If I could be anything, I would be…

Anselme Noumbiwa.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/sixth-attempt-to-deport-african-prince-who-fled-tribal-torture-1949597.html

In the first place, I would not have run away from being crowned with all those delicious perks. If I had, I would have and continued to enjoy the attention that the British tender hearts lavish on me and hopefully get naturalized too.

Way to go Anselme!

Before I forget, I hope that you enjoyed reading another post of the Friday Loose Bloggers’ Consortium when eleven of us post on the same topic chosen by one of us. Today’s topic has been chosen by Judy.

Please do visit Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Magpie11, Maria, Gaelikaa, Helen, Judy, Anu and Ginger to see ten other views on the same topic. Some of these bloggers may be preoccupied with vacations, examinations, family problems and/or romance, so be a little indulgent in case they do not post or post late.

Coincidence? Chance? Serendipity?

Please closely observe these recent events in my life.

Ginger chooses “Art” as the topic for our Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium.

All of us duly post our take on the subject on the 9th of April.

I write about the paintings on the walls of our homes and mention that except for one print gifted to us by a dear friend, all were by my late wife Urmeela. I do not mention the name of the artist whose print is in an honoured position in our home. Right over my head above my bed in my bed room.  Since posting that, I had been thinking of getting someone in Delhi to look for the artist to get his current where and what abouts as, I had lost touch and I had destroyed all Urmeela’s papers and diaries after her death.

On the 13th of April, I get an alert from Facebook that there is a message for me from one Pratibha.  I go into FB to find that it is from Pratibha, friend, artist and the wife of the artist Devraj Dakoji who gifted us with the print.  In that message, she informs me that they are now in New York and have been there the last ten years.  They had been remembering us the past few days and tried our telephone number with them but could not get through as the old six digit numbers have all been changed to eight digit ones.  Pratibha decided to chance looking me up by googling for me, found that I was on Facebook and sent me the message asking how both of us and Ranjan were.  She also gave their telephone number.

I read the post on the 14th of April early in the morning. I immediately rang up Devraj who was luckily awake watching a movie on DVD player.  Pratibha was sleeping.  We shared all the news that had happened between the last meeting that we had ten years ago when Pratibha had visited us in Pune and the present including the passing away of Urmeela. Both of us are now delighted to have reestablished contact through the good offices of google and Facebook!

This is Devraj in action.

I made a particular mention to Devraj about my blog post and gave a link to him by a subsequent email so that he could read how much I treasure his gift to us.  He remembered the print too as he had visited me in my office once when I was still in service and had seen it in a prominent place, well lit on the wall behind and just over my chair.

This is that print.  I have taken the photograph by placing the print on my bed and so it is not a very good photograph, but it will give you an idea of it.

Such coincidences keep happening in my life at frequent intervals. So many things had to come together, Ginger choosing the topic, my blogging about Devraj’s print, and my being available in a google search, being a member of the Facebook community and for some kind of instinct at my level as well the Dakojis’s level for all these events to take place in such a sequence.

Amazing is it not?

One Million Indians!

Some of my readers keep urging me to write more about India and Indians. I am trying my best to and here is help from an unexpected source for which I am very grateful.

My friend Sandeep, yes the same one currently in hibernation at Qatar, is in awe of numbers and particularly mass meetings of Indians.

He has this to say about the latest Kumbh Mela held at Haridwar.

The Kumbh Mela in India is the largest gathering of people in one place, anywhere in the world. It occurs every three years, and its current edition, in the Himalayan mountain town of Haridwar (25 kilometres downstream from Rishikesh) has drawn ten million pilgrims. Ten million!
 
“The Kumbh Mela derives from Hindu mythology, which holds that gods and demons struggled over a pitcher, or kumbh, containing the drink of immortality. As the gods raced toward heaven, drops of the sacred nectar spilled out onto four locations on the river: Allahabad, Ujjain, Nashik and Haridwar. Today, the Kumbh Mela is held every three years, rotating among the four cities, meaning that each hosts every 12 years.”

He then goes on to give a link to an article in the New York Times which is what prompted that creative piece of writing. The article is worth a read.

Gaelikaa who many of you know as another keen blogger with two blogs, has been hearing about Haridwar and is quite keen to go for a visit. I only hope that she goes when it is not Kumbhmela time.

Weddings.

A very dear friend from Scotland is determined that I should get married again and has sent me a link to a video that shows how modern weddings are conducted in her part of the world.

In India, Hindus get married in an elaborate ceremony, conducted by priests chanting Sanskrit shlokas around a holy fire. You can see a picture here:

I have agreed that if I ever get married again, I shall arrange for similar drum beat to be played in our ceremony and get our Pandits and witnesses to chant the shlokas and dance to the beat. What an idea! Perhaps just what the dull boring ceremonies need!!

Just for a contrast, you can see a Hindu wedding here.  Whereas as the still photograph shows a South Indian wedding, this video is more representative of weddings in the Northern parts of India.

A Dental Story With A Moral

As some of my readers and Darlene know, I have been having an ongoing battle with my dentist and an uncooperative partial denture. It now appears that my brother Barath has been having his share of adventures as well.

