We drove up to Paris yesterday afternoon and arrived as it was getting dark, dusk is arriving noticeably earlier every day now, and we were confronted by a blinding curtain of red lights. Traffic jams in any city are a nightmare and Paris is no exception, and has it’s own characteristics dictated by the beautiful river that snakes through it’s which has to be traversed often by many bridges and circular ring road, the peripherique, which is an invention from hell to be avoided during rush hour at all costs. Many people I know do not like to drive in Paris, however I, despite being a Brit raised with the sane attitude to which side of the road is correct, I just adore to drive in Paris. Tunnel visioned anarchy must be part of my genetic composition, together with an adolecent attitude to getting there first. So last evening I was over the moon at finding a way out of a unmoving morass of vehicles choking the route to the 11em arrondissement where we live in Paris. It even involved my favourite manoeuvre, doing a U-Turn in the middle of unmoving frustrated motorists, particularly satisfying in Paris, such short tempers they have. Similarly making sudden turns across oncomming racing masses and rushing up tiny allies and then! Then arriving where I thought my tortuous route would take me, despite the protestations that I knew nothing, from my sweet French wife! No greater joy has an Englishman driving in Paris than to arrive ahead of the rest and where you thought you would.
I wonder what the future holds for this carefree young Indian boy swimming in the backwaters seemingly a million miles away from the dynamic economic revolution that is sweeping his country. I will never know and perhaps will be long gone when maybe he heads some multinational corporation bringing technological wonders to the world. I envy the vitality of the changing world order, not for what it is achieving, but because I can never be a part of it, being a fading ember in the cooling furnace that was an empire. There will be mistakes and injustices but I hope someone will have learned from the errors of the past. A hope in vain I fear if I am a model.