"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)

beginnings

Inaugurating Change

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Whenever a new venture is about to start in Kerala, be it grand or relatively modest, an inauguration ceremony launches the project.
Whatever the religious beliefs – or lack of belief – of those involved, fruits and flowers are proffered, and an oil lamp is lit:
a remnant, perhaps, of the persistent power of apotropaic prayer.

It is a custom which unites Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jains and even the Marxist Communists of this state.

Picture taken at the inauguration of a new ayurvedic centre at Tom’s Old Mansion in Fort Cochin, Kerala


Beginnings… And Endings

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A new day dawns.
And my stay ends…

Picture taken from Southern Star Abbey, Kopua Monastery, New Zealand


Morning Moments… Part Three

Setting out…
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Picture taken in the lane outside my home in Fort Cochin, shortly before 6:30 this morning.


Raring To Go

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Of course, 
it might have been wise to re-accustom myself to wearing shoes before embarking on this adventure.
Especially, when it’s a new pair of shoes..
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Today I wake in my Delhi hotel bedroom.
A beautifully spicy “chai masala” sits beside me.

My new walking shoes will not be needed today.
Our plane touched-down in Delhi just before midnight, to be greeted by gentle warmth (32 C), the pleasant absence of monsoon rains, and Ravindra, our driver for the next five days.

It seems I can inspect some of Delhi’s glorious historical sites in the familiar comfort of my Kerala “chappals”

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Under Construction

Across the road from me, the construction of a three-story, apartment block continues.

Some days it is extremely busy.

Other days, less so.


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Fiat Lux

 

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“One may not reach the dawn save by the path of the night.”   Kahlil Gibran,  1883 – 1931

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An Alternative Construction

The plot of land which stands opposite mine was once a refuge for wild plants and animals.

It has been sold to developers.

A vast blue curtain now hangs in front of my gates.

From within, hammers, shovels and pickaxes practise daily overtures.

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Unused sets and props wait in the wings.

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Now You See It?

You will need to look carefully:

Very carefully.

The first green shoot

Not of economic recovery in the West

But of my banana flower in the East.

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Empire Lines

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“In the beginning there were two nations. One was a vast, mighty and magnificent empire, brilliantly organised and culturally unified, which dominated a massive swathe of the earth.   The other was an underdeveloped, semi-feudal realm, riven by religious factionalism and barely able to feed its illiterate, diseased and stinking masses. The first nation was India. The second was England.”

So begins “Indian Summer: The secret history of the end of an empire”.

This book by Alex Von Tunzelmann, which charts the independence and partition of India, continues as compellingly as it starts.

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It’s gripping reading: I may be gone some time…

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Restitution

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“That which he laboured for, he shall restore..”

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Rain Trees And Sun

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While the monsoon continues, day-break brings new road-blocks.

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The local Rain Trees regularly shed their sodden boughs.

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To balance this annual attrition, new roadside trees are planted.

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But for now, blue skies promise – and deliver – a day of sunshine.

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Morning Errands

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“True happiness, we are told, consists in getting out of one’s self, but the point is not only to get out – you must stay out; and to stay out you must have some absorbing errand.”         From: Roderick Hudson  (Henry James)

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New Beginnings

Now is a time of change.

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The house, once filled with laughter, falls quiet.

The games

are over.

Now is time to open the gates

and not look back.

Time to set out:

A new term begins.

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