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Crossing the streets - a science

On a cold winter night, in the streets of the small town of Luzern, while the snow gently spreads its flakes, an Indian man and a French girl are walking and conversing cheerfully. Our as much as nature allows: while her teeth are chattering, his jaw seems to be completely clenched by the cold... 

Suddenly the man interrupts the conversation: “So, are we gonna play it Indian style or Swiss style?” The time the message reaches his colleague’s brain, and she wonders what the heck he is talking about, she realizes that he is no longer by her side. So she turns to see where he might be and... he is by the signal, pressing the button for the red light to come. She then looks around her and realizes that she is... in the middle of the crosswalk! And the signal? But what signal? In these empty streets it didn’t even cross her mind to look for a signal! 

india,jaywalking,france,switzerland,crosswalk,signalIt’s the world upside down, almost! The Indian one crossing wisely like a (German) Swiss and the French one wildly like an Indian. Well, ‘almost’ because one needs to know that Parisians actually do not care much about signals nor crosswalks – and all that would actually be the drivers’ fault!* 

Thus the Parisian is better prepared to India than the Luzerner or the Hamburger (or any German). This being said, nothing really prepares a non-Indian to street-crossing in the chaos of Indian traffic where pedestrians have to compete with animals, cars travelling in the wrong direction, buses that never stop. The best (safest) way to cross is to stick to an Indian (and in a way that he would get hit first)... (sticking to a cow also works but it can take a long time because they often decide that the middle of the street is in fact ‘the place to be’...). 

* “When it comes to cars and pedestrians, all Parisians know that a car won’t stop for a pedestrian. Especially at a pedestrian crossing. A car which actually stops at a pedestrian crossing shall be honked at and its driver immediately suspected of homosexuality. Knowing that they don’t belong at pedestrian crossings, Parisians cross the street mostly randomly. So it’s only logically that Parisians cross the street whenever they feel like it or whenever there is a break in traffic.” Source:


In 2016, go banana!

The simplest solutions (and less expensive) are often the best, and Indians know it. Where a French doctor cuts you to drain an abscess of its pus and leaves your leg with a hole that takes weeks to scar, my Indian cleaning lady applies an onion... And when I mentioned the said onion to the said doctor (found this to be interesting small talk while he was butchering me), I replied “well, and why not a banana while you’re at it??”*. Which brings us to... 

india,banana,thief,laxative... if you have something stuck in your tummy (for example a piece of stolen jewelry), the most effective way to get out is to eat bananas until you burst. It is recommended to down at least 48 fruits to get the desired result. So here is what happens from time to time to Indian hungry thieves (source). But be careful! If you read this post and are suffering from constipation, wait a minute before jumping on the first banana you see! It is indeed necessary to choose a very (or even overripe) one; otherwise it will just make things worse as not ready bananas have a constipation effect... 

And to get back to my French doctor – whom I almost believed when he mentioned bananas but who was actually “kidding” – bananas do have virtues for the skin*! You can brush yourself with its skin to treat shallow burns, nettle and mosquito bites; make a dressing of banana peel to cure warts (in which case you must also be armed with patience since natural remedies being effective slowly but surely, it takes 3 weeks); use the inside of the skin to remove black spots, and its flesh to make nourishing masks for the face (and the hair, then mixed with olive oil).

And it’s an anti-depressant! But be careful! If you read this post and suffer from acne or/and depression, wait a minute before jumping on the first banana regime you see! Indeed, you should know that bananas contain a lot of sugar (two bananas would bring a sufficient caloric intake for a 90-minute effort) and so one a day is enough – at least according to my gynec who, while I was discovering by myself the anti-nausea effects of the fruit during the first trimester of pregnancy and ate almost only bananas, was discovering (with horror) the kilos piling up... 

* I will get back in a future post to this crazy adventure of my abscess... 

** Source:


It’s my destiny! (Karma for dummies)

What is karma? Every action you do, like me writing at this very moment, has a consequence, an effect, in this life or the next. Everything is a matter of cycle. Basically if you do a good action with a good intention, you will sow positive fruits. However if you do a bad action with a bad intention, careful with the backlash! And there is no way to escape... It’s a bit like fatality: it’s inevitable and it looks like an occult force which would determine the events. Nevertheless it doesn’t make the individual less responsible: he is his own master, and everything depends on him, on his intentions and his choice... If your life is full of shit, too bad, there is no much you can do about it, you are carrying bad karma; however you can keep doing good things for the future effects! Just see what Sogyal Rinpoche writes in Glimpse by glimpse:

india,karma,buddhism,religion,destiny,fatality,diwali,noise,crackers,sikkim,rumtek monastery,monk

And to illustrate... One day I did something wrong. What I don't know but as a result, I got a cracker exploding right next to my ear and it was so deafening that I thought it would lose hearing. It was my first Diwali in Mumbai, in 2009. Following this unfortunate incident, I swore I would never spend another Diwali in this city, already noisy in a normal time, and which turns crazy during this festival of lights; they burst crackers (and not small ones, day and night). So this year I went to Sikkim. A very small State, in the North of India, Buddhist like I like it. With mountains, lakes and monasteries. Peaceful. Quiet. I was there, on top of a hill, in the backside of Rumtek monastery, next to the monks’ playground, when, while I was enjoying the view, a young monky... bursted a cracker just next to me, blowing my ear. Karma suffers no exception... I just have to live with it: I am meant to have my ears suffering during Diwali!

By the way, at the time of writing these lines, I hear a valse of crackers. Apparently they are celebrating basilic (Tulsi) - go figure - and preparing for the birthday of the guru of the Sikhs. It's  like another Diwali, which I have never experienced. If this is not the proof of karma what would be? One cracker for each slap I gave my younger brother, I am not close to the end of it!!

india,karma,buddhism,religion,destiny,fatality,diwali,noise,crackers,sikkim,rumtek monastery,monk

The prankster monks of Rumtek monastery, Sikkim