Have been reading R.K. Laxman's Idle Hours. Excerpts-
Holiday in The Islands
There are 350 odd islands in this area. Their very names are fascinating to hear: they have a ring of romance and mystery about them, as if the names had been given to them by a fiction writer of a very popular variety: The Labyrinth, Snake, Theresa, Sir Hugh Ross, Harriet, etc. Mercifully they are still out of the reach of our name-changers over here. But for how long? I wonder. Already there is a move to name these islands after one of the ubiquitous freedom-fighters.
Not much has changed in the 20 odd years since this was written, eh?
After a long wait I ask the Inspector, 'Have you ever seen a Jarva here?' dropping my voice apparently low in deference to the general atmosphere.
They attacked this outpost only last month. They came up to the edge of the ladder here. Our men here fired and they took to their heels.'
'Did you kill any?' I ask.
He looks at me in horror. 'Certainly not! We have strict orders not to shoot to kill or hurt, but only to scare them away.'
My attention is diverted suddenly. I see some movement far away. At once we turn our binoculars and stare till our eyes pop-out. It is some time before we discover it is only a spotted deer teaching its young one the trick of vaulting over a bush. It is time for us to return. And not one Jarva seen.
Substitute Jarva with say, tiger. Or lion, or any other wild animal you can think of.
Impressions of Kathmandu
Foreign tourists are flocking into the antique shops. I hear an European lady ask one of the shopkeepers, 'This is Buddha. Yes?' I look at he foot-high bronze image she is pointing to in the showcase. It is the goddess Tara sitting in the classical pose on a lotus, stripped to the waist.
'Do you like Nepal?' asks one of my countrymen.
'Yes very much.' I reply.
'Been to casinoes and night clubs?'
'No, I have no time for them.'
'No time? Then what do you do in a place like this?'
Has to be a Punjabi, what?
Idle Hours in the USA
He (a hippie) further declared that if an electric iron or a blender or any electric appliance went out of order he never threw it away; he repaired it himself and used it again. Finally he said, 'Even my car I haven't changed even though it is nearly five years old...' and proudly thumped his chest; the bells jingled and the glass beads tinkled. I sat dumbfounded and amazed at the effort one has to put in in that country to remain poor!
... If the hippie I met in the park did not watch out, prosperity would sweep him off and he would end up as the vice-president of some industry or other and live for ever suffering from affluence.
I was astonished at this young boy's sense of duty and helpful nature. I expressed my admiration and complimented the father. My friend laughed and said, 'Sure Jim is helpful; but he is paid to do all this around the house, like tonight. He is a smart guy, though! He has made such a lot of money he has invested it all in stocks! If I don't watch out maybe he will buy up my company one day!'