Category Archives: Everyday life,Random Thoughts,New Zealand,India,Family,Travel,Blogging

Track Record

Yesterday I happened to catch a bit of a travel show where the host was travelling by the Trans-Siberian Express and thought how I  would love to do one of the great train journeys-The Ghan,or the Trans-Siberian, the Venice-Simplon Orient Express or even the Palace-on-Wheels where surely,if I may be allowed to mis-quote Mr. R.L. Stevenson a bit,it would be better to travel than to arrive! Till quite recently, every train journey I undertook ( and believe me friends, I have undertaken very many indeed!) , was primarily to get me from Point A to Point B. But my trip on what was called The Overlander a couple of years back, was purely for the experience which I savoured and enjoyed! Big picture windows, ample leg-room, stunning scenery,and an informative commentary made the 12 hour trip from Auckland to Wellington one where the destination didn’t really matter ; the journey was sufficient. The Trans-Siberian railway apparently passes through 7 time zones over an 8 day journey covering over 5700 miles! What a journey that must be!

I wonder if I have covered that distance with all my travelling by the Indian Railways…I wouldn’t be surprised if I had! As my family hailed from Tirunelveli-Palayamkottai at nearly the Southern tip of India but lived in the Western peninsular part,our trips to visit my grandparents during the summer vacations were quite an odyssey! First we would travel by metre-gauge train from Rajkot to Viramgam junction where we would then scramble with the help of porters to the waiting broad-gauge train to Bombay. Included in our luggage would be a groaning food basket ,an earthenware jar encased in hemp for our drinking  water, suitcases or trunks bearing clothes and gifts and a contraption called a “hold-all” which was like a gigantic sleeping bag into which were stuffed sheets,pillows and such bedding deemed essential for train berths . The porters would have jumped onto the running train as it pulled into the station,swarming all over the carriages picking up bags while their potential customers haggled and remonstrated with them. Once a price was sort-of agreed on ,we would transfer to the larger  train after searching for our names on the reservation charts with rising panic till it was finally found mis-spelt and almost unrecognisable! Then off to Mumbai ( the night would be on the train)where we would usually spend the wait till our next train in a retiring room or waiting room or at a friend’s place if the gap was long enough. Then onto another Express train where we usually spent two nights ,finally chugging into Madras to transfer onto yet another train to Tirunelveli which we would reach only after one more night on the train. So 4 nights and 4 trains later, we would finally reach our destination ,our food basket now much depleted,our water having been refilled umpteen times on the way and all the bedding sadly in need of a wash!

And not just that, when I was a small child, most of these journeys were by steam train which meant that sticking out one’s head through the window bars meant pieces of coal in one’s eyes and in any case,if you sat facing the engine,you would have bits of coal and grit on the seats,embedded in our skin and in our food! Still, I enjoyed these journeys and always looked forward to them!

Till I went to boarding school that is and following that,to medical college. Nine and a half years of using the services of the Indian Railways four times a year,each journey lasting three or four nights with two or three train changes, soon made me less than enthusiastic about these train journeys . For four of these years ,I made the long journey Southwards;from Gujarat to  my school in the Nilgiris hills and for the next five and a half years, I travelled northwards to Punjab. Both journeys were very different in terrain,travelling companions and safety! But it gave me appreciation of the sheer scale and scope of the Indian Railways.

What an absolutely extraordinary enterprise! It transports over  25 million passengers DAILY and over 9 billion passengers annually. Over and above this ,it transports millions of tons of freight every single day generating mind-boggling revenues. It is one of the worlds’ largest railway networks and the worlds’ ninth largest employer. It’s tracks line a distance of over 115,000 kms. servicing about 7,500 stations. The figures defy comprehension! It has it’s own factories and workshops to produce the carriages and locomotives and it’s own schools,colleges,hospitals and housing .

But these are just dry statistics. To travel by train in India is to be sucked into a vortex of wonderful and bizarre experiences ( not necessarily both together) ,to be swirled around the kaleidoscope of different  sights,sounds,smells ,people and tastes and then regurgitated out with millions of others onto dry,sane,humdrum land!

