I’m aware that I must think too much, if only because I spend so much time thinking about whether I think too much.
Love can creep up on you in many a different and subtle way; often when you least expect it.
I have a new love in my life, a love that stretched to 16 million, and one that many others have loved before me, and continue to adore. However this new object of my affection is starting to call out to me, to send me the signs, the signals that they are interested too, that I should join them.
But is it just the thrill of the chase, will the feelings remain this strong after that first initial flush of excitement and seemingly new opportunity?
They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, but, as I have found out through experience elsewhere, it also allows room to to think, to question the validity of uprooting on a romantic whim. Questions probe away at the corner of the mind, would it be the same as our previous, short visits together? How long would the infatuation last? And what would happen if it all went wrong?
People always suggest that the grass isn’t always greener, and that is definitely true in this case; there is very little grass, green or otherwise in Bombay, and yet my heart is tugging at the strings, dragging my mind ever closer to wanting to find out.
Perhaps a true sign of love is that even when you find out the warts and all, dark, unattractive side, you accept that if that is what people see it is up to them, all you can see is the beauty and the good.
Surely with these ‘hard hitting’ images arriving on cigarette packages so soon it will go two ways:
1) some people will be genuinely excited about collecting the set of the 14 images, and will no doubt delight in showing the picture to the people they are with every time they get a cigarette out
2) and probably more likely will be people who just think enough is enough, I want to enjoy my cigarette not be more stressed out by the experience (as mentioned in Mutterings that Matter above). So it is surely about time that people start thinking about using cigarette cases again; surely an elegant solution to the uncomfortable sight of someone else’s foul and cancerous mouth.
For those that are so inclined you could even launch a range that carried the 14 images so that people could carry their favourite government approved image with them.
Actually I forgot the 3rd category of people that won’t cares either way.
Anyway, just a thought.
I stayed in Goa for 4 nights and 5 days. Before I went many people asked me, once over the surprise I was going on my own, why I was going, often followed by a a knowing wink.
I told them at the time, I don’t know, but in reality my hope had been to find somewhere to relax and not do very much. When I first had the idea of taking a short holiday after a week spent at work in Bombay, my thoughts were generally that I needed a break and more importantly I had to go somewhere seeing as the original plan was to be in Australia and I didn’t want to end up just going home instead. The main thing is that it has worked, having a break; I feel recharged and relaxed, I still wish I had been to Australia, but that feeling will pass.
I had a great time in Goa, and to be honest I wasn’t in the nicest part of the state, not even the best part of the not so nice part. And I didn’t to my own detriment stray far from my Calangute hotel and the Baga restaurants half an hours walk or so away. I missed the really nice beaches on Paloleum by being so far north, and too lazy to go anywhere(!), indeed the beaches here are covered in oily sand and oil stained floatsam, but the pool was clean and refreshing and it was here that I chose to swim and sit in the sun, the beach was just a means for a pleasant stroll to or from lunch.
It was great, getting up late and taking a lazy breakfast, working up an appetite by reading on my little balcony for a bit before walking up the road, or beach, for lunch in Baga. Strolling back again late in the afternoon, swimming a few lengths in the pool before heading for dinner and a beer.
So far so idyllic, peaceful and relaxed, and that is the point. This is meant to be one of the more chilled out, relaxed states, but yet everyone seems to think I want to rent a bike or take a taxi, and after 5 days I was rather weary of having to reject the offers of each after every 100 yards walk, not to mention the continual offers of Hash, LSD et al, or the invites in to the shops ‘just to practice my english sir, not sell anything’, or on the beach the constant trinket sellers (thankfully it turns out my natural walking speed is somewhat quicker than even the most persistent of these people). All in all it was enough to wear one out and make me yearn for the relative peace of Bombay. Much as everything runs at a frenetic pace in Bombay, it runs in its own world not bothering the stranger walking down the road, at least not to me so far.
It got me wondering, if this is meant to be off season in Goa, am I being bombarded more because I am one of significantly fewer obvious targets of a tourist buck, or are there more people swarming over the tourists in the high season? If so, I don’t want to go back to North Goa in season, the half rain, half sun, always warm weather and non-busy restaurants where I can take time out are fine for me.
My trip to Mumbai this month coincided with Ganapati (Ganesha) Festival, and it was great to be in the city when something genuine was happening.
I was honoured to be asked on the Sunday of my arrival to visit the flat of a very good friend to take part in that evening’s prayers; after which we retired for a more typical evening with some other friends, some Kingfisher and some Carlsberg.
My induction in to Ganapati did not stop there however, with one of the many highlights of the week being a visit to see Lalbaugh cha Raja (the King of Lalbaugh, often to referred to as the King of Bombay). Now the Lalbaugh Ganapati is famous as being the biggest in Mumbai (not Maharstra though as there is a larger one in Pune); Lalbaugh is also the home to the second biggest Ganesha idol in Mumbai as well.
Now it is incredibly difficult to see the Lalbaugh cha Raja, if only for the time it takes, people will think nothing of queuing 12-14 hours (up to 24 hours in the prayer queue). However, this being Mumbai, there is always a way round things if you know the right people, and so all week a colleague, known to well connected, was trying to see if he could get me in. However each evening that during the day he had promised something might happen, he was strangely nowhere to be found…
Then, on the Thursday, the call finally came at 9pm, that there was maybe a 5% chance that would be able to get in. We were off.
What an evening it turned out to be. The ‘pass’ was actually arranged by another colleague, much to my friend’s chagrin none of his direct contacts had come through. And even as we arrived in Lalbaugh it wasn’t certain that we would be able to get in; as you can imagine every volunteer helping out has at least 100 people asking if they can get them in, so all were trying to get at least 10 people in to the queue.
