Pic’n’Post n° 14

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What is the picture of?

A little experiment today – rather than finding where it was taken, the challenge is to guess what it is. I can’t tell whether this is easy or difficult – I will find out thanks to your answers!

Many thanks to all participants in last week’s challenge, namely Thumbup at Live Love Laugh, our resident champion, Quilt MusingsCharlie at Untitled, Unfinished and Matt from thebookblogger. And Matt it was who spotted the combination of French and Indian, which meant it was taken in Pondicherry (renamed now as Puducherry) in the Tamil Nadu region of south-east India. After the French and British clashed several times in India in the 18th Century, Pondicherry was the only territory the French retained, not transferring it fully to India until 1962. In many ways it still has a French feel to it, not least through the street signs, the presence of a French lycée and a French-style old colonial district.

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Congratulations, Matt!

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Thanks to all participants. Keep the guesses coming – depending on the responses to this week’s picture, the inclusion of objects as well as places could become a regular feature of Pic’n’Post – let me know what you think. Happy guessing!

Swat That Song!

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The benefits of meditation being well known, and we being in India, what better opportunity to partake? So we hopped on our scooters and after getting a little lost, arrived at the guesthouse where a session was being held from 9 to 12, novices welcome, under the guidance of a Frenchman, Pierre. I thought Pierre would give us a brief tutorial, Meditation for Dummies sort of thing, but he said there was nothing to know. He placed a flower on the floor and about a dozen of us arranged ourselves on small cushions in a circle, cross legged.

Ten minutes in, Mrs. B. had a coughing fit, which she bravely tried to control, but it got the better of her and she left. 14 minutes in, I developed pins and needles. Then my legs went completely numb. Afraid they might drop off altogether, I stretched them out. This was actually OK – you’re allowed to prevent your legs dropping off. In fact, at one point or another, most of the other participants did the same, even Pierre. I know this because I was peeking out from the corner of my eye. Peeking isn’t so good, though, nor is wondering what the others are up to, so I went back to looking at the flower.

23 minutes in, I took a peek at my watch. I should have taken it off before we started. Pierre said we’d have a break at ten. 37 minutes to go. It would be good not to peek at my watch between now and then. It would be good not to think all the time, “I mustn’t peek at my watch.” I stopped thinking about my watch and thought instead about my back. I was slumping. It would actually be quite nice to lie down. I sat up straight. My mind, for a while, was empty of thought. Then it filled up again, not with thought but a song. Specifically, for some reason, a really old hit by the Hollies. I can’t make it if you leave me, I’m sorry Suza-a-anne, believe me… I swatted the song away but it kept coming back like a Top of the Pops mosquito buzzing around in my brain. It could have been worse, I suppose. It could have been Boney M. After about 15 encores the Hollies finally accepted to leave the stage and my mind went blank again. The flower was very pretty.

“Ten o’ clock,” said Pierre. “Time for a break.” I went outside, where Mrs. B. was sitting next to a fountain. She looked very peaceful. “It’s lovely out here,” she said. I thanked Pierre and we got on our scooters and returned to the tumult that was India.

Children are Children, aren’t they? #IndiawithPakistan

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Children from the Hunza Valley, north Pakistan.

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Indian boy, Chennai

This reblog Wednesday post is Damyanti’s discussion of children in India and Pakistan, following the massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar last December. Because as an Indian, her condemnation and compassion are all the more noteworthy; because one thing follows another and barely have we heard about an atrocity than we forget it; because I have been to both countries, seen the children she talks about, and been enriched by their smiles.