Over various journeys,I have been invited to share the meals of strangers, listened to songs being sung, watched impromptu games of cards being played. I have had my future told,my life-history extracted from me and been obliged to listen to many other life-histories and medical woes! I have been asked point-blank how much I earn ,been startled by a lady pulling up her sari to show me her varicose veins and watched in fascination as travellers in Gujarat open up their many-tiered ,compartmentalised food boxes  to cut raw onions,tomato,lemon and coriander to make copious quantities of bhel puri! I have resisted attempts by males of varying ages to be picked up or part with an address ( as will have all solitary female travellers in India) but have also met a very kind group of young men ,who on seeing that the school seem to have messed-up the reservations up for my classmate and I( we were only 15 at the time)bribed the Ticket Collector on our behalf,gave up their berths for us and along with other passengers,kept us fed and watered and shrugged off our heartfelt thankyous.I have had my gold chain snatched at through a window but also have had fellow-passengers watch over my belongings while I slept!Once ,I sat next to a policeman who had a prisoner handcuffed to one of hands! The prisoner talked philosophy to an enthralled audience  and then bought all of us a round of tea!

Just the catering in the railways warrants a thesis written on it! Getting millions of hot meals to millions of people on time in a moving train…and  get this……..one does not even have to book a meal or pre-order. A uniformed man with a pencil stuck behind his ear will come and take orders from you in a rapid-fire manner rattling off what you can expect ( rice,rotis/puri,two vegetables,dal,yoghurt,pickle,pappad,a sweet and a bottle of water) and voila, a couple or more or hours later, a steaming hot meal is placed before you! Trains like the super-efficient Deccan Queen from Mumbai to Pune serves as a commuter train but you can gain a couple of kilos by the time you reach Mumbai!

Travelling wedding parties may have garlands of marigolds strung on their windows adding some pizzaz and once,while on a school trip,our matron’s nursing capabilities was brought to the fore as she helped deliver a baby after borrowing a new razor blade from one of my classmates!

I could go on and on ……and then some more! But I will spare the patient visitors reading this and instead perhaps suggest that if you are bored/at a crossroads/restless/feeling adventurous -just open up your mind and take a trip on the Indian Railways….it will certainly engage you! Meanwhile ,I will look forward to the time when one day perhaps I will hold the ticket for the Trans-Siberian in my hands. And I will surely tell you all about it!

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Howzat!!

Yes, how IS that?! How is that ,that somehow the cricket gene that all Indians seem to inextricably have twined onto their chromosomes,whether X or Y, has completely eluded me?  How is that,that when all my Indian countrymen  can get their adrenaline going at the sight of a cricket bat, all I can come up with  is a suppressed yawn?  I don’t mean to. Honestly! I wish I could whip myself into a fever of excitement and enthusiastically discuss LBWs and Ducks or  Swans or whatever because it does look like everybody is having a lot of fun but no matter how hard I try,  it’s hard to stay in a state of frenzied  animation over a lot of men in white taking AGES to hit a ball!

When my husband is watching the cricket, I could leave the room,do a 100 chores,water the plants,dance a jig and somersault a million times ( not that I do you understand but I could if I wanted to) but even then,on my return ,all that would have happened is that the bowler would just have finished polishing the ball on his trousers in preparation to bowl or still be spitting on it!

Ever since moving here,it has been somewhat a relief to find that rugby is far more popular than cricket. I suppose my fellow-Indians will consider this an act of treason punishable by hanging but I find rugby more watchable! It moves, it’s fast and there’s a sort of morbid fascination in watching grown men flinging themselves onto each others’ ankles or piling up in a large heap from which will eventually emerge a tiny ball! But what commends itself most about the sport is that in 80 minutes it’s all over and you can go back to watching Downton Abbey or the re-runs of M*A*S*H!

