One God, Many Gods or No God # Worship Respect and Tolerence.

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There has been, recently, so much utter rubbish written, nationalistic bravado, hatred too. Understandable but is it fever whipped up by media bandwagon-jumping or real views being expressed, coherently and intelligently? In the first case, most probably, in the second, absolutely not. When someone commits a ghastly and heartless crime in the name of a god, blaming everyone but their own intolerance and twisted ideals, it is shocking for witnesses, yes, very sad for the victim’s family, yes, and anger inducing for the populace, yes, but is it a religious crime or a terrorist act? Perhaps yes or maybe not. There are numerous acts, violence and murders carried out by people, later or already diagnosed as schizophrenic and the like, who shout Jesus’ name before, during and after their violent ‘episode. Does this make it a religious crime or a Christian terrorist act? Absolutely not and it is never treated or reported as such. However the moment someone commits any misdeed, whether it be a small act or a massive act of carnage, and mention one certain god’s name it seems the media, the police, the politicians and the population immediately make their collective minds up it is an organised and coordinated terrorist act, part of a global conspiracy by the religion or by higher authorities blaming the said religion.

Politics, usually left wing, were once at the centre of blame in the 1950’s and 60’s,  then right wing in the 70’s and 80’s or an alternating, shock and fear the extremism, of both. Now it is religion, the extreme of which is to be feared and combatted wherever it rears its ugly head or heads. Faith and persuasion, on one side, oil and capitalism on the other. Persecution verses freedom, veils versus headscarves, two sides of the same coin each trying to out do each other or not responsible at all for anything in the slightest, depending on which day it is and which press release is received first. Extremes of one blame extremes of the other.

Surely it is individuals on all sides who are to blame, for it is those who carry out and carry on the behaviour and heinous acts which perpetuate the phoney war and wars, not scapegoat and convenient ‘organisations’. Individuals who call for death penalties, ‘sending home’s,  standing up for ones nation (whatever that means) and the ‘like this if you feel blah blah if you don’t then you must be one of them’ on Facebook,  all just perpetuate the hate and intolerance on all sides and do little but give more excuses to be even more extreme, with the resulting justifications.

It is individual choices which determine the outcomes of all conflict, which determine tolerance and understanding and which determine the course of the future. The speeches and rhetoric bandied about now mimic, with chilling similarity, those tolerated in Europe in the 1920’s and 30’s against a different culture and religion. If anyone thinks this is not true then they don’t know history well enough. It is the same words used by politicians in nationalistic speeches and the same words used in bars and on factory floors in today’s world as those used nearly a century ago. Petrol bombs are being thrown through temple doors today just as they were then, bricks are going through windows now just the same as they were then. Yet it seems it is the same people who are perpetuating intolerance and calling for nationalistic pride and fervour that also shout loudly of their pride in grandfathers who fought against the very same intolerance and nationalism.

Imagine being welcomed in to the small slum-home, containing the many icons in the picture, every morning, not asked what or who you believe in or if you believe in anything at all, not asked what your politics are, not coerced in to a rite or blessing. Accepted, tolerated and respected as an individual, welcomed without question, without prejudice, without expectation. The result is equal and unambiguous return of the same acceptance and respect and tolerance by all who enter, a warmth and exchange of friendship, a mutual trust and equality, in a word – peace.

Some thoughts, some views, some ideas. Not necessary the truth or the answer but some thoughts. Agreement isn’t demanded nor needed but respect of another’s viewpoint, hoped for.

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Every Number Above Blood Temperature is Just Another Number

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A heat wave climb above the blood temperature of 37° is all the same. 40° feels the same as 44° feels the same as 46°. Just ‘insert expletive’ sweat drenching, energy sapping, dehydration inducing HOT!

