Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kerala State of Mind and Earl Ferrer's Book "Whatever Next?"

I wrote in these very columsn about the "Kerala State of Mind." My speech has definitely been affected by the Kerala accent, a bit like the brogue and it will take a few days to get out of the state of mind and the brogue. I call it the Kerala brogue. Most Keralites suffer from it to varying degrees. I don't feel apologetic about it, neither do I feel it as any kind of drawback. A bit of teasing is there, of course.

Leave alone the Brogue, there's another affectation of Malayalis that I must mention here. It's the staring, open-mouthed look. You encounter it everywhere. In bus stations, in train stations, airports, junctions and side streets. Here the streets are so narrow that a driver has to be careful not to dash against a gate or a boundary wall. The look is on most faces everywhere you go. "There's no polish in speech or behaviour" says a relative. As I write this a drunk is shouting obscenities in the middle of the road in front of ours. The impression created is one of being thrown into a modern society of connectivity and consumerism without being prepared for it. Malayalis have discovered the world but not their own homeland. 

Today I went to book a train ticket with a relative. Thank God for the trains. Otherwise, this country would have been a big mess. I am not saying trains are perfect, but compare them with the pathetic state of the bus stations and the bus services. Yes, the Brits gave us trains and the unique systems that maintain them. Imagine the trains if they were run like the state transport buses. Imagine the confusion, the running to catch buses parked in remote parts of a bus depot. The despotic and despondent bus drivers and conductors. I came away disappointed my mission unaccomplished. Therefore I am taking a flight back, flights are much better organised though they are expensive.

Hm. Happenstance the annual holiday, planned three months in advance has been a nightmare much more or less than that of a runaway train. Nothing goes according to plan. Read the ticket fiasco I went through in a post below.

Hmph. Here's an account by Jeffrey Archer about the launch of Earl Ferrer's autobiography "Whatever Next?" Earl Ferrer was an heriditary peer (In Britain part of House of Lords is hereditary in nature, here it has been made hereditary. A major difference.) in the House of Lords during which he was minister under 4 prime ministers including Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

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