From Lahore my next destination was to be New Delhi. At the Pakistan / India border the train stopped and stood stationary for over an hour; delayed for no other reason than that was the necessary course of inaction to be taken when entering India from Pakistan.
Helga and I departed company. She was flaming mad, a whirlwind of expletives, disappearing into the distance, screaming her anger at the unnecessary bureaucracy. I whispered my goodbyes, 100 metres from her fading silhouette and then sat back in my seat feeling relaxed. It was a cool evening. I was in no hurry to be going anywhere.
Arriving into New Delhi I checked into a luxurious, cheap hotel and bought myself a steak which had stared up at me from the hotel menu. Unfortunately I still was not eating solids and gave most of it to another backpacker who had stared at it ravenously while I made my futile attempts to fill my stomach.
Outside the hotel was a cultural melting pot; a sacred white cow walking leisurely down a crowded urban alley, poverty, shops selling all types of contraptions, a hustler hassling me to buy an adventure holiday to Kashmir.
Just a few questions:
“Isn’t that disputed territory? Don’t Pakistan and India both have their armies stationed on alert around there? Aren’t holiday makers kidnapped in Kashmir on a regular basis?”
“No thanks. I’ve had enough adventure to last me a life time” I replied.
I was walking on my way to the Red Fort. Built between 1638 and 1648 by a Moghul emperor the castle was once the centre of one of the world’s wealthiest medieval empires. Now the wealth and grandeur had moved on. But it still held modern day significance; it was where India’s first Independence Day was celebrated by the rising of the Indian tricolour flag in 1947.
Something else was rising inside my stomach. I needed to find a toilet, quickly, hopefully something better than the usual Indian public amenity of a hole in the ground over flown with fesses. Some of the locals started laughing at my plight.
What did I care?
I was not planning to stay in India for an eternity; even though it was starting to feel like it. One day I will win. One day I will be working in corporate counting dollars and you will just have your cricket idols to keep you company.
If only I could think ahead a few years and then look back …would things be different?
One thing that continues to amaze me about corporate companies is they never provide a brush in any of the office toilet cubicles.
Is this because:
One time at work I was going through a bit of a bad patch. I put this down to the fact that for a short phase of my life, when I bought my weekly lunchtime curry, I requested a medium hot curry instead of one of the three standard fares of mild, medium and hot. I assume the chef thought ‘medium hot curry - I’ll give this fussy customer a medium hot curry alright’.
The short phase of been a fussy curry consumer did not leave a lasting effect on me but may have left a lasting impression on my fellow corporate colleagues.
Below all some of the e-mails that went around the office at the time:
Email 1 Anne
Could people please replace the milk when the carton is empty as it is the third time in as many days that I have had to walk down the steps to fetch the milk?
The rule should be that those that finish the last of the milk in the carton should replace the milk.
Email 1 Anne
Could the person who left the unclean bowl on the bench wash it and put it away please.
Email 1 My Reply
Could the person who left only a few dribbles of milk in the milk carton in the fridge please go and see Anne?
I feel that the unnamed person’s action is taking Anne’s kitchen rules to the extreme and should clarify with her the extent of milk that must be left in the carton before it must be replaced.
PS I was the culprit who left an unclean bowl on the bench earlier this week. However as the dishwasher was full with clean dishes I feel my actions were warranted.
Email 1 Jessica
If your lunch makes a mess in the toasted sandwich machine please be considerate of others and clean it up.
It only takes five seconds.
Email 2 My Reply
Please note: I didn’t use the sandwich machine.
Email 3 Geoff
I believe it was Professor Plumb with the candle stick in the ….
Email 4 Big Boss
I’m still upset about the mess in the gent’s toilet last week (and the broken toilet seat). The smell lingers long in the memory.
Do we need to install a smell detector or other such alarm device?
Email 5 Big Boss
For clarity in what is a ‘murky area’:
Steve has clarified the major impact incident was three weeks ago but there was an incident last week as well.
Email 6 My Reply
When living in Auckland I used to call my flat-mate ‘Skids’ for the fore mentioned problem.
However what are you supposed to do when there is no toilet brush?
The same unfortunate scenario (for those who entered the toilet after me) happened at this week’s presentation.
However I was very impressed with the hotel’s service at the presentation. It was already cleaned up when I entered the ‘restricted area’ again a few minutes later.
To my fellow gentlemen I feel there is less to worry about as things seem to be improving.
Or perhaps it is due to the fact I have not had a curry this week!
Note: I claim no responsibility for the broken toilet seat.
Post Note: Butter Chicken is not a real man’s curry.