We anticipate it will rain in England. We moan when it comes but we anticipate that it will rain. Half the shops in the high street would close if the seasons didn’t change from dry to wet and wet to dry. We live in a country where the weather can be a topic of conversation because it is always unpredictable. And we hope for sunshine while we endure the rain.
But rain washes everything clean and makes the world a brighter place. Just imagine what our countryside would be like without the rain. Dry lakes, arid fields, treeless…..
A lazy-hazy dust conceals India. It mires the pavements and wayside plants. It rises in the rush of traffic and settles over a way of life unfamiliar from my own. Travelling in an air-conditioned coach through the hub of an alien city I am cocooned from the noise and the dirt and the passion. During this journey I discover I am the one clothed behind a grey veil.
When set free to wander in a city of ancient temples I am surprised when I become the subject of interest. Two very beautiful young girls indicate they want to take my picture. Myank, my local guide, informs me I will have to get used to being the subject of curiosity, very few locals have ever seen a European lady in the flesh. We laugh together as we share sight of our digital photographs. Namaste is the local form of greeting, usually given with hands together as if in prayer. It seems in India the sun is always shining.
But on the way back to the hotel I observe, for the first time in my life, absolute squalor. Crammed on the banks of what appears to be a huge rubbish dump are hundreds of rickety shacks, stacked like dominoes. Grazing in the filth are pigs and dogs, cows and people. Inside the luxury coach the air is sweet and cold. I inhabit a reserved world, I must never forget to be grateful.
The clocks went back an hour this morning so just for once I can’t complain there are not enough hours in a day. So…time to begin my first blog. I promise to be creative – in my own mind – although you might have heard it all before. If that is the case I can only apologise.
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