Thursday 23rd

When Mood Music
2006-03-23 12:48:00

Ooops
oops – looks like I took my weekly anti-malarial pill a day early yesterday. So I think I better use the full-on anti mosquito precautions (mossie net, repellant and coils/fumes) for a while, especially towards the end of the week. So far I’ve just used the coils and repellant.

I have been bitten quite a lot but I think it was by other insects. I’ve certainly felt no ill effects other than the ‘mughal’s revenge’. The cyber-cafe owner has just enquired after my health after I went out to the toilet. Fortunately it was no more than ‘business as usual’. However, I am very grateful for his (and others’) concern.

Audaciousness
He also asked me if I was intending to visit Goa. He met a chap at the american consulate who was audaciously robbed in the main train station there. Apparently, he was holding his rucsac between his legs when someone asked him if he’d dropped some money. He looked, hence relaxing his grip, and the whole lot disappeared.

I have my money and plastics in a ‘shoulder-holster’ wallet under my shirt and have my camera tied to my belt when I’m out and about. I keep my main rucsac padlocked shut and chained to an immovable object, while the small rucsac is also padlocked shut. I think I have enough chain to padlock both shut and to something else when they’re attached to another. I understand the temptation to steal from us rich tourists and regard the losses I’ve had so far as a form of ‘stupid tax’ but I’m still sad that this occurs and about the economic conditions that encourage it.

Pics?
Meanwhile, does anyone want a CD of my photos so far, just in case they evaporate? I’ve had a couple burnt (one to keep with me, one to post home) but it’s no problem to get other copies made. If you do, comment below and remind me of your postal address!

New arrivals
Three lads from Nottinghamshire (very close to home) just arrived at my hotel. I hope we can swap some tips on Goa because I still really want to go there. However, the arrival of Brits means it’s probably time to move on.

tidbits
Not much else to say so here’s some tidbits from the Times of India

  • Parliament is in uproar: an MP (Jaya Bachchan) was disqualified because she holds an ‘office of profit’ in the civil service. (I assume this law is to prevent conflict of interest and people being paid two state salaries.) Her party then accused 14 other MPs (mostly from the party leading the governing coalition) of committing the same offence and demanded their disqualification. (Seems fair enough to me.) This session of parliament has been adjourned by the government so it can pass a decree that the ‘offices of profit’ held by its MPs can be exempted from this ruling. (Apparently government by decree is allowable when Parliament isn’t in session.)
  • This adjournment has also affected the passage of a witness- protection law that was prompted by the collapse of a recent murder trial when the witnesses withdrew their statements, presumably under threat from the accused’s accomplices.
  • Following a protracted set of disputes, a woman was persuaded to go to her disputants’ village ostensibly to try to to settle them. On arrival she was set upon, paraded naked and had acid thrown over her. Truly horrifying.
  • The Mumbai High Court has ruled that builders must fulfil the ‘promises’, such as garden space, in their brochures, even if the actual contracts with purchasers don’t mention all of them. (Would that this could be applied to elected governments!)
  • IT companies here, including Wipro and IBM, have fired some employees for faking their CVs. Some of these employees had been in place for up to 2 years!
  • There’s been some success in tracing suspects in a case of abduction and murder of an IT employee who got a lift from Pune to Mumbai. Apparently up to 500 people do this each Friday because the bus, train and taxi services are inadequate.
  • There’s a big campaign to undo some of the ravages of the Mutha, one of Pune’s main rivers. Apparently construction companies have been dumping rubble in it, reducing its capacity and hence causing stagnation and flooding when there are releases from the dam upstream.
  • Some songs have been banned (from cable TV) because they’re too raunchy. Also, some TV companies have been told off for allowing promotion direct or indirect of alcohol and tobacco. How’s the smoking ban in the UK going?
  • In Afghanistan, a bloke is on trial for rejecting Islam and converting to Christianity. (Apparently this is an offence there and such offenders may face the death penalty.) However, a state prosecutor has said ‘We think he could be mad. He doesn’t talk like a normal person’ and a religious advisor to Afghanistan’s president has stated ‘If he is mentally unfit, Islam has no claim to punish him. He must be forgiven. The case must be dropped.’
  • And finally, Australian cricket supporters have been officially reprimanded in a New Delhi court for ‘premeditated, co-ordinated and calculated’ racial abuse of some South African cricketers. Such actions will now attract heavy fines. Rightly so, in my opinion. These bloody mongrels have shamed one of my home countries and insulted my preferred spectator sport.

Truly all human life is here!

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