So as everyone here moves into a feverish state of existence for the next month ( the Indians,not the Kiwis) as India continues to play the Blackcaps, I will have to resign myself  to being told updates of the score continually ( which is very painful as every ball takes SO very long) and be educated on the finer points of silly ( how appropriate) mid-ons or run-outs …..or whatchamacallits!

In my defense, I must say that I am not totally ignorant about the game or the players. I do know how it is played and I can see from the score who is winning! I am not that much of an ostrich. I can identify Sachin ( that’s Tendulkar for those of you not in the know), Kapil Dev ( Palmolive da jawab nahin!), Gavaskar, Dravid, Shastri and Imran Khan ( who in my day was considered VERY easy on the eye and yes, I know he belongs to arch rival, Pakistan)!! I realised that I did not know what Nayan Mongia  looked like when at Mumbai airport ,my brother whispered to me,” Look behind you! Nayan Mongia!” I spun around obligingly  and then had to keep spinning as I did not know who I was looking for! As well as some of the current NZ cricket team, I would recognise Shane Warne and Viv Richards if I saw them in the street.

I know I have  little excuse for letting my mother-country down  and so to all fellow-Indians,my apologies . But if you can modify and condense the game into say, 5-5 instead of 20-20, I would be sorely tempted to join the happy faces lining the stadium! And no spit with the polish please!

I say I have little excuse for my lagging interest in cricket because I was brought up in the campus of the Rajkumar College, Rajkot ( which is a “public school”  in the British tradition ) since my mum taught there . It is a school built by the British to educate the princes  of Kathiawar ( hence the Rajkumar) with a beautiful campus ( do google it and see) modelled on Oxford. Cricket  was and is to the school what bacon is to eggs or nails are to polish. It’s cricket grounds and pitches were attended to by an army of groundsmen and maintained meticulously. It has a cricket pavilion which now is a part of history and it’s walls are lined with pictures of famous players and alumni.

Stadium,pavilion,Google will also  bear me out that the famous Ranjisinhji ( of Ranji Trophy fame) who also played cricket for England and Duleepsinhji,who did the same, were alumni of the Rajkumar College and when I was small,it’s pitches were used for International matches as well ( I used to tag along with my friends to get autographs of players I didn’t know)!

Of course, I never volunteer any of this when Kiwi cricket aficionados would try to draw me into a conversation about cricket! I found that stroking my chin contemplatively and saying ,” Hmm… You may be right there” could often do the trick of seeming knowledgeable or  better still narrowing my eyes and saying,” I’ll have to think about that one…”. There was one TV Sports commentator who I would encounter who would always get on to cricket talk till I told him that I would find it hard to name the current captain of the Indian cricket team! So he obligingly switched over to children and monarchs of England ( he would try to name them all) but when he went to cover the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, I was at least able to recommend what ‘dhaaba’ food he must give a go!

So,it is a mystery and a mischievous quirk of fate that despite all this , I have emerged untouched by the cricket madness and let me tell you, life would have been far easier for me if I had been! But at least I may be the only one here ,who no matter who wins, will still be able to say without a qualm that “our boys” won!

Heart Couture

Just a couple of days ago, I was conversing with a friend (well,as much as one may converse when concentrating on devouring muffins) when the talk turned to common job-interview questions. We mutually deplored the one asking for one’s strengths and weaknesses ( I decided I could probably bench-press 5 kilos and my weakness would be the rowing machine!) and we decided that the most  annoying ones (common ones here) would be the ones asking for examples of specific instances where you were an asset to your employers or you weren’t and how that was perceived and followed-up etc etc! My friend then said that she had been asked a couple of times about who she admired or was influenced by ( in the wider world) and asked how I would have answered that.

Well, that quite threw me and it’s a good thing that nobody has asked me that before as it would have been a very long pause which would have ensued! Of course there are plenty of people I admire -in the Arts,in politics,among writers or sportspersons. But I don’t think any of them have really influenced me in a conscious way although doesn’t everyone have subconscious influences,either from a collective memory or a specific one that work themselves into one’s being? But I found myself strangely foxed and despite my friends’ prodding,could not single any one person out as a mentor or role-model. I mean, I do admire say ,Golda Meir,Van Gogh or Shrek,but I probably couldn’t even admit to the last one in  a job interview!