Hiding indoors, under fans, in the flow of the cooler becomes cabin feveresque. The yearn for outside, ‘fresh’ air, builds and torments through the day, finally two hours before sunset, 4.30pm, the cork finally blows. The need overflows, the pressure releases and the door is vented as stridently the legs venture forth hitting the wall of stifle, a sci-fi force field in the now omniverse, the stifleverse, a solid environcement. Luke would feel the force approaching the Deathstar Sun, the Star Trek Enterprise bridge would lurch as it hit , throwing its crew into shapes not dissimilar from those bodies sat in plastic chairs in the shade of trees, lounged like accidents in off-duty rickshaws or under the makeshift tarps of street sellers.

The cooler, away from tarmac and concrete, Hemkunt Park beckons, a short, nonetheless, sweat wrangling walk. Searching out a bench in the shade not already draped with a snoozing figure though every seat has been super-heated to skin searing radiance. Incredible flora distracts, trees seemingly in constant blooms of pin-bright yellows, deep scarlets and suave purples, great bushes of pinks in a mirage-haze of rainbow butterflies.  Every flora a parliament perch of ceaselessly chattering palm squirrels loudly debating with fluorescent green, bickering parrots called to order by wise, old, iridescent black rooks, nervous attendants of grey-suited pigeons mingle in the background while whips of snide, little minor birds poke about in tight-black adorned with white wigs , the whispering advisors conspiring behind.

Thick snakes of water pipes slither through the parched and patchy grass with its rush hour of hurrying juggernaut ants carrying their loads to great underground depots. Python pipes morph into cobras contorting their S-necks to rise up, mouths agape, protecting their sodden, softened territory. Instead of fearful bite or venomous spray, an offer of sprinkler relief to dodge and dance under, inviting and welcoming into each circle of reach, glistening droplets arching through sun rays, a million prismatic liquid gems, priceless jewels in the unrelenting heat. Central earth squishes beneath feet, full of life-giving moisture. On the periphery, skyfall streams upon hard-packed, hydrophobic earth leaving darkened clouding, shrinking in the glare and oven-air, baked out to pale soil again within seconds, to await a next swish of spray. Here the flaccid, thirsty grass is never slaked, the poor cousin to the richly green, central thicket standing proud, curving arrogantly, noses aloft and backs turned towards the needy relatives.
Even the grass mimics human society in heat-wave Delhi.

The Leveller.

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Enveloping, oozing its way around the city, heat spreads its way past 40° and floods the 42° level marker, the peak surge levelling off amongst the shade. Pigs favourite wallowing holes dry up under the pressure of the sear and cutting sun, they bad-temperedly argue and snap over the diminishing patch of cooling and protecting, stinking and rotten, black, effluent-ridden mud. Their chosen litter-strewn patch of slop, yards from a school for slum children, across from the little tin shacks called homes, shoehorned between factories, whose uncaring strive for profit give little thought for their badly kept, broken sewage pipes spewing its discharge into the street. A treat for pigs, the cess patch becomes an excuse for slum-dwelling litter pickers to dump their discard, squat-noses normally shovelling and flipping the rubbish now only part the mud for respite, dark and slimy, factor 100 sun-block.

In a district nearby, affluence oozes around in new cars, large houses squat in the heat, wallowing in air, cooled by evaporating-water cooling systems. Black, plastic, thousand-litre water tanks sit atop each home, filled twice daily as the water system delivers its hour-long allowance of water, when local pumping stations turn on their allotted time. With the heat striving for more and more purchase, super-heating rock, brick, concrete and tarmac, shade becomes sanctuary only for hotter winds to blast through. Respite found inside well-healed homes, coolers running, showers flowing, fridges full of water bottles.

