    “Don’t say “Very good.” It’s nothing of the kind. The place is alive with swans.”

    “I will attend to the matter immediately, Sir.”

    I turned to the Right Hon. I even went so far as to pat him on the back. It was like slapping a wet sponge.

    “All is well,” I said. “Jeeves is coming.”

    “What can he do?”

    I frowned a trifle. The man’s tone had been peevish, and I didn’t like it.

    “That.” I replied with a touch of stiffness, “we cannot say until we see him in action. He may pursue one course, or he may pursue another. But on one thing you can rely with utmost confidence – Jeeves will find a way. See, here he comes stealing through the undergrowth, his face shining with the light of pure intelligence. There are no limits to Jeeves’ brain power. He virtually lives on fish.”

    Unquote.

    PG Wodehouse, ‘The Most of PGW.’ An Omnibus.

    ===

    There is no power supply. The transformers are blown. I am running on low battery.

    So ta ta for now…

  28. Crazy NRI experiences:

    There is something contagious about joy and heartiness, specially when it is overflowing with leisure.

    In some cases, however, the joie de vivre touches some people on the wrong side.

    I encountered one case in the Bank yesterday – note that today hasn’t started yet; it’s only 1300 hrs after noon and I am just warming up.

    The case in point can wait a bit. Let me describe the exact emotions in PGW’s words:

    A Bean and a Crumpet were in the smoking room of the Drones Club having a quick one before lunch, when an Egg who had been seated at the writing table in the corner rose and approached them.

    “How many ‘r’s’ in ‘intolerable’?” he asked.

    “Two,” said the Crumpet. “Why?”

    “I am writing a strong letter to the committee,” explained the Egg, “drawing their attention to the intolerable… Great Scott!” he cried, breaking off. “There he goes again!”

    A spasm contorted his face. Outside in the passage a fresh young voice had burst into a gay song with a good deal of vo-de-o-de-o about it. The Bean cocked an attentive ear as it died away in the direction of the dining room.

    “Who is this linnet?” he inquired.

    “Bingo Little, blast him! He’s always singing nowadays. Thats what i’m writing my strong letter to the committee about – the intolerable nuisance of this incessant heartiness. Only yesterday he came sneaking up behind me in the bar and sloshed me in the shoulder blades, saying “Aha!” as he did so. Might have choked me. How many ‘s’s’ in ‘incessant’?”

    “Three,” said the Crumpet

    “Thanks,” said the Egg.

    ===

    Well, that feeling of the Egg sums it up nicely.

    Yesterday I went to the Bank to lease a locker.

    A very nice petite lady sat behind the desk. Her name is D. She is from Coimbatore.

    She appointed herself as my Personal Banking Manager or a Relationship Manager or something of the same sort that sounded very cosy, which is fine with me. It’s the thought that matters, eh?

    And within a few minutes after the introductions she asked me,

    “How is your family?”

    “Fine, I guess.” I said. “What’s your name?”

    “D”

    “Tell me something yourself.”

    “I am the RM for your account. I’ll assist you with the portfolio.”

    “Cool. What are your working hours?”

    “I am here from 0900 in the morning to 0800 at night.”

    “You don’t like you are a native from Ooty. ” I said, “You are too beautiful.”

    She looked around uneasily, blushed and smiled at the same time, saying “I am from Coimbatore, Sir. My husband is running an IT services company. He works morning 0700 to midnight sometimes.”

    “It’s a hard life. I am in the ME. If we work like you we’ll lose our jobs in no time.”

    She smiled and said, “Why’s that?”

    “Well, we are paid to do projects. The sooner the projects get over, the earlier we lose our jobs. So the general understanding is ‘live and let live’ – don’t finish anything.”

    “It doesn’t work that way in India. We have targets. I have to achieve deposits of 2 Crores by December or someone else will! You see most of the staff here are bachelors. They live in hostels and have no time limits for working. For a married woman juggling between this competition and the house-work is very difficult.”

    “What’s your next promotion?”

    “Branch Manager”

    “And after that?

    ‘Regional Manager”

    “And after that?”

    “Nothing. It will take 20 years to get there. That’s a career.”