My friend then asked curiously if there was anything I could specifically say I had learnt from someone in my life and when couched in those terms, I could instantly think of something -an incident from my 20s which I did share with her and on reflection,would like to mention it here too. It may not sound profound but I have often reflected on the “lessons” learned from it.

In my early 20s,as a young doctor fresh from internship, I went to work my bond in a fairly good-sized Mission hospital built by the Irish Presbyterian Mission  mainly for the Bhils -the local tribe who were a nomadic and extremely poor and backward community. My boss there ,was an Irish Gynaecologist & surgeon (surgeon by necessity) ,a lady about 3 decades older than me. I will call her Joan here although that was not her real name.  As both of us were single and had no families to pander to when we were not on call, we would spend many evenings playing Scrabble, exchanging or discussing books ,sampling her delicious baking or just chatting. She was definitely a mentor to me then as that was my first job and we were just 3 doctors manning the entire hospital. I would sometimes take an Xray or case-notes or an ECG to her for a second opinion and she would patiently go through them.

Many of the hospital staff were Bhils as well and lived on the campus. Often a single family would have multiple members  working there holding a variety of posts from cleaner to watchman. Mission hospitals did not pay well and some of the staff/workers ( many with dependents) would live a hand-to-mouth existence.

Both Joan and I would often find ourselves invited for celebratory meals to staff houses if they had a special occasion or if a child passed an exam and so on. We would then be the guests of honour and get special treatment. As I said, many of the non-nursing staff lived on very little and like in the case of my OPD ” ayah” , they would  have none or little furniture at all and would eat and sleep on the floor. So when we arrived, we would find their best sheet folded and laid on the floor on which we would sit cross-legged and eat. The family would never eat with us but would stand at the ready around us with second helpings urging us to have more. No amount of entreaty would make them sit down with us! We were their honoured guests and I would feel terrible at times because practically everyone was much older than me and yet because I was one of the doctors, they would treat me reverentially!

I would never know how to dress for these occasions. The family themselves would be out of hospital uniform and very very simply dressed. I felt that to dress-up in my ” outing ” or dressy clothes would be to arrive grossly over-dressed and perhaps draw attention to the contrast in our clothes  and be inappropriate for the setting and occasion. So I would be neatly but simply dressed in my everyday clothes.

Joan on the other hand would come emanating perfume in her prettiest dresses ( she only wore Western clothes) with matching shoes and handbags and her good jewellery. She would take her high heels off at the door and we would both sit cross-legged on the sheet and have gleaming steel “thalis” laden with steaming ,delicious food laid before us. Often she would have Elective students from Belfast visiting and there would be a lot of merriment as they attempted to eat with their hands!

On one such occasion,we all had been invited to dinner at the home of the watchman as his younger brother ( the only one getting an education) had done very well in a final exam. The watchman’s mother worked for me as a maid,his sister worked as an O.P.D assistant and his middle brother worked as an orderly in the wards. Joan had just returned from Northern Ireland after a conference and  medical school reunion with two elective students in tow.  She arrived resplendent ( as usual) in what she had bought for her reunion-a lovely emerald green dress, matching emerald green shoes and handbag and pretty green earrings. Everyone oohed and aahed! Leaving her shoes at the door,she sank onto the sheets on the floor provided for us. We watched amused as the two med students struggled to tuck their long legs away somewhere!

As the hosts bustled away to get our food organised, I remarked to Joan how lovely her dress was and how much of an  effort she made to dress for these occasions. She took a quick look at the med students who were still twisting their legs into pretzels and said softly, ” Well,when our hosts invite me into their homes to share their joys like this, they are honouring me and showing me tremendous respect. I think it’s the least I can do to show them how much I in turn appreciate this and respect them. They all know my everyday clothes. I don’t want them to think that I feel it’s ” just them” that I am visiting and that they are not important enough for me to make an effort.”

