"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

Road Mending


The sound of loud chatter assailed me just latterly – noise that had come from outside.

To wit this disturbance – a certain perturbance –  my manservant also espied.

Shaji ran in from the yard’s lofty gate,

He spoke like a prophet or seer:

“Sir, please. Come quickly. No time to be sickly!

Road-roller and workers are here, they’re here – they’re here!

Road-roller and workers are here.”



Fort Cochin’s new mayor is aware of the prayers that voters have made for their streets.

Casual labour’s been summoned. My dream is they’ll come and create a road fit for aesthetes.

At present it’s pot-holed and traversed by fissures.

Driving’s a challenging feat.

It’s quite hard to ensure, in taxi or rickshaw, one’s bottom remains on the seat, the seat – the seat!

One’s bottom remains on the seat.



While tarmac is pouring, and neighbours adoring the new mayor’s fair-square policy.

I can’t help but notice this finishing coat is effectively foundation-free.

Beneath the thin layer of asphalt and concrete

Lies soft earth and loose sand combined.

At the monsoon’s returning, we’ll soon be re-learning

If dreams remain merely moonshine, moonshine – moonshine!

If dreams remain merely moonshine.


With apologies to Edward Lear



4 responses

  1. We get people offering to do our drive all the time with some ‘left over tarmac from another job’. I should get out there and enjoy the smooth ride while you can.

    January 14, 2011 at 12:30 am

    • I intend to!
      But I can’t help wishing that the money had been put towards thorough and lasting repairs to the main roads in Cochin.

      January 14, 2011 at 9:10 am

  2. a good foundation is everything …

    January 14, 2011 at 9:07 am

    • I am reliably informed this is so…

      January 14, 2011 at 9:18 am

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