"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)

bicycle

Come Fly With Me..?

The sight of a man on his bicycle is not at all unusual here in Cochin.

But it’s not often that an unfledged sea-eagle is perched on the handlebars..

The encounter was a little surreal, bordering perhaps on the Putin-esque.
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Quite what I witnessed remains a mystery to me.
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A Shared Solution

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Picture taken in Palace Road, Fort Cochin


The School Run

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Picture taken in Fort Cochin


Taking A Closer Look

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After breakfast we met up again with Mukesh, the driver who had waited patiently for us at Delhi airport.

Although Delhi was just our stop-over and we have both been there before, as with any vast and ancient city there is always plenty more to see.  We had decided to spend the first day of our holiday just enjoying the pleasures of exploring the capital.

Our plan was to begin by visiting Chandni Chowk, the centuries-old market area, based around a very narrow and bustling street from which countless shop-lined alleyways and bazaars emerge.

But as Mukesh explained, during market hours the road was practically impassable by car. It was better that he take us to the Red Fort from where we could hire a bicycle-rickshaw, which could more easily navigate this byzantine maze of shopping opportunities.

Our first task was to find a suitable rickshaw cyclist and negotiate the rate.
Between us, Robin and I must weigh a combined total of about 150 kg (330 lbs). Many of the drivers looked far too old or frail to pedal such a load.
Mukesh carefully selected a younger cyclist: slight in build but with extremely hefty thighs which, despite his being very modestly dressed, visibly bulged through the legs of his trousers.

Just as carefully, to avoid distressing any reader of a sensitive disposition, I have cropped this picture to save you from the unnerving sight of such rippling leg muscles..

Our cyclist-driver also acted as a guide, pointing out buildings of interest, while gently guiding his rickshaw through the narrow streets, passing shop-keepers, tea-rooms and a small army of fellow cycle-rickshaws

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It’s an amazing and exhilarating way to take a closer look at the city.


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An Art Installation?

Or maybe just parts of Shaji’s bicycle-frame hanging in my yard,
and in the process of being repainted.
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Deliverance

A take-away service.

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Pictures taken in Fort Cochin.


An Early Morning Pause

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Picture taken in Fort Cochin


Managing Inflation

Bicycle tyre maintenance in Pattalam, Fort Cochin.
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Unchained Melodies

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Picture taken in Fort Cochin


Well Played

Schoolboys return from dawn football practice.
After a quick wash and breakfast, they will start their classes.
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Picture taken at 8 o’clock in the morning, Patallam, Fort Cochin.


Team Orange

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Picture taken at 6:30am in Patallam, Fort Cochin.


Thursday’s Child

Thursday’s child has far to go.
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Man with hand-powered, disability tricycle, pausing on his journey.

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Monday’s child is fair of face
Tuesday’s child is full of grace

Wednesday’s child is full of woe 
Thursday’s child has far to go
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Picture taken on Palace Road, Cochin.


A Determined Perch

“Perch”
Its definitions include
An elevated place for resting or sitting:
A position that is secure, advantageous, or prominent.
 Derived from Middle English perche, from Old French, from Latin pertica: stick, pole
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Elevated and prominent?
Certainly.

Advantageous?
Perhaps.

Secure?

Determinedly so!
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Listening For Silent Melodies

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To and fro,
He struggled with burdens.

All the while listening
To a silent melody
Which sang in his heart.
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An Die Musik

O fairest art how oft in troubled hours blighted,
When I am trapped and lost on life’s wild race,
Hast thou with love on this poor heart alighted
And flown it gently to a better place.

From thy sweet heart a sigh so often drifted,
A chord of blessed harmony and bliss.
Thou show’dst me heaven’s holy light uplifted.
O fairest art I thank thee so for this.

Franz von Schober  (1796 – 1882)

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Pictures taken in Cochin 


Born To Be Wild?

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I lust.

But the object of my desire may be inappropriate for a man in his late fifties.

Am I physically capable of this partnership? After-all, I have enough titanium on-board to be mistaken for a Frank Gehry project.

What would my family say?

Will my friends laugh at an old man’s folly?

I must examine all the alternatives…

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Review the situation…

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Is this just a foolish infatuation?

My last attempt to recapture lost youth?

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Or am I looking at the real thing?

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Caught In The Rush Hour

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“Rush hour: That hour when the traffic is almost at a standstill”

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I find I have fallen in love with my adopted home

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Parties of One

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“We are born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” Orson Wells.

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“Language… has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.”     Paul Tillich.

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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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The Season Of Umbrellas

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Now is the season of umbrellas.

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The monsoon may still be somewhere over the Andaman Islands  but along the Kerala coastline we see its harbinger.

Looking out from my door

the trailing edge of cyclone Laila

has brought more rain.

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In Tandem

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“In the confusion we stay with each other, happy to be together, speaking without uttering a single word.”

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Re Cycling

Bicycles are big in India.

Wherever you look, there seems to be a bike.

Outside the shops,

The church

And the tea-stand.

Beside the lake,

Beneath the trees

Not fluttering and dancing in the breeze, but instead standing robust and solid.

Bicycles can have their Isadora Duncan moments.

But for men in pants, or with dhotis safely tucked up, bikes are used to get to work,

To play

And to meetings.

Bikes are part of work

Carrying milk

Selling fish

And transporting packages.

They are sometimes strangely modified

They are advertised

In unlikely locations

Bicycles are part of the Indian landscape.