    “Do Regional Managers have targets?”

    “O, Yes. Those are maybe 10 times more”

    “So, after Regional Manager, there are no targets. You retire.”

    “Yes.”

    “That’s funny” I said, “I don’t have targets even now. And I am not retired so to speak. Why is that?”

    “Why?’

    “May be because banking is a service sector. I am in exploration and production. We don’t manage. We allow others to manage our whims and fancies.”

    “You are lucky”

    “I know. I believe in it too, once in a while!” I said.

    I came out feeling dismayed at the hyperactive nature of employment in the service sector. Most people in this sector devote their lives to managing information, and use up all the adrenaline in the process!!!

    I wonder if that’s all there is to their purpose.

  29. Sharmila,

    I have received an sms saying that my vacation mood makes me sound careless, sexist (Pilot’s cabin (cockpit), european blondes, and ‘you are beautiful’ etc).

    Guess I need to correct the impression. It’s not easy to express perfectly in English on paper. And more, it’s almost impossible to actually exhibit some feelings that can cause a flutter. I did that mistake when I wrote about my brother’s demise. Have taken that sentiment off the blog completely. It was not exactly Thinking the Indian way.

    My vacation and comments are not women-centric, if that is the tone. It’s simply a travelogue, without the usual dull moments of a stranger gaping around at the scenario.

    In the Rig 1.89.2, Rishi Gautam (My gotra, the first name in the lineage) says:

    Devaanaam bhadra sumatir rjuyataam devaanaam raatir abhi no nivartataam |
    Devaanaam sakhyam upasedimaa vayam devaa na aayuh pratirantu jivase ||

    Verbatim translation:

    Gods, auspicious, right thinkings, righteous persons, of Gods, riches, in front, us, bestowed |

    of Gods, friendship, attain, we, Gods, us, life span, extend, for our life ||

    Translation:

    May we acquire Godly, auspicious and righteous thinking |

    May we attain friendship in the nature of Gods that extends our life span ||

    Note: In all the Hindu scriptures, this attitude is maintained through-out by the student towards his teachers, peers, friends and family.

    That was indeed an ancient period – thousands of years before the industrial, manufacturer’s era.

    In those days, the class of Gods did not include celebrities, girl-friends or fiances.

    And Mr. Gautam, my Gotra, who has written many chapters in the Rig, had no idea that paisa mushkil se milta hai. . He probably had no clue what is paisa and what is manufacturing. He never shaved because the shaving cream and razor were not invented in those days.

    In short many things are out-dated today, including some of the reasons and features that were called human in that ancient primeval era.

  30. The night is quiet and still. There is no sign of light or life anywhere from here to the horizon. Feels like I am back in the desert…

    Except this is wet and chill…

  31. Good Night…

    • Good Night…

      • This is a lovely clip from a great movie.

        You know, cinema has a distinct advantage over real life, in that, it cuts out the dreary and retains the essence.

        My harmonium teacher, his name was Shaligram, once picked a bully kid who was playing glass marbles near the bus stand, took him home and forced him to learn music.

        The boy became a musician later!

        In those days the parents did not mind such teachers.

    • Hope you are doing well. Thanks for the videos and the much sought after travelogues!

  32. Aishwarya,

    Good Morning,

    The night was no good.

    In the entire 20 acres of plot with 100+ cottages, mine is the only one occupied – meaning I am the only visible, living thing that looks like a human being.

    The silence is so still I could hear birds chatting from over several miles on the kalash of the village temple.

    Tried to sleep, but that ws not to be. A few minutes after I switched off the room light, a steady drone filled the room. Some bee had entered the room through the slotted window opening in the kitchen. The poor thing had strayed into the room because of the lights. Must have been disappointed not to find any flowers, and probably surprised to see a male bachelor without any company.

    Nonetheless, it kept singing it’s drone for a while and settled on the rug. The marble floor is too cold.

    I got off the bed, switched on the drawing rooom lights to attract it’s attention, which worked well. And then I switched off that light and switched the upstand lights in the garden, and opened the door. It hovered over my head for a moment and then darted off to the garden.

