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Edifying discussion with a school teacher...

We all have great moments of loneliness in life.It is a great effort for me to make the conversation to people that I don’t know, or whom I am not comfortable with. And what makes me even more uncomfortable is silence between these people and me. So usually I start babbling and I become unstoppable.

Sometime I listen to myself speaking and wish I could just stop and run away but instead I go on. 

This is how I found myself talking about the sexual orgies of some Maharajas (that happened because I was reading a book about the same) to a rather traditional and conservative Indian elder man.

All that to get to my recent conversation with a 60 year old school teacher from Kerala. I, who can hardly make the difference between the left and the right-hand parties, I started talking about politics. I was telling crap but my interlocutress beat me big time: 

  • Me: Isn't the Indian electoral system a little bit similar to the United States’ one considering the two countries are State Unions?
  • Her: Maybe a little bit but it has to be different since we are a democracy and they are capitalists.
  • Me (horrified): Ok but democracy and capitalism are not opposite are they? One could rather oppose democracy and dictatorship don’t you think so? Dictatorships like in Africa or China.
  • Her: Ah no, China is a democracy.
  • Me (dumb-founded): Is it so? Did China political system changed recently? Because last I was told, economico-political theories comparing India and China stated that China had been developing much faster than India because (or thanks to) her authoritarian regime. But maybe you are right* …

 Oh God, where is this country going??

 But this is not finished!

 Her brother-in-law (a respectable Supreme Court judge) enters the conversation:

  • Him: By the way, is France a monarchy or a democracy??
  • Me (well they are still a few monarchies in Europe so I won’t jump to the ceiling): Euh we abolished monarchy during the French Revolution.
  • Him: And you won’t become a monarchy again?
  • Me: Not that I know of…


* A Republic is not necessarily a democracy and vice-versa. If the two terms are close, they are not always identical. Thus, a Republic is not always a democracy. Today, the Chinese model is called "People's Republic of China" but it acts like a dictatorship: freedoms are limited, the communist power is authoritative. The Chinese president is appointed by the Communist party. There are elections in China, but it is to elect the 3,000 deputies of the Parliament who meet only once a year and has no power. On the other hand, a democracy is not always a Republic. England is a monarchy but the queen has only a honorary power, it is the British Prime Minister who governs with a Parliament elected by the universal direct suffrage. So the United Kingdom is both a monarchy and a democracy.



How to get nicely rid of a neighbour in 4 steps …

When I moved in here, I was full og good intentions … I really wanted to avoid the mistakes I did in Mumbai by not meeting the neighbours which I thought hated me but turned out to be nice when my cat forced me to talk to them. And eventually I did not go and say hi.

Well I did speak with the old woman of the ground floor (I had forgotten my key) but she was least interested, she only wanted to know how she could get in touch with my favorite Indian (they have common connections in the Supreme Court).

I also met my direct neighbour after two months of cohabitation. It was when a carnage had just happened: the stray cat which roams around in the building had smashed my trash bag and it was spread everywhere. I was cleaning (and not waiting for the caretaker of the building to clean as anyone else would have probably done in the building, after what I can see on my neighbours’ landings) when he came to “make me a suggestion”: “To avoid dirtying your landing, and mine, it would be better if you left the trash bag in the staircase. This way, the trash would not be lying in front of our flats when we have guests coming.”

Obviously I could help asking whether it would look better if guests had to jump over the trash in the staircase to reach our floor?? And to tell him that his “suggestion” was not solving the problem.

The following day I bought a very nice sorrel basket with a cover that I leave outside and if any trash of his ever lands on my landing, he will hear about me!!

But let us go back to the main topic … The day I received my stuff from Mumbai, I was quietly unpacking when I heard a conversation. I heard so well, it sounded like they were in my apartment! And they would not stop talking! I started thinking that they had nerve discussing like that right outside my door! And then, horror, I realized that they were in my neighbour’s flat!! The poor wooden door that separates us is of no use. Hell and damnation …


On top of that I was thinking of buying a sound system and I was not so comfortable inviting him to the movies, with the sound but not the images! However the home theatre proved useful to cover the chuckles of his chicks and his bollywood music (one or twice I stroke back with jubilation – my sound level is unbeatable!)…

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Where is Waldo??

I am often asked how it is to work in India.

I won't really go into details now; I will just illustrate the context:


The hundred dollar question: "How do I make my brand visible in this"mess"??" I look for the answer, I look for it...

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