When we first arrived we were told that the pressure was too much at that time, and to see some of the smaller idols instead; mind, when I say small they must easily still have been 10 – 12 feet tall. The first we saw had some animated wooden figures portraying a story about a charlatan cut down to size by Ganesha and was it was all pretty easy to get in to see.
Next we were off to see the second biggest Ganesha (the Prince as my colleague put it). This necessitated a quick short cut past a reasonable queue, but was by no means a taster of what was to come. The ‘Prince’ (sic) is pretty awe-inspiring in himself. Technically he is not allowed to be taller than the King, but can be more ornate, and was probably my favourite, even ahead of the King.
Then, photo snapped, aura breathed in, it was on to try for the main show. The fervour of the crowd and sheer number of people thronging around the entrance and all roads leading to the King is unbelievable, well until you remember this is a city of 16 Million people. The ebb and flow though is like a rough sea off a beach set with a red flag, seemingly always ready to sweep up the unsuspecting in the relatively unseen undercurrent. Thankfully my minders kept me close at hand and guided me through the meleé.
We were waiting outside the queue for an hour with a rising sense of excitement, fuelled by the expectation of the thronging queues and animated, massed crowds. Standing there waiting, I had time to take in all around me and was amazed by the advertising. It was, I realised everywhere, outside the main centre I could understand, but even here, flanking the patient, queuing masses, were the words, “Lalbaugh has opened its door to beauty. Step in”. Somehow it felt wrong, felt like actually everyone was queuing to get a facial.
In the meantime the battle between the swarm of people trying to cut in to the queue, and the marshals meant to be keeping them at bay seemed to be on the verge of descending in to a full on riot, police were loitering with intent and batons drawn, it was just at this point that We spotted our man on the inside and had to make for the queue; brilliant! Now I have fought crowds in Hong Kong as a child, elbows out, eyes open, always aware of where my family were as well as the path to my destination, but this was an entirely different game altogether; I was genuinely worried for my health for a few minutes, not least when one of the marshals started trying to manhandle me out of the queue just as I was about to succeed in getting in. He was seemingly questioning why I, a foreigner should be allowed to cut in, a thought I couldn’t really fault him for as I was asking the same thing myself ‘why should I get in ahead of all these people genuinely clamouring to see the King? He’s not even my god, I don’t have a god…’
Through sheer persistence it all got settled and I was in… Conspicuous, and being eyed suspiciously by those around me, but in. The highlight of the formal queuing was the arrival of a Bollywood star who sauntered past most of the line, until a suitable murmur of recognition had built up, and then with timing from years of knowing when to maximise attention he stopped to receive the flocks of excitable fans (all ages and both genders) wanting autographs and photos before continuing on his way.
After winding our way round the temple complex, some permanent, some erected for the Ganapati Fest, we arrived at the final turn. And after queuing for 12 hours, waiting in line while ungrateful foreigners jump the queue at the last moment, you turn that corner and….it is all over in the blink of an eye, well almost, it must last all of a minute as there are marshals furiously shoving everyone along so as not to hold up the 12 hours of queue still behind.
Still, it is a magnificent sight, not just the Ganesha, but the whole hubbub, chaos, the energy, the colour, the noise, the pressure of so many people straining to see their god, to make their wish. And that is the crux of it, they say that you should make a wish when you are in front of the idol and it will come true; and what was my wish, well if I told you that it wouldn’t come true would it…!?
Okay, so I haven’t been on here for long enough to justify a friend’s hypothesis about new bloggers, but following a conversation with the same friend yesterday I was guided to Live Writer and thought I should try it out.
Who knows, it may actually see me post some more on here…
A friend recently shared this post with me and rather than post a comment I am rather selfishly taking my thoughts on the topic and posting them here to start populating my own blog (there must be a post in there somewhere)…
Plus it was something that I wanted to discuss on here a bit and associate with.
You see I am minded to disagree with my esteemed friend slightly; although it depends on how you determine history and the future I suppose.
I would propose that History is judged in the context of now, the present. Actions taken now will become the History that is judged in the context of the future.
Obviously not every action we take now is going to be remembered, or judged, in the future; my making of a cup of tea this afternoon is not going to be judged by anyone, particularly as I was only making one cup, for myself, it wasn’t even judged in the present! So it is fair, and fairly obvious, to say that it is the process of that future judgement that determines what is then considered as ‘History’ in the present.
The finding of a new planet that is earth like and may well be able to support life is exciting on a number of fronts, and we have to wonder that as we look out to it with a sense of hope and intrigue is this the kind of event that might help us also take stock of our own situation? We all know the feeling when you are expecting guests and are horrified by how filthy and messy your home suddenly appears. And to some degree we have seen the beginnings of that with the new planet, there have already been too many jokes that ‘it’s all okay, we can carry on as we are because once this planet is used up we can just move!’ and that is symptomatic of what is essentially still a blasé attitude to the limited resources we have available.
Of course, it also ignores the fact that there may well be life out there already, we are already setting ourselves, as a planet, to make the same mistakes that the Europeans have made time and again when they found new countries as they sought initally to explore the earth.
There may well be life sitting on that other planet looking at ours and thinking the same thing, or they may well have been watching us for some time in absoluet abhorrance at teh way in which we are abusing our planet and in reality continue to abuse each other. We are not ready to head off in to space to find new planets and species when we haven’t even worked out globalisation, let alone universalisation…