sometimes he did this, sometimes he did that

I have to memorise a poem for my pedagogy course next week, and when I was thinking of which one to choose (cannot be a children’s poem, and had to be more than 10 lines), I couldn’t think of any better than this sonnet by Simon Armitage, not a children’s poem, obviously more than 10 lines, and most importantly easy to memorise! And I couldn’t help sharing it here:


And if it snowed and snow covered the drive
he took a spade and tossed it to one side.
And always tucked his daughter up at night.
And slippered her the one time that she lied.

And every week he tipped up half his wage.
And what he didn’t spend each week he saved.
And praised his wife for every meal she made.
And once, for laughing, punched her in the face.

And for his mum he hired a private nurse.
And every Sunday taxied her to church.
And he blubbed when she went from bad to worse.
And twice he lifted ten quid from her purse.

Here’s how they rated him when they looked back:
sometimes he did this, sometimes he did that.

From Simon Armitage’s poetry collection Kid (1992)


"Secret Tibet" by Fosco Maraini

New theme on my blog is now making me look very lazy. For, the dateline says “Posted … days/weeks/months ago” instead of just showing the date posted. I mean it doesn’t let others do the maths, which I’m sure most of us won’t. I don’t necessarily look at the date when reading blog posts from some of my favourite blogs. Although, due to RSS subscription I normally catch them within a few hours of posting. Anyway, I’m off the track here, so let me come back on track.

I finished reading this book – Secret Tibet by Fosco Maraini (Translated in English by Eric Mosbacher and Guido Waldman) on 27 January, and have given a taster of the book here, while I was still in my early days of reading this book. I have been meaning to write about it for a while (my usual line it has become now!) and finally on a cold morning in York, I have taken time off writing about biodiesel to write about Secret Tibet, which is definitely much more fun, as well as challenging. I have placed so many bookmarks on this book – on pages, paragraphs and pictures that have caught my eyes, thinking they would be good to quote while writing about the book later on (i.e., now). Since there are just too many of nice, strange, interesting things to read about in this book, I will just say that it is one of the must read books for those interested in Tibet, especially for an on-the-ground account of Tibet, its culture, tradition and its people before the Chinese invasion. The book is a travelogue but at the same time much more than that. It gives you a sense of reading a history book, but from the ground up. We all are used to reading the “victor’s history”, but this book is altogether different. It tells the story of ordinary Tibetans, as seen by an Italian anthropologist (and photographer) during his trips in 1937 and 1948. The book was first published in 1951 and has been updated with new facts (and additional commentaries) in the 1998 edition.
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The Last Mughal (of Delhi)

हर एक बात पे कहते हो तुम के “तु क्या है”?
तुम्हीं कहो के ये अन्दाज‍-ए-गुफ्तगू क्या है?
रगों मे दौडते फिरने के हम नहीं कायल
जब आँख ही से न टप्का तो फिर लहू क्या है?
- Mirza Ghalib

I wanted to start this post quoting something from the book itself, but since Ghalib features in the book so often and I love his ghazals, I thought why not with a couple of his couplets!?! And also would like to mention that as always I have been meaning to write about this book (not as a review but as my experience reading it!) for nearly a month now – I finished this book on 2nd January! Now that I have got around writing about it, hope its not too stale. As I’m typing these lines, I feel like I’m scavenging my mind of stale thoughts, hence the concern!
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Nepal, the Japan of India!

Currently I am reading this book – Secret Tibet by Fosco Maraini. The book was originally published in 1951, and I am reading the revised 1998 edition, translated from Italian by Eric Mosbacher and Guido Waldman. I must say the translation is pretty good, for it does not feel I am reading a translated book when I read this one, which often spoils the pleasure with so many of the translated works. Anyway, I was thinking of writing about it once I finished the book but for the following passages. After I read these I couldn’t help but share it with my readers, most of whom I suspect are Nepalese! In the following paragraphs, the author describes the inhabitant of the then Kingdom of Sikkim, who I suppose still constitute the inhabitants of Sikkim today, but the Kingdom is no more. I just liked the way the author describes/contrasts three different groups inhabiting Sikkim at that time – the Lepchas, the Tibetans and the Nepalese.
Continue reading Nepal, the Japan of India!