Boo boo in select company

Boo boo in select company
Something to say?

Sunday, 24 July 2011


I was beginning to feel I had a story there about the gay man who fancied his straight best friend. I called it The Other Side of Hope. In my story the two lived in a one-bed flat and shared the one bed. Happens in India and in Africa all the time.

When I taught Secondary School here in the UK, I was surprised to see how carefully the boys avoided shows of affection to each other. Nothing touchy - feely here. Then I went to Makeni in Sierra Leone.

On the first day of College I watched from my front window of the campus flat as the men and women walked in to lectures. Some had one arm carelessly thrown around a friend while the other hugged a pile of books. It gave me a warm, familiar feeling.

Yesterday I took my short story to my Writers' Group. Big learning experience for me, that! They made it abundantly clear that two men would not sleep on the same bed, ever,unless they were sexual partners. How long have I lived in this country! And I don't know that.

Made me think how little English people must know about my culture. They have not even lived in India.

Another reason to keep on writing my novels about Kerala.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The mother of all -well, parliaments

I think: do we want a Prime Minister who is still learning - or one who came with his education complete? One who has hindsight, not foresight, and no ability to listen to advice when he has decided he needs that new toy - or adviser.

And why is such a great part of the Press so eager for all of us to drop this pursuit of truth in public, make way for the committees of inquiry, and 'move on?' No, I am not ready to move on. I want to make sure that the people who rule this country divulge every little bit of their sorry part in this horrendous tale about hacking and blagging.

Cameron keeps telling us how good Coulson was at his job as the Prime Minister's Communications Director. In all this country, are we to understand there was no one he could have taken on instead, considering so many people advised him against Coulson? Police and P.M rushing to employ former NotW minions. What precisely did they bring to their jobs that no one else did?

I wish I had looked hard at little Andy when he was at Beauchamp's Comprehensive School in Wickford. It was a good school. And I taught there for many years. For one year he and I overlapped. Must ask somebody from my past what he may have been good at.

Late rites

'Dorset' my dentist said ',Say it.' I tried. What came out was 'dorshe'.' Where did that t escape? And s - is this how people who lisp feel? Trying to make sounds that die between tongue and palate? A late rite of passage I could have done without.

It is that pink object that sits in place of some of the teeth that went away. All those years with bridges, caps, crowns and those substitutes, when I pretended to have real teeth only. And my smile was without guile. Now I have a choice: smile less widely. Display a gravitas I have never had.

And then there is that glass on the bedside table. I am going to leave it out of sight. But I shall practise assiduously - with the same enthusiasm I brought to parking the car or doing a chain stitch.

Today's phrase to practise is, 'it is better.' Or something close.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Fireflies at Dusk

Fireflies at dusk, flicker in the compounds and paddy-fields of Kerala villages as the day ends, competing with the devotional lamps on the verandas till you cannot distinguish one from the other. The trees retreat quietly into the shadows to reappear in sharp focus the next morning.
Old age as it creeps up is like that coming of nightfall, lurking in far corners as it gathers, advancing relentlessly whether you heed it or not. Things get lost in those shadows: names, dates, memories.
Like fireflies, there are glimmerings of wisdom accumulated over years, making the darkness seemingly friendly as it gathers. The evening chants of children in front of domestic shrines are soothing accompaniment to the end of the day.
I can live with the dark because there are fireflies.