Thus Quality

Writing about Brick Lane, in Ooty

December 25, 2011

James Joyce wrote Ulysses in Paris, Trieste and Zurich: that’s where he went wrong. Thus has relocated to Ooty, Tamil Nadu, 8500 feet up in the Western Ghats to write the definitive work on robot shops, the tribes of Bethnal Green and anything else that fills up the page. In the spirit of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance I briefly acquired a large yellow motorbike, but the combination of 270 degree hairpin bends, cows, goats, trucks, buses and the truly Zen nature of road etiquette out here led me to return the hog almost before I got the stabilisers off. I gave as good as I got, scattering tribesmen as I careered round the mountains only barely in control of my Apache and my bowels, but decided that little old men on motorbikes after an excited group of industrial tourists Utar Pradesh requested permission to take it in turns to be photographed with the ‘old hippy.’

So now I’m a hermit recluse, writing down the bones from my damp fastness up here, 1000 meters (3000 feet) higher than Katmandu, in the town where Colonel Snooker (who else?) invented snooker. I have inherited a cook called Shankar – obviously not Ravi – who serves lunch, tea and popcorn (?) in the afternoon and cooks an evening meal before sloping off around 3 pm to get ratarsed. The altitude sickness soon subsides, the monkeys are not dangerous. Apart from a startling encounter with a gang of shemales, dressed in immaculate saris but with telltale big hands and chiselled jaws, I have been unmolested by beggars. It’s too high up and cold for malarial mosquitoes. The plusses simply pile up.

Now all I need to do is write this book, which may or may not be about robots.