    Having successfully done the task, I returned happily to the bedroom only to find a whole family of bees waiting for me – on the desk, on the laptop, on the mirror and where not!

    Well, there was not much I could do. This was an invasion!

    I opened all the doors. Switched off all the lights and went out for a walk.

    ===

    In probably a thousand years, no one has walked this hilly, isolated terrain at midnight.

    I can feel that from the surprise expressed by the fluttering birds in their nests. Many are announcing my presence to their neighbors in the colony.

    I don’t carry a torch. I can see about a yard ahead of me. After all, as Osho says, all we need to see clearly is the distance of our step. The moonlight serves the purpose.

    The grass has grown about 2 feet tall since my last visit. One has to walk slowly to avoid getting the trousers slit by thorns.

    There are no snakes and mosquitoes at this time.

    There are no snakes in any case. The tea plants are toxic and except humans no other creature likes tea.

    Up in the night sky, the half moon is grinning at Venus. I can see a few large birds flying across the hazy glow. Bats. Night watchmen of nature.

    That reminds me. Why are the dogs quiet? I turn around to look at the security gate at the bottom of the hill. The human watchman and the squad of 6 dogs are nicely sleeping in their quarters.

    There’s nothing to watch over anyway.

    I amble ahead towards the edge of the valley.

    A chill dampness strikes my face. The breeze is cold and alive. It wraps around me as if feeling and measuring my size. I stand still, allowing it to take its time and settle down.

    I don’t listen carefully to the breeze. It is actually telling me to stop but I assume it is welcoming me in it’s domain.

    That’s when I make a mistake. As the breeze holds for a moment, I step forward. The foot does not land on the ground because there is no ground below.

    I fall about 6 feet along a dusty slope. The fall is broken by the stem of a thick bush. The bush shakes it’s head as if saddened at my stupidity.

    The wind whistles in my ears. I think I can hear it saying “I told you so!”

    I stand up rubbing my bruised posterior and hands.

    A couple of birds are flying close to take a look at my state. I nod at them as if to say, “I am okay!”

    They chirp to each other and return to their camps.

    I find my way back to the cottage.

    Up in the sky, the moon has moved further west. Venus has lagged almost an eight of a quarter behind. Juptier is catching up from the North West.

    The bedroom is quiet. The bees have gone away looking for better prospects outside.

    I stumble across the room in the darkness to the bed.

    My cellphone shows the time at 0315 am. I fall asleep in a few seconds.

    ===

    Now, as I wake up, I realize that it was not a dream. The bedsheets are all red with the soil that I brought back on my clothes last night.

    My right palm has cuts and blood-clots on the mount of venus. I don’t know what my posterior looks like but I can feel it’s surface area.

    Good Morning…

    πŸ™‚

    PS: Not checking for spellings… need to freshen up…

    • Correction: Mound of venus.. not mount…

    • Ouch, Reader! I suppose the bees must have taken offence at the ‘no sign of life from here to the horizon’ line and come to make their presence felt! Glad they didnt sting you. We dont want more bumps with the already swollen posterior and thenar eminence! Hope they stay out tonight. Take care.

      😦 πŸ™‚

      • Everything must go to the laundry right now. The bedsheets, clothes, pillow covers and myself with the posterior attached…

        Back in a moment… bass yun gaye aur yun aaye…

  33. Aishwarya, Sharmila, Shubha, (Where is) MonaLisa,

    Travelogue day 4

    Undertook an interesting expedition through the small hamlets in the North and NE of the district.

    After a brief halt at a rather poorly stocked Higginbothams Bookstop at Charing Cross where I purchased a map of the local district, went on a short detour through the highlands adjacent to the Doddabetta range.

    This is the ancient Badaga territory – The Nil Giris or “The Blue Mountains”. Many clusters of small tribes are settled on the slopes and also in the basin of the valley. The population is sparse to negligible along the entire stretch of about 40 Kms between Dodabetta to Coonoor. Scores of little hamlets are connected by this one single country road that snakes up and down the hill.

