A wave of democracy is sweeping through our otherwise unkempt housing society. A letter states that "We have received requests from several members to permit Joint Members to be present in the Annual General Body Meeting...". The request is being considered in the "best interest of transparency and openness and to uphold the spirit of Democracy" (democracy with a capital 'D'). That said, "non - members will have to sit in a separate designated area and will not be permitted to participate in the meeting". Listening breathlessly to the inner workings of Democracy in the General Body Meeting is presumably reward enough.
What must life life be like for maids and drivers through much of India and Asia? Good enough to carry the precocious infants of their employers to and from tony clubs but asked to sit in separate designated areas? Clubs and restaurants in South and South East Asia brazenly ask employers to help ensure that their maids do not venture outside of designated areas so as not to cause 'inconvenience' to other guests.
Violence against people from lower castes in India is on the rise. Two months ago four members of a community that traditionally skins dead cows were beaten up in the State of Gujarat by members of an upper caste community on suspicion that they had in fact killed the cow. In protest the community as a whole decided to stop skinning and removing the carcasses of dead cows altogether. The Times of India today carried a report that a man and his pregnant wife of the same community were beaten up for refusing to skin the carcass of a dead cow. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Maybe years from now India might get round to its version of Twelve Years a Slave, but what until then? What do the cavorting and consuming rest of us do to prevent such violence? The villages of Gujarat or Uttar Pradesh or Bihar are farther removed from the streets of South Bombay than are the streets of Amsterdam, New York or Chicago, at least mentally.
A affluent Dutch friend of mine, borrowing a phrase that his Protestant father used to use, speaks of his wish to now work on "leaving behind a scratch on the surface of this planet". What measurable and impactful scratch will we leave behind?
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.