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Archive for June, 2007

They come in Indian threes

feet.jpgAs I walked down the road happily taking in the usual chaos that is India a man stepped in front of me and threw up all over my feet - a proper whisky gush in fact. The man who I usually buy water from who was observing at the time found this particularly amusing, especially when I bought extra water to clean myself up a bit. I carried on walking and within two minutes a pushbike and a motorbike crashed into each other right in front of me and they both landed at my feet. Fortunately neither of them was seriously hurt although I think that graze on the shoulder will sting tonight. They picked themselves up - probably slightly quicker than usual due to my carrot and sweetcorn covered feet - and carried on their way as I did, by now rather gingerly, concerned about what may be around the next corner. It didn’t take long to find out.

As I approached my home all the local dogs were going mad, barking, chasing their tails and howling. I didn’t know what to expect or what to do - a pack of dogs in a frenzy made me slightly perturbed especially considering what had just happened to me - so I just stopped. Next thing I know the most enormous pig I have ever seen bolts around the corner being chased by five dogs and heading straight for me. I was overcome by rabbit in the headlights syndrome and just froze. Just as this enormous creature in a clear state of panic of its own was about to knock me into Sri Lanka it did a bit of a Jonny Wilkinson to fool the chasing dogs and changed direction. Not before its hind hoove caught me on the foot though, although I think that may have been a deliberate manoeuvre telling me to do something about my feet!

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I miss it…







Glastonbury 2007

Picture originally uploaded by Will Rose

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How bad is the English media?

There appears to be serious problems relating to the Tamil Nadu press reporting of child labour and education issues in the sense that they are not reported at all or they report government figures only. And the Tamil Nadu state government maintains there is only a limited number of child labourer’s in the state.

Why does the real issue of child labour in Tamil Nadu as reported by NGO’s only appear in a newspaper printed in Andra Pradesh? Do Tamil newspapers take the word of the state government as the only truth without any recourse for investigation? Is there a refusal to report the truth or are the government figures just accepted as fact?

The feeling is that because Tamil Nadu is an industrialised state with Special Economic Zones in the pipeline and therefore overseas corporate investment then the press doesn’t want to show the state in a bad light and possibly put off investment.

I don’t know of many cases of corporates risking their profits for the sake of child labourer’s, they just don’t like getting caught using them. Instead of revealing the reality of the situation it would seem the media would prefer to see 12 year old girls working in brick kilns or migrating away from home to work in garment factories in Coimbatore.

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Hayle’s a singer!!

hayles.jpgI haven’t heard her yet but I know she’ll be brilliant cos she’s brilliant.

Listen here>>







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A useful pillow

I saw a one-legged man asleep today - he was using his prosthetic as a pillow so it took me a while to work out what was going on. Unfortunately he was awake before I could get my camera…

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Food for thought

Choice isn’t really on the menu in Sirkazhli, so being the creature of habit we all are I go and see Ganesh and Garim who do the best parotha’s in town. Every night they treat me to one of their concoctions/variations on the same thing (parotha and omelette) and tonight it came mixed together and flat as opposed to last night when it came mixed together and puffed up…

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All day power cut

It makes you appreciate a fan. Surely it wasn’t coincidence that it came back on just as the sun sets!

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Children’s Enrolment Rally

The Kollidam Block Chairman (Chief of councillors), another local councillor, the DMK Party block leader, and an elected Panchayat representative were all present to address the rally and donate books which suggests support at least at the local council level. The reality isn’t always true to the suggestion though. So the rallies go on…

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Stuffed samosas

There’s a tiny old beggar woman who I see as I am approaching my local chai shop, they all know me in there and we always have a laugh trying to misunderstand each other. I think they try to explain to me she’s been there for ½ an hour and they can’t get rid of her no matter how many samosas they give her. I’m still quite taken aback when she turns around to face me though, she’s about 4ft ½ inch and looks about 284 (she’s probably about 34, you really can’t tell) with the biggest witches nose I have ever seen. I don’t really know where to look and I’m actually wishing she would put her hand out but she doesn’t, she just stares and I can feel the sweat forming on my back and the chai fellas are trying to shoo her away but she just stares and I so wish I’d had my camera cos it would have given me something to do with my sweaty hands. After the life time eternity those 30 seconds were she turns round and hobbles down the two steps to the street.

Just about every shop no matter what they sell has a payphone outside, this particular one outside the chai shop was on a plinth, tied with string to the bamboo pole holding up the front of the chai shop. When she got down the first step – which took about 5 minutes and I’d already ordered another chai absolutely fascinated as everybody was, she just had us all transfixed – I noticed the shoes/flip-flops she was wearing were about 4 sizes too big for me, they were like flippers on her, it felt like I knew for ages what was going to happen. As the samosas flew through the air she did what any normal person would do and grabbed the nearest thing to her – which happened to be the plinth the phone was standing on, it wasn’t there to save her though, fortunately for all of us mesmerised in the chai shop the plinth was secured with Indian string which just snapped, as did the wire the phone was attached to so plinth and phone (and it’s contents) landed on top of her and the bamboo pole holding up the shop, although shaken and skewed remained almost upright.

The plinth was in fact made out of concrete and could have broke her in two so I ran down the steps to see if she was OK, I had barely reached her when the chai blokes came running after me and pushed me away essentially telling me to leave her alone, there only concern of course being the phone, plinth and bamboo pole. The phone was in bits and they are absolutely furious and they give her a couple of digs in the ribs trying to push her onto the road but she refuses to budge. I’m still thinking there’s a definite possibility she could actually be genuinely hurt but nobody else is having any of it. So I order my 3rd chai and wait and watch. Most other people have now surrounded the phone discussing (frenzied arm waving and shouting I have learnt is merely discussing) how best to fix it but I’m still watching the old woman picking up her samosas I then realise she is taking her time because half the phone’s contents has actually ended up underneath her and she is very discretely stuffing one rupee at a time into her samosas! Brilliant, she must have got about 20 rupees, she didn’t look at me again so I couldn’t give her a knowing look of acknowledgement but I did wonder if the whole thing was just some kind of brilliant scam! When she’d picked up all the cash she picked herself up and quietly wandered off round the corner while everybody was still discussing the phone.

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A rallying cry

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Did You Know? Some people make a living out of playing computer games. They are called progamers.