    The red soil on the terraces that are cut out on the slopes is remarkably fertile and yields at least two crops in a year, mainly wheat, barley, peas, opium, garlic, mustard and various species of millet. This is apart from the stock cash flow of Tea and Coffee.

    The summer temperature is a 25 max and winters drop to 5. Sunshine in these parts is for about two hours at noon as the Sun appears from behind one hill and goes behind another. The blue mist hangs like a permanent veil on the greenary.

    We stopped at a road-side tea stall and as is my wont I began to talk in Hinglish to a white lungi standing nearby. The driver did a good job as a translator.

    “How many people live in this hamlet?”

    “About 500” said the native, “May be 300 or 200 or 100”

    “What do you do for a living?” I asked leeting go the census.

    “The women cut vegetables and sort them and pack them in the gunny bags. About 70 Kgs each. We load in the truck in the evening.”

    “Every day?”

    “Yes. I go in the truck to the Metu market at 4 in the morning. It costs 30 rupees for each bag and 30 rupees for me for the transport. We sell the bags in the market auction. If you go early you get more price. Sometimes 20 rupees kg sometimes 15 rupees kg”

    Knowing his range being anywhere from 500 to 100 I worked out the math myself. I think about INR 1000/- a day is not bad.

    “What is this temple?”

    “This is the goddess temple mother Tahkkirsi. We have an annual fire festival in this temple.”

    ===

    There are several other tribes in the area though Badaga are the main farm owners. There are the shepherds and herdsmen called Toda as also Irula, Kurumba and Kota. At the last count their population was down to a few thousand. The Todas are less than a thousand.

    ===

    The forests were occupied by tigers and elephants in the past. Most of them were hunted by the English settlers when they annexed the area from Tipu Sultan as both the tigers and elephants were tamed and used by the locals to fight wars. The area had been accessed through the passes by many invaders from Malabar, Coimbatore and Mysore.

    ===

    An ancient myth about the Toda shepherds is that God dropped a pearl on the Nil Giri hills, out of which sprang the goddess mother Tahkkirsi. The goddes tapped her cane on the dust of the hills and created the first toda and a buffaloe.

    The buffaloe is hence a sacred animal like the cow in the Ganges belt, hence not eaten.

    ===

    The Kota tribe are artisans and musicians. The Irula tribes are wizards and witches. The Irula catch and train elephants and tigers. Folklore says that the women leave the children in care of tigers when they go to work in the fields.

    There are about 18 tribes in the hills.

    ===

    Along the route are also a few Tea factories and some green-houses that grow cultures of mushrooms and strawberries. Among the tall eucalyptus, one can see an occasional blue oak and some fern trees. A couple of palatial bungalows are perched on top of the smaller hills.

    One noticeable element is that, even in the calm and peaceful environment, there are people at work all over the place – in the farms on the terraces, in the trucking lots and the factory sheds. The unoccupied ones sitting on the route are actually shepherds watching over the animals grazing on the slopes.

    This is one agricultural land that is busier than an industrial estate!

    ===

    To be continued…

    • Surrounded by mountains all around, God seems to have protected this beautiful valley and its simple hardworking people from getting entangled in the complexities of city life…

  34. Day 4 Continued..

    The vegetables are the daily cash crops – Cabbage, Carrots, Spinach, beans etc.

    In each village there are one or two cleaning yards. The vegetables are loaded into large, porous, horizontally mounted cylinders that rotate on a motor. Water is poured from the top through a flexible hose and the wash water is collected in drains below.

    The vegetables brought from the farms are fed from one end of the cylinder and drop off from the other. They are then packed in gunny bags and loaded in trucks.

    The workers’ daily rates are different for men and women. Men get INR 500 per day and women get about 200 to 300 depending on the task.

    A farm worker’s deal is to cut the produce, wash it at the station, fill the bags and load it in the truck. Each bag, after washing, weighs about 120 kg. The water drops out of the bag by the time the truck reaches the market and the net weight comes to about 100 kg. Each bag sells for anywhere between INR 2000/- to 3000/-.

    It appears that about 40% of the actual expense is on fertilizers which is sold on credit by the retailers. After paying the workers, transporters and the shopkeeper’s credits a farmer gets about INR 1000/- per day. That’s cool.

