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I am in Patna working on a film for the children’s charity I support, a dust bowl of a town someplace in Bihar. Not a place I would normally venture, but heh. I am put up in a reasonably nice hotel and promptly get about my work, there is nothing else to do in Patna believe me, so focus seems a relatively easy thing at this point.

 

All is going well till I discover that my reasonably nice hotel has a cockroach problem. Not the big uns, but little ugly blighters. The damn things are everywhere. I chase them out of the room, I squash em, I drown them, kill, kill, kill, but they keep appearing. I get the manager of the hotel and point at them. The manager comes back with some ominous green spray. kill, kill, kill.

 

For a day or so they vanish, the green spray has done the trick. But then they are back, I chase them out of the room, I squash em, I drown them, kill, kill, kill. But they cease to end, more green death spray is applied, but my nightmare never seems to cease. Where are they hiding.

 

I am writing this blog entry from a Mac Donalds (Yes, yes, I know – chav) at Delhi Airport on my way back to Mumbai. A man sits opposite and we start to have the usual conversation, where are you from, where are you going, where is your wife – he is tucking into a juicy chicken burger and lays it down on the table. It is then with a certain degree of horror that I watch as two cockroaches run from my laptop towards his burger. I am mortified. He hasn’t noticed. Nobody’s noticed. I’ve noticed. I do the honourable thing and quickly leg it.

Around the corner I peer into my laptop and there they are, whole families, whole communities, a whole silicon metropolis of roaches existing in harmony, dinner parties with fancy dresses, white picket fences, shops and boulevards. I am a delivery boy of middle class cockroaches to the world. I tried to destroy them, so they used me to spread. My cards have been dealt, karma has spoken.

 

Stuff a Buddhist approach I think; balls to reincarnation; karma, my left foot. I have take a Republican party stance on diplomacy – Peace is attained through superior firepower.  I promptly phone a friend in Mumbai – “Get me cockroach spay” I cry. “Why do you want cockroach spray” he responds. “They are in my laptop.” “What is in your laptop,” “Never mind, just get me cockroach spray, the greenier and deadlier the better. Nepalm, I demand weapons of mass destruction.”

 

This may be the last blog entry from me for a while as my laptop dissolves into a blob of plastic, silicon, insect and those F keys that nobody really knows what they do. My Karma evenly distributed.

 

My apologies go out to the Delhi airport Mac Donalds and my sympathies at their forthcoming closure, the jobs lost and the households destroyed, the suicide of the proprietor and the need for his child to go out and beg. It is a shame really that he was destined to bring about world peace till the sudden death of his father. That’s karma for you.

 

Maybe we need to live with our insect friends, maybe I should feed them instead of killing them, maybe I need to buy them multi armed Laura Ashley dresses and pointy shoes. I finish this article on flight 801 bound for Mumbai, I watch as another roach legs it from the fold.

 

Sorry Air India…….. And the…….etc, etc, etc.

That’s Karma for you.

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The sun is getting low in the sky over Calcutta, long shadows slice through the afternoons haze and rest across her wide boulevards and Maidens. Cities are like love affairs. Each has its own character and its own reason for you being there. At first they are exciting, everything is new, they are there to be explored. You experience wonder and trepidation as you wander through roads and lanes, shops and markets, people and sights – these are the things that cannot be experienced in any other city, her geography, her infrastructure, her mystery – this is the mistress to explore.

 

Over time you get to understand her. You develop a routine, the same coffee shop in the same street, the same barber, the same bar with the same barman. You seek solace in what you know – she then has you, your mistress she looks down on you from her rooftops and religious spires she reaches out to you and asks you the question, do you want to be my wife.

 

Calcutta is  a place I fell for many years ago, because of its name – a gateway to the East a place of wonder. She had a certain romanticism surrounding her. She was a woman that one sees from afar, on another platform or at a passing bus stop, always causing wonder, wondering just what she would be like. She is intellectual  and smart, tidy and has a certain class and is terribly British, she is easy to know. She is comfortable and welcoming – however she is just a little boring. I could spend a certain amount of time with her, but eventually I would leave her.

 

Bombay is not the kind of city you take home to meet your mother. She is a fling with great passion, she wears short skirts and high heels and often goes up escalators wearing no knickers – After a night with Bombay you question to yourself “How much do I leave on the bedside table,” Bombay’s streets, its slums, its poverty and riches, she will eat you up, suck you dry and spit you out. She’s an urban whore. To paraphrase Catch 22 “Bombay is the kind of girl you fall in love with, because she is the kind of girl you can sleep with without falling in love with.”

 

Delhi can not be trusted, she has two sides and she knows it. She comes across all smiley and nice, but is truly a bitch. She hangs around at photocopying machines and chooses her mate or really her prey. She is slightly schizophrenic and suffers from an addictive personality. She is a city that needs help she needs to be booked into therapy and a clinic for damaged cities’ souls.

 

I am on the train, a 31 hour trip, leaving the kind warmth of Calcutta’s bosom and heading back to face that mistress of mine Bombay. The kind of city that good boys should stay away from, the kind of city that terrorists try to kill. But she is too streetwise, those little boys with their guns. She took them in made them men, then spat them out without their trousers or their souls. Bombay that mistress of mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 tier ac (2 bunks, air condiioning) is a wonderful way to travel. Its decor is the plastic material that is generally reserved for the various forms of hospital stretchers and other surgical wheeled devices. I am constantly brought tea and food and then at night my seat folds out to form a bed, of medical standard. I draw the curtains to the rest of the carriage and I am in a cocoon of my own. Me and the blackness of the Indian night rushing past.

In the night we pass a station full of sleeping people, I note that the style of dress has drastically changed from Mumbai and that full on handle bar mustaches seem to be the fashion in this rural area.

To the sound of a cacophony of snoring and flatulence I gently drift off to sleep. With the thought that it would be quite easy to have sex in this cocoon of mine. At 2 I finally sleep, I believe my last thought was of my bobbing white arse rushing across the Indian landscape, a rythmic bastion of light in a dark world.

At 7 I am awoken to a  gentle alarm over the tannoy reminding me that it is 7 and that I should be awake when India wakes up. I look out of the window and marvel at the silky, silvine (Is that a word?) mist  that hangs like a mystical blanket over fields upon fields of shitting men. There are thousands of them, they are everywhere. Squatting like mere cats, they all have found their individual spots and orientate themselves so that they are not facing another shitting man. No hiding in a bush for these men, the open field is the place to go.

Good morning India.

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