New ways for India to succeed at the Olympics

An Indian commentator in the press recently bemoaned the lack of success of the nation’s athletes in Rio. He suggested that howking and spitting were two things at which India excelled. True, the pavements and walls of Delhi are spattered with red spittle. This isn’t blood; it’s paan masala. This is a mixture of betel… Continue reading New ways for India to succeed at the Olympics

Shalimar Bagh Club

One of the legacies we Brits passed on to India was the “Club”. One of my neighbours in Leicester recommended the Gymkhana Club in New Delhi, but that is too far away for me to use regularly. Our locality has its own club, in less salubrious surroundings than the GC, but quite impressive nonetheless. You… Continue reading Shalimar Bagh Club

Happy Janmashtami

Today is the birthday of the Hindu deity Krishna. Every year, it falls on the eighth day of the “dark fortnight” in Shravaana. He is often depicted as a blue-skinned young man playing a flute, standing on one leg (just like Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull), with a group of adoring milkmaids nearby. The celebrations… Continue reading Happy Janmashtami


Cable television in our apartment in Delhi may have a hundred channels, but none of them allowed us to view the Rio Olympics. I was gutted. The BBC news showed still photographs of the events, but no action. Trying to watch the coverage on line didn’t work either, with “This video is not available in… Continue reading Olympics

Raksha Bandhan

Did you fight like cat and dog with your siblings? If so, perhaps this Hindu festival might encourage you to bury the hatchet. Strictly speaking, it celebrates the bond of protection between brothers and sisters, but it can also apply to relationships outside the family. A sister ties a sacred thread, or “rakshi”, onto her… Continue reading Raksha Bandhan

Independence Day

Sixty nine years ago today, India became independent. I remember being captivated while reading “Freedom at Midnight”, Collins and Lapierre’s book of the events leading up to the 15th of August 1947. I was hoping to go to the Red Fort in Delhi to witness the celebrations, but the whole area has been cordoned off… Continue reading Independence Day

Delhi Belly

“You’ll probably get the squits while you’re here,” said my boss. “Most expats get something like Giardia every three months, lots of gas and gripes. We don’t know what it is, some kinda protozoa, Blastocystis or something similar. Gets better with a couple of grams of tinidazole. You’ll be right, mate.” Yes, he is Australian.… Continue reading Delhi Belly