Since his narrative is totally readable and does not need my editorial skills, I have decided to treat his mail to me as a guest post and leave it to my readers to come to their own conclusions about the Rajgopaul family. You have already read a couple of guest posts from our sister Padmini, and this should help you get a handle on this slightly cracked family. Over to Barath.

“I have had a couple of days of unexpected hassles and managed to cope with equanimity and as you are an avid blogger, I thought that telling you of the problems would make you think of various angles of the story and be able to write about them all.

I have had trouble with my teeth from time to time and about a year and half ago, I had a painful molar which needed attention and was recommended by a friend to see a dentist in St.Johns Wood. He certainly sorted the problem out but carried out a root canal operation and ended up charging me a serious sum of money for the work carried out (£1800.00!!!).

Since then, I decided that I would go to Edinburgh to my old dentist as the cost was much more reasonable and the dental work was equally efficient if not even better than the worthy in St.Johns Wood. The rail cost of going there from London, provided you book the ticket in advance is only about £70 and the dental BILL is usually 1/3 of the London costs so there are serious savings available).

Anyway, this week, I had meetings in Manchester and so on Tuesday morning I left on the 6.17 AM train from London Euston to Manchester, attended the meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, and went to Manchester Piccadilly station to catch the 16.16 train to Edinburgh, but changing train at York. The e-mail instructions had informed me to collect the ticket at Manchester station by using a pre-paid ticket reference number from a fast ticket machine there, which I duly did.

Lo and behold, there was no train on the departure board leaving at 16.16, there was, however, a train going to York at 16.12 which was  a trans Pennine train and I went to the information desk to check as to whether the cheap pre-paid ticket (£17.80) would be valid on a different train time as usually they do not allow use of pre-paid tickets on any other train other than the one mentioned in the ticket.

The lady at the desk checked my train ticket references on the computer and duly informed me that I will need to go to Platform 13 and catch the 16.12 to York, which I duly did. During the journey, the ticket collector came and inspected my ticket and announced that the ticket was not valid as this was the 16.12 train and I said that I had checked the validity at the desk, but he would hear none of it, and charged me £70.00 for a new ticket, which I paid up with good grace as I knew that the tickets were not valid on any other train, ad it was my own fault that I had got on the wrong train, and completed the journey. I in fact, arrived in Edinburgh half an hour later than I had intended as the earlier departing train From Manchester to York in fact arrived in York after the 16.16 arrived there and the connecting train had departed!! Again, it was my own fault so I took my medicine like a good man and enjoyed a good dinner in Edinburgh in Richard Muir’s (Mary’s husband) restaurant Café Fish in Edinburgh.

I had booked myself on the 1950 flight from Edinburgh back to London on Thursday as my dental appointment to get a new tooth installed was at 1700. The Air ticket was again a cheap pre-booked ticket (£35.00) so I was very content with the whole arrangement. I was staying with a friend of mine called Bob Cleghorn ( he used to be my dentist but is now retired) . On the morning of Thursday (yesterday) he came down to the kitchen and told me that there had been a volcanic eruption in Iceland which is continuing to put an ash cloud in the atmosphere and that all flights in the UK have been canceled until 1800 so I had better rethink my travel arrangement.

I logged on to his computer and booked myself on a trans Pennine express from Edinburgh Haymarket to London (departing at 1812), and would need to change in Carlisle to get to London Euston at about 11 PM.  The only thing that went to plan was that I got my tooth installed at 5PM and came out of the dentist’s chair with numbed mouth.

Well, the fun began, as the trans Pennine express coming to Edinburgh to then depart back to Manchester airport arrived 45 minutes late, and there was a lot of hassle in changing platforms and waiting for the train etc, but eventually, the 19 10 the train left and of course we arrived in Carlisle an hour later than we should have and despite the conductor on the train reassuring me that there would be trains  going to London frequently from Carlisle, the attendants in Carlisle grimly informed us that the next train to London Euston would be the next morning and that the conductor on Trans Pennine should have taken us as far as Preston to catch the train to London. However, there were several of us on the platform including a couple of Chinese and the station master took pity on us, contacted Virgin Trains which was due to go past Carlisle at 21.09 without stopping, got the train to stop and pick us up and we arrived at Euston at 1.05 AM, so here I am able to send you an e-mail from the comfort of my home.

Now, the moral of the story is as follows:

Get your teeth done where you live, you may pay a bit more, but you will get home.

Do not use Trans Pennine Trains as they do not know their arses from their elbows.

When you try to get smart and use cheap tickets, the Good Lord sends a volcanic eruption to teach you a lesson.

Trying to get your teeth done on the cheap actually costs you £220 extra and serves you right.

Just when you think that nothing can get worse, some act of kindness comes along and rejuvenates your faith in Humans, I thank the station Master at Carlisle for being such a good man.”

Now for the icing on the cake.  Since writing the post, I came across this picture in a mail to me.  Apparently, these were found on a Dublin bus!  Gets one thinking does it not that someone loses his teeth in a Dublin bus! Can you guess who sent the mail to me?