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Only this time the promised allotment of water comes as a trickle, the pumping station, barely looking like it could maintain the job anyway, can do little with the meagre flow it is given. Water pressure at a minimum, tanks barely rise in levels before it is switched off again. No matter, the water will come later…oh well, the water will come tomorrow…hey, it will be fine, it should come later…oh dear, it must come tomorrow…god, I hope it comes later. Four days go by with no more than the trickle, tanks empty, taps dry up, showers become a bucket of saved water, coolers’ pumps overheat and break from pumping air not the cooling water, toilets not flushing become an olfactory avoidance. Then with relief the surge comes, tanks fill to warning-bleep levels and once again all is fine, life carries on as before.

The great leveller, the common thread whose waft is woven through rich, poor, human, animal, all bow down to the aqua-god, Water.

Right Royal Enfield Education

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Take six teenagers, slum-dwellers in every sense, one charity school in the slums and one motorcycle tour company in an industrial area housing the slums. Mix together in a hot and dusty terrine, add mechanics with insight and willing, season with masala of mixed spices of India and herbs of Europe. Simmer gently until reduced to an even and gelled sauce. Sprinkle with a sustainable liquor of choice and opportunity. Stand back as the flambé ignites with flames of passion. Serve with relish on a bed of good will. Consume and enjoy the warm after-glow while digesting the success.

The slow, deep thud, a single cylinder, chug, chug, chugging, sparking memories of photographs, an uncle sat astride a relic Norton with his beautiful bride, pre-war bliss, innocence and smiles.Roy and Dot on a Norton small

The memory chugger the once British, state empowered, Royal Enfield, a symbol of colonial dispatch, shipped to the sub-continent, now Indian and shipping back to poor old Blighty to slake the thirst for, once common, chest-pounding thump of large bore, long stroke engine. The workshop of Vintage Rides, echoing to the thrug thrug pounding amid excited laughter of teenagers allowed to start a glorious, white, custom machine. A company generous to teach mechanics to the poorest and needy students of the Project Why school nearby. Normally ambivalent workers, here found to be earnestly and enjoyably instructing an enthralled and enthusiastic group of youngsters, captivated by the inner workings of the 500cc powerful engine. Stand back, take in the smile inducing scene, forgive a moment of pride in a small part taken to produce this tableaux. Allow a brief, heart-warming to flow through for the beginnings of a success, hopeful of becoming a change to a life otherwise destined for rubbish sorting or sweat-shop factory, forever trapped in a slum, perhaps now a chance to escape.

The work done, time to leave them to it, no need of an intrusive overlooker. The thrilling offer of a lift on the back of a works Royal Enfield Bullet, to surge through the hectic and chaotic traffic of Delhi, to feel the heavy and resonant thrust beneath the seat. Not to be turned down, feeling like one of the teenagers just left, off down the bumpy, barely kept, crowded lanes, dodging people, cycle, rickshaw, tuk-tuk, car and truck. Relax into the cissy seat and enjoy the ride, its been a good morning…two minutes later…shattered. Lurching to abrupt halt, car a few feet in front…something’s wrong, screaming and crying.  Is that the car tyre shredded? No! It’s a shoe? Someone blocking the view squats down then stands with a 7 or 8-year-old in his arms, the owner of the shoe now revealed with blood pouring from a leg, bare foot wrongly shaped, face erupting with fear and cries, teeth through blooded lip. This pillion passenger lets an exclaim involuntarily escape, a thought of helping forges apart the shock, before decision sorts itself a crowd envelops the boy and he disappears, his screams diluted by shouts. The once magical bike is forgotten as the pilot steers around, away, scene left behind. Glad for the cover of full-face helmet and dark glasses as emotion forces its way out the eyes. Optimism is grasped for sobriety. Hope says it is just a broken leg and he will be looked after. Hope his family are able to afford the medical bill so the poor boy suffers not much. Not the perfect day end as earlier thought but a jolt back to reality of  those who, am supposed to be helping, live every day in the slums, why helping them learn a trade to break out of the slums within the dangerous industrial area, unsafe just to walk home from school. More reason for more effort to make a small difference. Thoughts only of a bloodied and scared boy, should be protected. Hope he is cared for and all right.