Well, I can tell you that what she said struck me so forcibly that I dwelt on it  for the rest of the evening! It made perfect sense. Although I always felt honoured to be invited to these occasions, to my various hosts, it must have seemed to them that I was just performing a duty by attending dressed very ordinarily . How tragic! I was not showing sensitivity by dressing down; I was actually showing disrespect!

Needless to say,thereafter I would arrive for all dinner/lunch events  all dressed up and bedecked with my favourite bling!

Joan will probably never read this but the lesson she taught me was not really one about dressing suitably  for occasions. I could see in all her encounters with patients,staff and friends alike that they were all individuals of great interest to her. There was never an iota of condescension or patronage in her dealings with them. They enriched her life and she enriched theirs. She came to India as a young missionary doctor,turning down marriage. She was never the sort to preach at anyone but in the years I worked and socialised  with her , she taught  by example in many ways that one must love thy neighbour as oneself!

Joan made the long journey from Gujarat to be at my wedding in the Nilgiris. When I introduced her around as my ex-boss, she  exclaimed in exasperation, ” Do stop saying that. We were more like sisters  you know! Just say I am your friend!”

My friend Joan, left soon after to go back to Belfast and when I last communicated with her,worked as a Prison doctor there. I am sure she visits them in her emerald green dress!

The Oiling of Time:the coconut way!

At a pharmacy today, I overheard a rather unusual request for a bottle of coconut oil. And not by an Indian at that! The pharmacist handed the ware over to the customer who remarked ( a bit obscurely I thought) ,that ” Coconut oil is the new thing now isn’t it?”

I don’t know what she wanted it for ( was very curious to know though) and if only I could have shared the role that coconut oil played in my life while growing up in India ! She probably wouldn’t have minded hearing either but the opportunity to expound on it did not present itself!

How well I remember the smell of coconut oil! For many years our kitchen always smelt of it as my Mum used to cook in it. A not-unpleasant smell, but quite strong and strangely sweet. It’s flavour used to colour everything we ate-from pappadams to curries. In the cold winters of Gujarat it would harden into an opaque white mass,which would then clear through decreasing degrees of cloudiness as the day turned warm!

And of course, it was used liberally as a hair-oil ;guaranteed to make hair black and lustrous as all the adverts promised and I think it did! The hair oil was always separate from the cooking oil ( of course) and the brand we used came in a blue tin with a picture of coconuts on it.  As my hair was very long ( I could sit on the ends), my mothers’ help had to be enlisted to oil it satisfactorily. She would sit me down on the floor while she perched on a sofa or chair and then section by section,part and oil my hair.  Although I hated oil in my hair, my eyes would close involuntarily with the massage and I would finally leave the last shred of resistance and just enjoy it!

Coconut oil ( at least in South India) was also considered a good moisturiser for the skin. My brother and I would smear it all over our arms and legs after our baths in winter and then glistening all over,set off for our next activity ( though it would be absorbed very quickly)!

In our summer vacations, we would go to the village where my grandmother lived-a little one called Ramayanpatti ( later re-named Rajagopalapuram!)not far from Cape Comorin at the very Southern tip of India-an idyllic place replete with rice paddy fields and groves of coconut trees ,to spend the most memorable holidays. My grandmother would take us by bus to Tirunelveli town for her major grocery shopping and as a special treat ( which I would beg for ), we would make the return journey in a ” Jataka” or horse-drawn cart,rather like the covered wagons seen in the old Western films but smaller and covered with a wooden and canvas cover open at both ends. It had only two large wooden wheels in the middle which made for a bumpy trip and a see-saw effect when one was boarding it! My favourite perch was at the rear end with my legs dangling out and facing the traffic behind us and watching the scenery recede.

The last stop in town would be to buy the cooking oil-always coconut oil-and this was always in the same ‘oil depot’ where an array of various oils were stored in various containers with wooden hinged lids. It was a rather dark,cavernous establishment and a man would come out of the gloom  and deferentially point out the best-sellers to my grandmother.

