Books Nooks & Crooks
The freshly repainted synagogue at Kala Ghorha.
We did that most quintessential of Indian things yesterday morning as a family, we went for coffee to Starbucks at the Taj Hotel in Colaba. Mira had just finished the bulk of her 10th standard papers a day ago, only two economics papers left, and Tarini's are not due to start for another week.
It's hot in Bombay, 36° on average. The wait is on for the monsoons to start, a season Tarini and I at least are enthusiastic about. We look expectantly at the increasing cloud cover over the city. By the 10th of June, or thereabouts, all hell will break lose. City officials are having drains and rivers cleaned out in preparation.
It seems as if there are more people living on the streets. Maharashtra has been going through a severe drought and people have moving to the cities in search of food, if not shelter. Children carry children, women carry babies and sometimes we give them food instead of money. While driving home from work a few days ago I saw two boys, 8 or 9 years old, sitting on the road divider outside CST, roaring with laughter as they told each other a yarn, on a self imposed break from begging.
We went book shopping after lunch today. Kumud calls my buying books the definition of optimism, as I perennially run behind in terms of getting through the family library. Kitab Khana at Flora Fountain is probably our favourite book store. Yesterday's purchases include Our Lady of Alice Bhatti, by Mohammed Hanif, The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides and John Le Carré's latest. Did NOT buy Wendy Doniger's latest On Hinduism. Still struggling with her previous page turner An Alternative History of Hinduism. I saw On Hinduism lying on a pile of books at Kitab Khana, picked it up and showed it to Tarini, who was just walking past, and she rolled her eyes (don't who she gets that from by the way) and said "Dad, don't even start".
Came home and baked a banana bread with Mira. Turning into a very competent but opinionated (don't know who she gets that from by the way) co - cook.
The Mumbai Indians beat the Chennai Super Kings in the 2013 final last night. Photo courtesy of PTI
In India each week's scandal outdoes the previous week's. This week's though is fairly big, even by Indian standards, a whopper. Three players from the Rajasthan Royals were arrested by Delhi Police, in Mumbai, accused of throwing games. The interrogations by Delhi Police, safely back in Delhi, led to the arrest of bookies with links to Bollywood and Dubai based gangsters.
Mumbai Police, feeling emasculated by the arrest of the cricket players on their turf, began their investigation and raised suspicions about the son - in law of the owner of the Chennai Super Kings, who is also the owner of India Cement and, in a slight conflict of interest, the chairman of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), with 'control' being the operative word. The police summoned the son in law to Mumbai for queries and after three hours promptly remanded him in custody for four days. He is now accused of betting on the outcome of games and of passing information about the team to bookies.
The son - in law has been disowned by the father - in law and his name removed overnight from all social networking sites and websites linked to the team.
One of the umpires, a Mr. Rauf from Pakistan, hastily fled back to Pakistan after he was named as having been involved with the bookies, in return for introductions to Bollywood starlets.
"Save cricket! It is our religion!" shout people with placards in hand. "It is no such thing", retort wise columnists. "It has become an idiot game in a format designed to attract money, bookies and bimbos."
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Btw, the banner photo was taken from our holiday home outside of San Gimignano at 6.20 am. What light! It lasted all of five minutes.