I was about to publish this post when I heard the news of Osama’s death. My brother is going to Afghanistan with the army later this month – too soon to be affected by policy change in the region if there is any. It’s a good thing that the Wicked Witch is gone, but sadly, there are still lions and tigers and bears.
The punishing heat has arrived: 42 degrees celsius. That’s 107 for my friends at home. Mood and food rot fast when the temps rise here. The heat saps your energy and your spirit. Maybe the rising mercury will cool a few tempers in this city – the papers have been rife with gang rapes over the past few months. Awful stories of young, hungry men feasting on vulnerable women and children. I don’t know if these are copycat crimes, or just focused reporting where there was none in the past.
I remember reading once that crime falls when the temperature soars and that there’s actually a “perfect” temperature range that fuels aggression: high enough to push you over the edge, but not too high to melt you out of acting on bad impulses.
Yes, I watched the Royal Wedding. The Dress, The Pomp, The Silly Hats. The lady who wore the foot-high starched bow on her brow… What was she thinking?
The British High Commission in Delhi celebrated the wedding with local and Commonwealth VIP’s. They served a three-tiered chocolate truffle cake at the party. There was also lots of bubbly, thanks to the BBC apparently. I listened to two former BBC reporters tisk-ing over the network-sponsored Royal rave. Like most news organizations these days, the network is counting the pennies it pays its staff.
The kids and I watched the festivities on the computer at school since Kate started marching just as classes ended. We followed-up later at the American Club. Boys love fairy tales too – here are mine huddled with friends to catch that kiss:
And the girls, a bit earlier:
For the record, I liked what the Bishop of London had to say about Mastery when he quoted Chaucer. The sermon is a quick read and worth a gander if you missed it.
We went to a fun dinner party last night. Our hosts, Peter and Cecile are from New York and France, respectively. Peter traveled and worked in India back in the early 80’s. He returned recently to start a textile design business. His work is beautiful – the fabrics reflect ancient and historic designs.
Meeting Peter and Cecile’s Indian friends reminds me of the power of nostalgia and the spirit it releases if you let it. Peter loves India – not senselessly, as a “phile” is at risk of doing. He has a particular enthusiasm for India that you don’t often encounter among expats here. Many of the friends I met last night are connected directly or peripherally to his first trip to India. One of them regaled me with stories of the early days with Peter, including how they lived on a houseboat in Kashmir for three months.
Anyway, this made me think about my own feelings for China, how I slipped easily into the place when we moved there in 2003. I had spent a summer traveling and studying in China in 1987. Fondness for those memories made moving there easy. I do admit to some disappointment – China had changed too much in 15 years.
India has changed at a more natural pace – and arguably too slow. For Peter, I wonder whether India today feels like Deja vu.
Our hosts, right and center and Cecile’s identical twin:
My new little friend on the street corner. This is the girl who wants medicine for long hair, which prompted me to hand out boiled eggs. The kids love them, although in this heat, bottled water is much appreciated. The little one on her hip belongs to everyone on the corner it seems. She? He? gets handed around from hip to hip:
It’s “Good Bye” party season in expat land. Every year there’s a string of them – celebrations for people moving on. Here we are on our way to one. Jim is feeling good these days. In this photo he was “one hour” from finishing, completely finishing, edits and all, his book. He dragged-out that hour… savored the anticipation I think. Or maybe he was waiting for the monster to arrive, like in Churchill’s famous quote:
“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.”
I am happy to write, The Book Is Flung!