    ===

    There is at least one primary school in each village. Education, uniforms and books are free for all students.

    ===

    It’s freezing cold outside at this moment. It’s 0900 PM. The watchman tells me that it is time for ice fall. This will continue into the new year. The temperature has dropped below 10 already.

    There are no weather seasons in this area as in the rest of the country. The climate changes within hours. Even a stray cloud in the sky rains when it strikes one of the hills.

    I need to watch out buzzing bumble bees drifting in through the windows. Have shut all the doors.

    There is an electric coil heater that burns the oxygen in the room after running for an hour. Better to wear warm clothes and blankets. Give the heater a break.

    • Dont ‘break’ the heater. Leave it on. There’s a buzz that its freezing cold…the bees are coming with woollies on…

      πŸ™‚

  35. Passing out in a few minutes…

  36. Unable to sleep… feel like drawing cartoons like Angel…

  37. Aishwarya, where is Sharmila?

  38. Good Night… perfect lori to put everyone to sleep… πŸ™‚

  39. Good Morning,

    Where is everyone? Hope all are well.

  40. Well, I am ready and off to another exploration trip, to the South today.

    Don’t say I didn’t wait… I was online since 0430 am!!!… Back soon…

    Meanwhile, a small discovery at sunrise this morning. There seems to be no chance for the weather to reach a dew point. It’s always dew point. At some hour after midnight, the air becomes so thick with fog that the water condenses everywhere on everything.

    The sparrows, mynas (cuckoos), crows and parrots wait patiently staring at the hills South East. The Sun rises in the South East this time of the year, being close to the tropic of Capricorn.

    At first light, all of the birds fly out of the trees, shaking off the dew, singing and chirping till everyone wakes up!

    I wonder if they understand each other… this is what I heard:

    Myna: Cooooo.. whooo…???

    Sparrow: Cheap cheap krrauw…

    Crow: Krrauw???

    Blue bird: Weeeeeee…. weeeee

    Parrots: We tooooo.. we toooo…

    Myna: Naw… naw…

    Anyway, you get the general drift of the debate… these birds can chat all day… I got to go… have a busy day ahead… Where’s my backpack?… Where are the shoes?? They were right here on the dressing table last night! Who cleaned this room?? Damn!

    Okay… shall leave you alone… bye for now… have a good day… me too…

  41. Travelogue Day 5

    It’s been a somewhat trying day. The fog broke the rules. Visibility remained close to zero till well past noon. Several roads were diverted to avoid traffic accidents.

    Visited Indunagar, Kamaraj reservoir, Sholur Panchayat and a few blocks of the Pykar valley near the helipad.

    No exciting discoveries. Nothing to report.

    Shall close the day with a snippet:

    The name Udhagamandalam, formerly Ootacamund or Ooty has no definite etymology.

    1. Name Ooty has nothing to do with Tea.

    2. Mund, in this singularly hilly area, means village on a hill.

    3. One version of the name is “Whotai” (dwarf bamboo) kai (tender fruit) and mand – Whotai-kai-mund

    4. Another version is “Ootakal” (Single stone) mund. The Toda tribe had the custom of placing a stone as mark of reverence to teachers and priests.

    5. Udakam is water in Tamil, hence Udhagamand

    6. The hills were occupied by the herdsmen of the Toda tribe long before any other peoples. “Ootac” is a corruption of the Toda word “Hootkh”

    7. The nearest Badaga word that sounds like Hootkh is “Hottu” which means stomach.

    8. There was one large stone house belonging to the Toda tribe in this region that the Badaga tribe called “Whottege-mund”

    Chhodo… what’s in a name…

    Good Night…

  42. Parmeshwara! Venkateshwara!
    Hear my silent application;
    Sharmila is in Tirumala
    Give her a net connection

    Her blog has frozen for words
    Her EF has gone over the top;
    Reader is writing about birds
    He never knows when to stop

    Parmeshwara! Venkateshwara!
    Bless Reader’s fascination;
    Sharmila is in Tirumala
    Give her a net connection

