Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Last words

My time here is drawing to an end. My replacement is an American from Pittsburg and is accompanied by his wife based in the same office but as a communications expert. We spend my last four days here together providing enough time for me to hand over my work and ease them into what initially is an alien environment. I have worked in various places, countries and worked in small and giant corporations. Never before have I had the opportunity to conduct a handover. Normally, I leave, the new person starts sometime later and for a few months they can bask in the glory of blaming it all onto me.

The downside is that they are taking over my flat which means I have to at least make a token effort of cleaning the slum up. Sorry, did I say slum, I really meant lower floor penthouse with all mod cons except hot water, roaches the size of large cats, dogs howling day and night, cows doing their business right where you step outside Fort Knox (good job the flip flops are plastic and scrub up really well after a night soaking in acid) and all the other comforts of modern day living. Reminder to self, really must find a good nail brush to remove the cow stuff from my toenails. On the other hand the dogs will miss a meal so don’t bother, they will lick it off.

I depart Koraput for Delhi on Saturday, starting with a four hour taxi ride to the nearest railway station where I can catch a train that will guarantee me reaching Bubanashwar in time for my connecting train to Delhi. Eight hours to Bubanashwar, a seven and a half hour wait for the Delhi train and then a minimum 36 hour ride to Delhi, assuming no time is lost on the 1500 mile journey. Dump my bags in the Delhi office and immediately set off for Faridabad, on the outskirts of the city, where I attend a two day conference, just to fill in my unexciting days before I catch the flight on Saturday to London. Unfortunately I still have two days to fill before that flight so I am considering paying a flying visit to Agra to look at the Taj Mahal. By then my ancient bones will be protesting loudly I feel, but the upside is that it will guarantee being able to sleep on the red eye to London. Hopefully three generations will be there to pick up my creaking shell of a human being. Nearest and dearest, our youngest daughter and her son. Being Sunday morning there shouldn’t be much traffic and the final leg under two hours to home. A brief stay over Christmas and then off to Aussie and New Zealand for a few months to visit family and friends. By the time we return I will officially be an OLD AGE PENSIONER. So anyone out there thinking they are too old to do something, consider the above paragraph. For companies that are looking for crafty ways to get rid that old dodderer think again. There is life in the old dog yet. Or in this one anyway.

As always, I have met, socialised, and worked with, some good people. Most are sincere in their wish to do whatever it is that they do to the best of their abilities. Also, as always, there are the hangers on who are on a personal ego trip. I first visited India in the mid sixties. Nuclear power was restricted to a few nations, mobile phones existed in the form of bricks that required handcarts to make them mobile and my first computer occupied the space a family of six could comfortable live in, complete with double garage and swimming pool. India today has more mobiles than any other country in the world and is on the verge of being able to put a man in space. But, power fails depressingly often, women still pump and carry water by hand, children die from malnutrition, it is home to some of the world’s richest men. Nothing has changed since the 60’s. Priorities!

Before I wrap up I must mention the banana lady. You know who you are. Thanks for all the free meals during my short stay (the beer was also very welcome) but being in the centre of a small civil war whilst the street vendors fought over your banana custom is to be regretted. Thanks, good luck and enjoy the rest of your penance in Koraput. I’m sure that whatever your sins are that placed you here are long since forgiven. (Not sure about the banana sellers, one of then looked daggers at you the last time you bought some).

Three years ago I started this series of unimportant and often pointless ramblings. I think I have maintained my original policy statement of no opinions (see above), no rude words (**** to that), no rants (see above). I sign off, have no intention of repeating myself (on pain of nasty things happening to me as my nearest and dearest will tell you) so goodbye, good luck, and be careful out there. It is a dangerous world. Or so they tell me.


  1. I do hope you are not accusing me of starting a banana war. And why do I always manage to buy twice as many bananas as I intended? It's all down to their sales talk and price negotiation
    And thank you for helping me to survive the Koraput wars, you'll be missed

  2. What a fab post Mike, well done for completing a 2nd VSO term. Looking forward to your completed autobiography! All the best, Zoe (VSO Indonesia drop-out) x