Blogs from Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India, Asia - page 8


Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Srinagar December 8th 2012

I was just lying in my bed this morning at 9:30am thinking about what a bullshitter Mustafa was making empty promises about doing this and that together, when the phone rang and it was Mustafa, who wanted to pick me up and take me for breakfast. ‘I’ll take tea and a slice of your finest humble pie please.’ I told him that I’d be ready in half an hour; he arrived at the hotel with the promise of breakfast and then a boat trip on Lake Dal. Talk about running hot and cold! For some reason I was in a bad mood this morning; I think it was just the previous evening’s solitary confinement. It took me some effort to be the grateful, chirpy person that Mustafa was probably expecting, but somehow I managed to muster ... read more
To buy or not to buy?

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Srinagar December 7th 2012

If Dobby touches my toasted sandwiches one more time I’m going to have to kill him. For the last three mornings I have come into the office and prepared my apricot jam toasties breakfast, starving and savouring my first meal of the day, only to have them ruined by Dobby’s mucky hands pawing them. On Wednesday I’d taken the toasties up to my office when in walked Dobby and slapped his palm down on one of them, seemingly to see if it was hot. Though my stomach turned I decided to turn a blind eye. Yesterday, I was on the way up from the kitchen to my office when he grabbed one of the toasties to inspect the filling, again with the grubby hands. It was all I could do not to slap his hand away. ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Srinagar December 6th 2012

I could write about the children that I met today when I went to visit two girls’ orphanages – one private and one government run – with Karran and Ibrahim from Yateem. I could talk about the first orphanage, how cold it was in that decrepit building even in the middle of the day, about how the girls scurried out of the only room with a heater so that Karran, Ibrahim and I could be warm, and who then brought us chairs so that we would be comfortable, and who then brought us tea and biscuits so that we would be watered and fed. I could talk about how the girls gradually, inquisitively, crept back into that room to see these visitors, and to be back near the heater. I could talk about how one by ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Srinagar December 5th 2012

I am absolutely exhausted in that lovely and deeply satisfying way that only comes from a hard day’s work. One of my best days in Kashmir so far, eight hours spent with the patron from Yateem Institute, Sabir, as well as Ibrahim and his co-worker Maqbool, a Yateem volunteer district representative named Hajir, and a driver that I have never met before and whose name I can’t remember but who I will call Keanu, due to his uncanny resemblance to the Matrix star. Shame Keanu isn’t my type. You may be slightly amazed that I have managed to retain all these names, but I am only able to rattle them off so effortlessly because at around 2pm (having already spent over 4 hours with these people!) I realised that I did not have a clue what ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Srinagar December 4th 2012

Mental note: don’t drink coffee that late in the evening again (terrible trouble getting to sleep last night). Headed into the office around 9am and made myself some breakfast – apricot jam toasted sandwiches – then proceeded to my office to discover...13 email replies – yey! There was even one from David, although I instantly hated myself for getting so excited about it and then hated myself some more when I hastily opened it and it was a ‘glad all is well’ one-liner. The rest were from various friends and ex-colleagues, pure gold. At 10am Ajay and I headed out with Karran to visit two more village CPGs. Ajay, Ajay, Ajay...where to begin? For someone who is supposedly an ‘Information and Communications Officer’ he sure aint great at communicating! We’re sitting in the 4x4, Ajay, Karran, ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Srinagar December 3rd 2012

No moaning today, I’m in far too positive a mood. A good day today, lots of things accomplished. My major achievements were: 1.Semi-solid poo this afternoon. A step in the right direction. Even managed to do it on the squat toilet without getting anything on my trousers. 2.Finally put some order into the chaos of my office – de-cluttered desk, brought in another table, obtained some trays (i.e. stole them from around the office – well, they were only collecting dust) and labelled them up as ‘To Do’, ‘To Read’ and ‘To File’, re-positioned the printer so that I can actually access it, and put two coat hooks in the back of the door. My Zen is in order. 3.Completed the ‘Guidelines for successful establishment of CGVIs’ final draft, including a rather snazzy flowchart which maps ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Srinagar December 2nd 2012

My hotel phone, aka curfew hotline, rang this morning – the hotel manager informing me that today is, indeed, a ‘very dangerous curfew’. I have diarrhoea again, it’s 11:44am, I’ve watched two episodes of House, ignored a call from Gloria, haven’t heard anything from Mustafa and I still haven’t left my bed. This is becoming tedious... Things I am sick off... 1.Diarrhoea. 2.Having to spell-check diarrhoea every time I write it, which is a lot these days. 3.Being confined to Relax Inn by curfews – there’s really only so much relaxing one person can do. 4.Sitting/lying in my bed reading, typing, watching DVDs because there’s nothing else to do until the curfew lifts. I know that it probably sounds nice, but after a while it starts to send a sociable soul like me crazy. 5.Spending whole ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Srinagar December 1st 2012

Clearly something about Saturdays in Srinagar does not agree with me. I’m sitting on my bed in a foul mood after – once again – the city whooped my ass. I should be ecstatic, because finally I have heating – a gas fire sourced for me this morning by slippery-tongued Sharada. But no, instead of basking in the heat of my Gazal Thermocomfort, I stewing in the mire of my Saturday blues. The day began ominously with a dream in which my godchildren had an older sister who fell in love with me and with whom I fell in love. The catch was the she and I both knew that I was gay, and whilst I was able to go along for a while with her belief that our love for each other could overcome my ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Srinagar November 30th 2012

Forget the philosophy. Embrace beer. That’s my stance at 9:20pm on a Friday night. I’ve only had three cans of Fosters – and that was about an hour ago – but it’s enough to make me feel chilled out and at peace with the world. After another day of unexpected curfew, I eventually went for lunch with Rahim at around 2pm (thank god, with no heating my room is like an icebox) and then for a couple of hours in the office. I asked Rahim how come we were allowed to be wandering around in the curfew; he told me that it only applied to gangs. I asked him what constituted a gang. He said three or more people. Interesting. I asked why, then, Mustafa had told me to stay in the hotel. He told me ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Srinagar November 29th 2012

I love my new metal hook. It’s screwed into the back of my door and it’s where I will be hanging my coat and scarf from now on. It’s not that the hook is so special, it’s just what it represents: small personal touches that make this place home. I also love my new extra blanket, my new flip flops for the shower and my new hand towel, which hangs on my new bathroom suction-hook. All of these things purchased when, having left work slightly early, I headed into town. In addition, I had some photos of family and friends printed today, and these now adorn my walls. I am sure that other emergency child protection officers would think that I’m stupid for adding these homely touches to a guest house room that I’ll be leaving ... read more

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