    When Sharmila is in Hong Kong
    She opens this blog every day;
    In India something goes wrong
    We wonder where she gets away

    Parmeshwara! Venkateshwara!
    Writing is a divine passion;
    Sharmila is in Tirumala
    Give her a net connection

    If only for a few minutes a day
    May it be in English or in Hindi;
    We’ll hear what she has to say
    Even if it’s about Pritish Nandy

    Parmeshwara! Venkateshwara!
    Keep this good blog in motion
    Sharmila is in Tirumala
    Give her a net connection

    Aum, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti…

  43. Travelogue Day 6 and Day 7 (Delayed because Sharmila was AWOL)

    I do not feel sorry for the general public as a rule. Visitors and historians are not supposed to feel sad or happy at the state of the common man. They should simply observe and record the facts that are posed to them.

    That’s what I did in the last two days, though I must admit that my IQ must have come down by a few percentage points as result of this exercise.

    I have found a way to protect my sensibilities in such situations. I take photographs of all and sundry, and assess their import in the solitude of my confines later. I call it ‘Using the Gaja-mani’ – the memory in the forehead!

    Day 6

    Equiped with my compass, a map and an all-wheel drive I decided to explore the settlements in the west.

    The road true-west of the estate is the only one that does not lead out of the hills. It ends on the top of a dyke that diverts water to a large catchment. The English settlers, rather ambitiously I’d say, had called it a dam, probably to get more funds from the Councils in Coimbatore who sponsored their enterprises.

    I was not expecting to find anything on this track. There was no traffic and the hamlets on the hillsides are all in one single cluster surrounding about 10 square kilometers of vegetable farms.

    A couple of hills and dales are occupied by a famous public school which is reserved for resident students. Day scholars are not admitted.

    Thanks to one of our EF who advised me of a Tribal Museum in the area. I was asked to look for the names Muthurai, Avalanche, Killow Hatti and Emerald dam.

    My driver and guide added a few more names which I cannot remember off-hand but I have caught the name-boards on camera.

    The tribal museum was a revellation.

    The wooden gate at the entrance was so creaky, it was obvious that it had not been opened fully for several decades. There was another barrier at the next bend which was removed by a native watchman working on the premises.

    After intial introductions and hand shakes, I requested to see the place. He objected to my photography of some designer exhibits which lead to a slight negotiation and was settled for INR 50/-. Very clever, these watchmen.

    The museum houses the relics and antiques collected from the tribes in the rain forests, mainly Paniyan, Kota, Toda, Kanikaran. The Badaga symbols are absent because they were farmers not jungle people.

    Except a few implements like sickles, knives, swords, musical instrments and jewellary everything else was made of jungle wood, bamboo, stones and burnt mud.

    The Paniyans and Kanikarans are short and dark, slightly larger than pygmies. The Toda and Kota are about 5 feet tall, fair, well-dressed in silk and decorated in religious effects.

    There are amazing similarities in appearance and lifestyles between the tribes of Bengal, Andaman, Nicobar and those in these forests which gives credence to one of the books I recently proof-read for a publication recently.

    What was apparantly evidence of pre-historic lifestyles of humans in this area became a rude shock, real and contemporary, on Day 7 when I visited a village in the Bandipur forest in Karnataka!

    To be continued…

    • Wow.. you are on a roll! Fascinating to say the least. Q – Do you see any similarities with the aboroginals of Aus and NZ here? I do find it quite fascinating how similar they can look.

  44. Travelogue Day 7

    Last night was freezing cold and there was no respite in the morning.

    The fog was pushing against the doors and windows from all sides and drifting inside the cottage through any openings that it could find.

    Nothwithstanding the poor visibility on the road that was about 10 feet ahead, I decided to venture into the forest.

    I had a choice of either visiting a tribal colony in Bokapur, Tamilnadu or one in a place called Mangala in Bandipur, Karnataka. I chose the latter since I had been to Bokapur, Veera’s hole, during my last visit.

    The drive along the highway through the Tiger reserves of Mudummali and Bandipur were as usual.

    BTW, before I go to the findings, here are a few more facts of this tropical rain forest cover.

