one selfie please

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‘one selfie please?’ invariably accompanied by a broad grin… I beam back in my most robust Brian blessed tones ‘YES Of COURSE’, then more softly add the coda ‘can I take one too’… arms are extended and we jostle within range of the fish eyed lens, this most modern of fandangos, and I do my upmost to look less wrinkly than reality. Indians love selfies, I love selfies, truly it is a match made in heaven. here’s but a few from my collection (was gonna include one of lakshmi¬†the pondy ganesha temple ollifant, but didn’t come out in the collage)
For obvious cultural reasons, its almost invariably a youngish man, or a group of lads out together, usually middle class affluent, with enough English to ask for name and good country, often conversation spirals off into cricket ‘Ben Stokes’… tho in chennai there was a pastor, slicked down, tamed bouffant, white shirt, white trousers and, impressively, white shoes!
Smart phone magic has come to India, the hugest change since 10 years ago… of course it has its uses… making travelling so much easier… I love most the way every tourist place you go there’s a gaggle of youth posed in silhouette against some scenic backdrop, concocting a social media portolio.
… and as I’m clearly in a wafflesome mood…
my fave so far was sitting in the bus footwell, legs dangled over the edge, out of chinglepat… whereas the beachfront in pondy is how modern India wants to see itself, a throng of prosperous middle class families out guzzling both ice creams and samosas, life as a promenade… the truth is the chennai wealth has only spilled over so far… off the obvious track chinglepat is the norm, dusty, glut crowded with people, India, eternal, the same as ever… Chai, Rickshaws, Family, Temples
anyway my travel companion and I bought each other sweet milky coffees… I thought his name was Dougal… but now suspect he was travelling to din-dugal… he spoke almost no english… yet brandishing phone showed me some pictures from his life… his beautiful waif thin wife in a colourful sari… and… mostly… pictures of machines… big industrial machines… he was a mechanic and proud of it… if there ever was a Tamil Nadu equivalent of Bruce Springsteen, his songs would be for and about Dougal!

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