One goes, not so much to see but to tell afterward

—John Steinbeck
16
Feb 2008

I am 50 rupees short of the cab fare to get me to the airport (naturally they do not take credit card) and so I am forced to cash another $50. That’s okay I think, as I have a few things I would like to buy at the airport and the concierge at my hotel assures me there are lots of shops. When I get to the airport I find that there are precisely three shops; all selling fast food. And at my attempt to change money back I find you have to have a minimum of $50. My day has...

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15
Feb 2008

We are ejected from the train at the ungodly time of 6.30am. Even cities like Mumbai are only waking up at that hour. It’s grim murky morning out there and everything is in shades of grey.  Grey beggars, pallid phantom faces appearing in crumpled blankets, black Ambassadors creeping around, white steam rising from chai stalls. I take a step back to see what I’ve just emerged from and to get some orientation. In this light, Victoria Terminus is towering and almost gothic...

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13
Feb 2008

After spending from 6.30am to 2pm on a train from Mangalore to Goa, I have lost yet another day to travel. I should have realised the proposed five-hour time was on the optimistic side. Having run out of time, Hampi is not going to happen this trip I’m afraid, but I guess you should always leave a bit for later and give yourself a reason to come back.

As it happens, my ticket to ‘Goa’ didn’t indicate at which station I would disembark. I assumed near Panjim or Old Goa,...

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10
Feb 2008

As you can imagine, in a small town like Madikeri, there isn’t a huge amount to do once it gets dark. As a result, the young lads at Cyber Zoom, an internet and gaming parlour, have got to know me over the last several evenings, and I have become familiar with their favourite music (that is, when the gamers aren’t dominating with the flatulent artillery sounds that I’m used to hearing emanate from my godson’s room when I visit his Mum).

I have become quite hooked on a...

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09
Feb 2008

This morning’s SSLC Mentor touches on Biology and is all about hepatitis symptoms, effects, methods of transmission and prevention. There are also a few interesting multiple-choice questions on the subject of food adulteration, which is still common in India. Apparently coloured saw dust is used to increase the offering of chilli powder, and black papaya seeds for pepper.

This recalls to mind an anecdote from a collection of essays by the wit and general brain box,...

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08
Feb 2008

Dervla Murphy would no doubt be delighted to know that Virajpet is still nowhere to be found in Lonely Planet’s guide to India, although it does say that catching the local buses allows you cheap viewing of scenery that is as 'pretty as a picture'.

Waiting for our bus to leave, an elderly man with a magnificent white handlebar moustache and wearing a navy baseball cap gets up from his seat to peer into my face. He asks me if I'm English, German or American.

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06
Feb 2008

Reading the Deccan Herald this morning over my breakfast dosai, I noticed a regular feature called SSLC Mentor – to sharpen students’ skills. Today was factors and factorisation (one of my old favourites) with the spotlight on surds. It’s a pity we don’t have some of this in our own papers at home, as it’s not just student minds that need exercising.

Another two articles titled Braving an American Typhoon and India Can Ride Out the US Turbulence analysed how the...

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© 2012 Alicia Thompson
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