She would demand to inspect them first whereupon the shopkeeper would then produce various wooden ladles made of coconut shell halves and then rather like a wine-tasting session,would ladle out samples for grandma to sniff at and run a beady eye over and sometimes  rub between her fingers. I can still recall the distinct smell of that shop and would watch in fascination the whole rigmarole of choosing the right oil. It was like taking part in some secret ceremony or ritual with the dark store,the man from the shadows offering up potions and my grandmother like the high priestess shaking her head till she was satisfied!

Once the choice was made,the shopkeeper would then ladle out the required amount ( by weight) into my grandmothers ‘ own container before he bowed us out of his store and we clambered into the jataka again!

From her own coconuts on her trees, my grandmother would get her servant to tear off the husks and make them into smaller scrubbers for doing the dishes with  or loofahs for our bath! These, we would carry back with us to Rajkot! In Tirunelveli,mattresses would often be stuffed with coconut husks and make a scrunchy sound when sat on!

So ,forgive me if I have bored you with this trip down memory lane but the chance remark in a New Zealand pharmacy couldn’t help but send me off to Tirunelveli for a while! Talk about Time Travel,eh?!

Hyperbole Heaven

Awesome! That’s wonderful! You’re a Star!”,said the young man to me yesterday looking into my eyes…No, I had not mastered the tango. Far from it. What had happened was that on being served at the till by the said young man,he had discovered that the EFTPOS (debit) system was down and had asked hopefully whether I could pay by cash instead. After foraging in my purse,I came up with the required amoung which prompted the fulsome praise! Some years ago, I would have been slightly startled by the exuberance but now,I almost expect it!

I am gratified that my carrying cash in my purse inspires awe in at least one persons’ eyes and fills him in wonder! And if that also makes me a Star,then so be it. But even if he had just said,”Thank you so much-that’s a great help” ,it would have worked just as well and probably been more believable!

Another conversation in early December with a check-out operator resulted in my divulging that my family was about to visit( I had been asked my plans over Christmas). “That’s wonderful!”,she exclaimed and asked me from where they were coming. On being told that it was from India,“How amazing!”,she cried. Wonderful? Yes. Amazing? I don’t know. Now, if they had loaded their suitcases onto the backs of camels and trekked across land, that would have been amazing( especially since it would have sorted out all their excess baggage issues),but the fact that I knew that they were tamely going to board an aircraft and travel in the usual manner,rather failed to awaken the amazement in me!

I don’t mean to sound like a wet blanket but if that nice young man who said I was awesome were to experience the Northern Lights for example,what adjective would he have left in his repertoire to describe that?! if a middle-aged woman carrying cash in her purse can inspire awe, what would coming across a penguin colony in the Antartic inspire if you get my drift?!

But although I may get a trifle over-dosed on the superlatives at times,I know I mustn’t moan. At least it lifts your spirits to win the personal bet you have made with yourself as to how many “Have a nice day!”s you may hear in a span of 3 hours and it beats indifference any day! It’s great to have bus drivers here smile or nod acknowledgment and thankyou when you get off a bus or lift a languid hand rather than the one we encountered in New York City last year who bellowed at a hapless tourist to “SIT DOWN” when he tried to timidly ask a question! Given that the bus was moving and that the passenger approached the driver’s seat,it may have been a trifle ill-advised but when the bus driver thundered at him,I cringed for the poor man although everyone else looked totally unconcerned!

When we lived in India and my daughter who was 4 years old then went to pre-school,she would often come back with her notebook marked with aggressive red-inked strokes by her teacher. My daughter could never quite get the letters of the alphabet to fit the little squares or between the lines of her exercise book with her immature hands and the teacher would boldly circle the mistakes and scrawl huge red question marks in the margin. I’m sorry Ms D’Souza,but I never quite worked out who the question marks were for! Were they for Rachel who at 4,did not know what a question mark was or was it in fact for her parents,in which case,were we supposed to deprive her of food till she could write between the lines?!

