Friday, 11 June 2010

The Tin Soldiers

Anthropology or ethnology are not my specialist areas, but would like to share an observation. Please correct me if I am wrong.

It was one of those rarely sun-lit mornings in Manchester, a United Kingdom city, I took one of my regular buses - available in plenty – to the Oxford Road train station which would further take me to my workplace. It is usually a nice journey with lots of college students in their prime jogging and bouncing around. For office goers like me perhaps it is a regular one. To break or maybe spice this transit, for momentary population like us, there are a few morning newspapers, mostly available for free. They would run on either subsidies or sponsorships, or both. It was another regular day and I bought a rather more expensive newspaper for a change - don’t remember whether it was ‘The Guardian’ or ‘The Times’.

It was year 2006 then, and the Iraq war issue was at its peak, and requests and noises, one may also say ‘hopes’, to bring their troops back home pretty high in the whole Island nation that time. Reading gives you more clarity, and this article hidden somewhere amongst many did so, for it gave some numbers in form of statistics. That about 1K of the soldiers deputed are in Iraq. About 10K sporadically distributed for the UN all over the world, and 60K still in Germany after the world war two.

The sun's shine had brightened; unusual for that day.

A german friend, later, in my office tells me, “Yes, I have heardh so tuh, zey are stationed close to my villaze” “and now with, some time haz passe by, zey are up line to be cithizen. One of zem officer told me he juszent feelz brizish anymore afzer living for zo long in the zerman zoil."

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Parallels Must Be Related

The above title is the title of a chapter in Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday (first published 1954), a continuation to the Cannery Row (1945); also pointed to as life then in the towns of ‘Monterey’ and ‘Cannery Row’ in California.

In Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India, I make a parallel observation, hoping for another parallel, from this chapter 13 of this novel. I hope, the characters - ‘Doc’ and ‘Wide Ida’ are the same kinds we think of in our own perceptions. In verbatim, I re-write here:

As the dawn crept over the bay he decided to go for a very long walk, perhaps to follow the shoreline all the way around to Carmel. He arose, and since it was still dusky in the laboratory he turned on the lights to make his coffee.

Wide Ida, from the entrance of La Ida, saw his lights come on. She put an unlabeled pint bottle of brown liquor in a paper bag and crossed the street to Western Biological.

“Doc,” she said, “would you work this stuff over?”

“What is it?”

“They say it’s whisky. I just want to know if it’ll kill anybody. I got a pretty good buy. They make it up in Pine Canyon.”

“That’s against the law,” said Doc.

“Killing people is against the law too,” said Wide Ida.

Doc was torn between bootlegging and murder. He thought sadly that he was always involved in something like this-not good or bad but bad and less bad. He made a fairly quick analysis. “It’s not poison,” he said, “but it won’t build good healthy stomachs. There’s some fusel oil in it. But I guess it’s no worse than Old Tennis Shoes.”

Tuesday, 1 June 2010


Ordering a chai with an archietecture faculty in a CEPT canteen window- the guru- tea-ches:

  • Casual-tea: The regular tea available for students, or anyone
  • Facul-tea: Special tea kept out-of-sight in a special tumbler for teachers
  • Novel-tea: Goes to special cabins

Humorosity and Ahmedabad city apart, I am left with no words, except to ask if hones-tea or casual-tea have availability.