"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)

Give A Little Whistle


We had visited our final temple on this journey:
It was time for our last lunch on the road.


Our restaurant, like many on the main street, employed a man to stand outside the premises,
armed with a whistle.

His role was to attract passing motorists, and guide them into parking places. There was no car-park as such, no marked spaces, or even smooth flat surfaces on which to bring your vehicle,
Just this road-side guide and his notional parking-lots. 


With an authority granted by his whistle, the man blew vigorously and almost continuously.
The sound emitted was piercingly sharp.
Beyond discomfort, it bordered onto pain.

But he blew as if his life depended on it,
And perhaps it did…
Enthusiastic whistling is often what the restaurant owner needs to hear, if a “car-park attendant” wishes to keep his job, the free meals and meagre salary.




4 responses

  1. Toffeeapple

    Your final sentence made my heart bleed and my eyes leak.

    May 30, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    • For all India’s dazzling beauty, brilliance of light and exotic splendour, I always feel a powerful undercurrent of potential tragedy.
      Relative success and abject failure seem separated by just a whisker’s breadth. For outside of family kinship, there is no safety-net to catch those in free-fall…

      May 30, 2011 at 8:07 pm

  2. Toffeeapple

    A fragile way of life.

    May 31, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    • I think, for all of us, any control we have over life is less robust than we might imagine. In India, the delicacy of our grip is made more apparent.

      May 31, 2011 at 4:24 pm

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