I came across the news report of this award winning photograph today and it pained me immensely to see that conflict between these gentle giants and humans continue in India. Just look at the little calf being burnt, clearly he is shouting. How can one’s heart not cry? We adore the elephant to such an extent that we worship them, heck, one of our beloved Gods has an elephant head and yet these values don’t seem to come forth when survival with the pachyderms is in question.
Its raining in South India now. I am seated by my window with a piping cup of local chai, watching the rain pattering on the glass. Its a beautiful feeling. I still have a few books to read and there’s nothing that can beat the beautiful combination of hot masala chai, a great book in hand and the monsoon. The swell of the ocean brings about a now familiar November and December as the North-East Monsoon sets in.
Cantabria is a strip of land sandwiched between the state of Asturias and the autonomous Basque region in Northern Spain. It is a region that abounds in nature’s wealth. I had been traveling in Asturias for a while and decided to move to its neighboring state with some sadness in my heart because Asturias had been delightfully beautiful, the people had been so good, I had made new friends as well, but as I had read in a café, you have to keep moving forward to keep your balance, its just like riding a bicycle! So I proceeded to Santander, the capital of Cantabria from Llanes in Asturias, on a morning bus expecting to see more of this criminally under explored part of Spain.
As I was awaiting to enter the airport the other day, I saw two burly security guards checking our passports to let us in. Ahead of me was an elderly lady, perhaps coming to the airport for the first time. The guard asked her in as rude a manner as possible in a language she was not familiar with, to display her identity. The lady smiled at them and asked in her rustic language where she could find her flight. The guard simply shouted at her for her ‘ignorance’. The smile vanished from the lady’s face as she fumbled hurriedly for her passport in her bag as the man continued to press her to be quick. She did manage to show her passport and enter the airport perhaps more overwhelmed by the sophistication in an airport than was needed, especially at her age. The scene is imprinted in my mind. Here was a wonderful opportunity for the man to be simply nice to a lady perhaps old enough to be his grandmother. All he required was a little patience and a smile. He chose simply to do just his ‘job’ instead.
When I first read Somerset Maugham’s book ‘The Razor’s Edge’ almost a decade ago, I recall to have been quite affected by it. I was perhaps enchanted by the rich prose and the style of writing. Over these years I have read a lot of books but some characters have just managed to stay in my mind, like Larry in Maugham’s book. In this era when it so much easier to purchase a book online, I decided to test how much of a hold this book would have now and I must admit that this time, it has been an overwhelming experience to read the book for reasons beyond the literature aspects.