Movers & Shakers

There must be few things in life more mortifying than the sight of 7 strangers rummaging through all your worldly possessions.

In my university days, when I was much more idealistic (aren’t we all?), I was adamant that I would not be one of those people encumbered with enormous numbers of “things”. How times have changed.

It is not simply the suppressed bemused, and often mystified, looks of our movers (the most quizzical stares were reserved for the egg cups with matching knitted cosies) that have shamed me most, but the realisation that our ridiculous number of possessions are powers of ten more than almost any Indian could claim to own.

I only have to look down from my window to see the families of rag-pickers on the corner who live in abject poverty on the pavement.

But, as I write, one of the moving boys has set up a side business in sharpening the penknives and cutting blades of his fellow movers, using Mr B’s beloved whetstone. Proof, yet again, of both the creativity in problem-solving that characterises this country, and also the instinctive sharing of possessions. That generosity of spirit has been demonstrated repeatedly throughout our time here.

Don’t get me wrong, it is often taken to the other extreme. Like the time Mr B’s colleague Y answered the door to the ironing man, only to find him happily wearing one of Y’s own shirts that had been sent down for pressing the previous day.

How I’ll miss the crazy anarchy of this place!

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