Imagine this in a brasserie in Paris:
I saw this sign in one of the very few cafes I found during my time in India. This was place in Pune. I wouldn't really say it was a cafe, however, as most people seemed to be drinking glasses of hot water (honestly!) or sipping tea (I think) from saucers. I didn't see anyone reading. As for the discussing gambling...
Reading back over the past three entries, it seems that I am obsessed by traffic. I travel thousands of miles to a foreign country which is completely unlike any place I have ever visited before and all I can talk about is the roads!
A natural reaction, I suppose, as one spends a lot of time on the roads. However, there is more to be said about India than just the perilous nature of their roads or the reckless nature of their rickshaw drivers. When gazing out across the acres and acres of shanty towns superposed on tower blocks and shopping malls, one does ask: how do people actually accept all this? No violent revolution here? To some extent, it seems that people must accept their position, perhaps because it is willed by Someone Else.
And the cave-temples of Ajanta and Ellora? Well I spent two days visiting many of them -- most of them constructed more than a thousand years ago, hewn into the rock. The temple at Allora is the largest monolithic structure in the world, so we are told. They drilled into the rocks, and kept going until they had made an entire temple. Here's a picture of the entrance to the temple. Inside, it looks like this. The work of centuries of dedicated people, just like in Chartres or St. Denis.
The land around these temples is arid and dry. Even at the end of February by mid-day the temperature mounts uncomfortably high. I have to admit, whilst climbing the precipitous slopes of an ancient citadel near Allora, I wished, for a fraction of an instant, for the soft rains of Ireland. But only for an instant. (There, that is my St. Patrick's day thought).
Well, enough. Now I am going to go and occupy some tables unnecessarily.
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