"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)

watching

Putting On A Show: Waiting For The Call

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(A clip worth playing, if only to hear the eccentric pronunciation of Richard Attenborough’s surname!)
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Picture taken in Fort Cochin


Sic Transit..

“Sic transit gloria mundi”

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Picture taken in the transit hall of Dohar airport, Qatar


The Loneliness Of Love

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An Awareness Of Waiting

A fisherman waits for dusk.
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Picture taken in the Kerala Backwaters, Chellanam.


Waiting For Work

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Picture taken in Fort Cochin


Time And Tide

Time and tide may wait for no man,
but the parish hearse is patient..
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“The origin of the phrase “time and tide” is uncertain, although it’s clear that it is ancient, and predates modern English. The earliest known record is from St. Marher, 1225:  “And te tide and te time þat tu iboren were, schal beon iblescet.”

A version in modern English – “the tide abides for, tarrieth for no man, stays no man, tide nor time tarrieth no man” – evolved into the present day version.

The notion of ‘tide’ being beyond man’s control brings up images of the King Canute story. He purposely demonstrated to his courtiers the limits of a king’s power by failing to make the sea obey his command.

That literal interpretation of ‘tide’ in ‘time and tide’ is what is now usually understood, but wasn’t what was meant in the original version of the expression. ‘Tide’ didn’t refer to the contemporary meaning of the word, i.e. the rising and falling of the sea, but to a period of time. When this phrase was coined tide meant a season, or a time, or a while. The word is still with us in that sense in ‘good tidings’, which refers to a good event or occasion and Whitsuntide, noontide etc.”

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Picture taken outside the Holy Cross Basilica, Fort Cochin.
Origins of the expression “time and tide” taken from “The Phrase Maker “.


The Look Out

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Our first morning in Gangtok found us viewing the Do Drul Chorten, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery
The monks, 
looking out on their world, appeared to be just as curious as we were.

The community mainly consists of young men in their teens and twenties: some are mere “schoolboys”.

Many are Tibetan refugees.
They were polite but seemed largely indifferent to the presence of pilgrims and tourists.
Instead they appeared determinedly focused on the middle-distance, staring out onto whatever was happening around them.

My assumptions were challenged.
I had expected the monks to be sitting in silent meditation, chanting prayers or reading sacred texts.
But their time seemed largely unstructured.
Although silent, the very strong sense of communication between them was almost palpable.

 It was like stepping into a boy’s boarding school during a moment of high drama.

Initially I wondered if the young monks felt like exhibits in an exotic zoo. Perhaps their “look out” was a defence against the constant scrutiny of outsiders and their cameras.
But I saw exactly the same phenomenon in all the monasteries we visited. 

Whether it’s a search for distraction, their game of interaction, or part of training in mindfulness, I cannot tell.
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The monastery is not an enclosed order.
And although I could not understand what was happening, this community’s strange, unsettling atmosphere had some sort of magnetic attraction.
It defied expectation and explanation.
In my mind, the monks remain inscrutable,
silent,
content,
waiting and watching from their window on the world.

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Pictures taken at the Do Drul Chorten, Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and Institute of Education.


Northern Exposure: Part 4

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Picture taken behind the Taj Mahal, on my north Indian travels.


Waiting To Be Seen

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He’s told to wait
Outside.
Someone will let him know.

Locked gates are hardly opened.
Prospects are narrow,
Hopes are slim.

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Picture of a young man in conservative Muslim dress, taken during Ramadan, the Islāmic festival of charity and fasting.


Watching The Rushes

The definitions of rushes include:

• moves or acts swiftly, as in a hurry

• the first, unedited print of a movie scene…

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From its quiet beginnings, right up until it ends,

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The Fort Cochin rush is:

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Something less than frenzied.

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“What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?”  William Henry Davies

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The Passing

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You taught me Waiting with Myself —

Appointment strictly kept —

You taught me fortitude of Fate —

This — also — I have learnt —

 

An Altitude of Death, that could

No bitterer debar

Than Life — had done — before it –

Emily Dickinson

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Watchful Waiting

– or –

The Hazards Of Compression

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Yesterday morning found me waiting at the jetty.

We had just missed a ferry. There were twenty minutes to watch and wait.

Photo-opportunities effortlessly presented themselves and time happily clicked by.

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Later I downloaded the pictures from camera to computer.

Mindful that picture space on the WordPress servers has limits, I opted for measured frugality. I would compress the size of my new photo files.

In the click of a mouse it was done.

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But this was an act of undue haste. I had not checked which level of file compression was suitable.

My photographs were reduced to hardly more than postage stamp size. Their intensity was lost. They were spoilt.

Belatedly I read the warning:

File compression can not be undone.”

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I have relegated the pictures into a slideshow, hoping their impoverished pixels might pass unnoticed.

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Note to self: watchful waiting has its merits.

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