    This rain forest is the main cause of the South West monsoons. It’s given different names in each state as Singara, Mudumalai, Wyanad, Bandipur, Nagarhole, WS Kavery, Banergatta, Brahmagiri etc. In Karnataka it stretches by the entire coast from the edge of Chamraj Nagar in Mysore to Belgaum, passing through Hassan, Chikmagalur, Udupi, Shimoga and Uttar Karnataka.

    The entire greenary covers more than 10,000 square kilometers of which 5,500 is in Karnataka and the rest is divided between Kerala and Tamilnadu.

    The South West monsoon clouds that originate in the Indian ocean along the tropic of capricorn are drawn by these forests as the Sun begins the uttarayana after December 21 each year.

    There are about 290 Tigers in this area. Of these, about 190 are seen in Bandipur because of its deciduous cover. The Bandipur National Park is about 880 square kilometers. About 550 Sq km of this is ‘core’ forest, extremely dense, where the trees are less than 5 to 6 feet apart. The area that is frequented by tourists is about 80 sq kms. Tigers are spotted in the core areas and only in rocky places which are clear of snakes. There are also over 1000 elephants in the Bandipur region.

    Apart from the big mammals, there are large herds of harmless deer and bison. There are brotherly langurs and monkeys.

    Nonetheless, among all the animals, the elephants are by and large the custodians of the entire forest. No two ways about that.

    The Mangala village is situated about 7 kms on one of the ranges in Bandipur. We reached there just after noon.

    To be continued…

  45. Travelogue Day 7

    The Mangala village panchayat is a cluster of 6 to 7 hamlets. The total population of about 5000 is spread over 125 sq kms of the forest range.

    Habitat

    The state government has built colonies of single room huts made of mud, cement plaster and tiles. Each hut has a backyard where fire wood and heaps of cow-dung are laid out. This cow dung is a fuel as well as manure.

    All the people are self-employed. Vegetables are grown in the farms on the terraces in the valley and the basin. These are sold in the local market at Gundalpet every day.

    Everyone owns cows. The cows graze freely on the hills all day and return home in the evening. I wonder why they return.

    The cowdung is also purchased by some dealers who sell it to a fertilizer plant in the town.

    People stock food and fuel supplies inside the huts to see them through the harsh winters.

    Education

    There are primary schools for children. Free education, books and lunch.

    Health care

    There is a primary health care center which provides vaccinations and maternity care.

    Connectivity

    There are state transport buses plying to and fro. Wireless telephony is mainly provided by BSNL and Airtel. One can get a faint signal of Vodafone if standing on a height at the right spot.

    Revenue

    There is no revenue to the governement as there is no taxable income associated with any of the occupations.

    History

    The entire population is classifed under Scheduled Tribes under our constitution. The village sarpanch is a Gouda.

    Faith

    There is a temple of Shiva in the center of the village. Who else?

    There is also a small mosque and church that have come up recently.

    These temple, mosque and church are the best engineering structures in the village. Good architecture, arches, oil paints and teak wood fittings and fixtures with excellent workmanship.

    Inside a hut

    All the furniture and enclosures inside a hut are made of mud. People sleep on the floor.

    The utensils are made of wood, same as we saw in the museum. There is an is a small attic for storage.

    No one in the colony is richer than the neighbor in terms of lifestyle. All are the same.

    ===

    As we were returning from the village, we saw an excellent farm-house cum resort on the hill – French design with sky-lights, balconies, chimneys, an equestrian ranch, swimming pool etc complete.

    On enquiry, I was told that it belongs to the son-in-law of a powerful state minister. It is used for weekend retreats, politics and entertainment. Wine and women come from Coorg and Bangalore.

    The villagers tell their children that it is the devil’s residence.

    ===

    There is no mining and metal industry in any of these parts.

    One tends to forget Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics etc if one stays too long in this place. People are so happy and content with what they have.

  46. Mission Statement displayed in Bellary Reddy’s office:

    Reddy, Steddy, Scam!

  47. femei perfecte…

    […]Are we a nation of cribbers?…. By Pritish Nandy « Sharmila says…[…]…

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