Well,we never found out as we soon left to move to New Zealand where at school,practically everyday she would get various stickers proclaiming,“You are Awesome!” or “You Rock!” or certificates by the dozen issued for helping a new child,picking up litter or helping the teacher and so on. At first she was thrilled ( and so were we) but when the stickers abd certificates kept up a steady flow,they became just another bit of paper to be filed away. It also soon became apparent that although the “You’re Awesome” stickers peppered Rachel’s books,her handwriting still left very much to be desired! But as she was constantly reminded that she rocked,it seemed more conveniently justifiable for her to blithely disregard her parents admonitions and stick with the school angle!

Obviously,there was a need for some golden middle which would have served as an attractive carrot and a friendly stick!

The other day I had to fill out a form to get me onto a mailing list. After doing so,I asked the woman at the counter if I had done all that was required. She skimmed over it and then,“That’s fabulous! Absolutely perfect! Did you include a phone number? You did? that’s fantastic! Great! That’s all done then! You have a nice day now!”. Golly! I don’t know if it’s that fantastic just having added more spam into my Inbox but oh well…there you go!

And how about the chefs on the Food Channel ( yes,I love watching the food shows,although this mystifies everybody who knows me!).I feel my hackles rise the moment they start breathing in the “wonderful” aromas and hearing the “glorious” sizzling sounds! They talk AT you,almost commanding you to appreciate the “fantastic” colours and the “beautiful” drips of the most delicious sauce ( all 3 dots of it) and declare ecstatically with closed eyes how the crunch,the texture and the taste are all exploding together in one big sensual experience in their mouths! And when they turn to you with mouths full and start expounding on the wonderment of it all,it’s all I can do not to cover my face with my hands to stop their crumbs from spattering all over me! Excuse me guys but I’ll be the judge of that! Tastes are too subjective to take someone else’s word for it. One man’s oyster is anothers’ snot-like secretion! So don’t tell me what to feel! And yes, I will still be watching all your shows when possible-so there!

Meanwhile all you beautiful people,you have a fantastically AWESOME day, y’hear?!

What’s In A Name?

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So finally-my very first post in a blog! And not just any old blog; apparently this is MY blog! To say I find myself surprised to be here would be a bit of an understatement. Not being the savviest of users-of-the-Internet-and-all-matters-related, I did spend periods of time  staring at my iPad screen waiting for things to happen. For a long time nothing did. Turns out I seem to be unable to conjure up a password that will stymie the hackers so if you see here instructions on how to build a bomb or whip up a mean creme brûlée , it is not I but some other!

       Perhaps a good place to start would be to explain my user name. Now this took nearly an hour because apparently every single name beginning with ‘N’ that I could think of ,had already been snapped up by someone else. Fjnally it came down to two  nicknames I have possessed in the past,conferred to me by a friend and another friend respectively. One nickname was Nifty which had been bestowed on me in America ( Cleveland, Ohio to be exact) and the other Nitwit ( from Rajkot, India). The first was conferred on me in some desperation of being unable to pronounce my real name and not because I was particularly nifty with my hands or legs or anything like that! The second was one I was always  called by my friend and neighbour who being 7 years older than me and in the same school, thought it an appropriately condescending title to call out loudly when surrounded by our peers,just so there was no mistaking my lowly station in life!! Now when I am 51 and she 58, she still calls me Nitwit and I bear the distinction with honour!

             But there seems to be someone else who also bears the distinction and so I had to think of an alternative;hence the Nithwit. Now I must hasten to add for those who may erroneously think that it refers to some kind of lightening wit I may be in the posssession of, that it is nothing of the kind. It does not in any way allude to Wit of the Nith. Nith has no wit. So no pearls of wit will be strewn about here,I am sorry to say! It’s just plain and simple Nitwit with an ‘h’ in it as a nod to my name ! Therefore expect more Nitwit-type offerings and hopefully that’s me explained!