Little joys: The big fat Indian weddings are back, though not quite as fat as before. The lifting of the lockdown due June 21 has been postponed until July 19 (for now) but an exception has been made for weddings. No limit has been set on the number of guests, but given that social distancing regimes are in place, the size of the venue will set its own limits. Wedding planners are busy, finally, as are wedding photographers, caterers and others who make a living off weddings. Presumably, whatever the social distancing rules, the groom and bride will not exchange vows and jaimalas with masks on.
‘Rain, rain, come again’: On Day 1 of The Ultimate Test, or what should have been Day 1, Indian fans who’d gathered around the Rose Bowl in Southampton looked heavenward and prayed for the rain to stop. A couple of days on they began looking heavenward, to pray for the rain to continue. They seemed not to want the match to go on the way it started. Difficult playing conditions no doubt, but everyone was hoping Indian batsmen would have handled them a little better, to begin with. The loyalty to the team was undiminished of course. They were just feeling protective and looking for some protection to drop down from above. However, there was some drama on Day 5, and the Indian bowlers ensured the match wasn’t one-sided after all.
Change in voting trends: The debate over the ‘traditional Indian vote’ is set to change again after the results of the Chesham and Amersham by-election. The Liberal Democrats came in as if from nowhere to take the seat from the Conservatives with a 16,000 majority. This seat has thus far always been held by the Conservatives. To the extent that the Indian vote aligns with majority trends, as it mostly seems to, a number of Indians could be rethinking any default support for the Conservatives. And that may no longer be to the advantage of Labour who managed a paltry 622 votes in the by-election. The third way in British politics is not done and dusted yet.
Taste of own medicine: Red-listers can get red-listed themselves, as the British are discovering. After red-listing several countries, India among them, the UK government set travel advisories in place on the countries that Britons were advised not to visit. Now decisions are going beyond advisories – and are being taken by others. A number of countries have red-listed Britain over the Delta Covid variant. Italy has imposed a five-day quarantine for anyone arriving from Britain, Ireland has doubled the period to ten days for arrivals. Many others have imposed similar restrictions, with others due to follow.
Abduction attempt raises concerns: New fears have gripped the Walthamstow neighbourhood in London, home to a very large number of Indians and Pakistanis, after a man tried to abduct a girl walking to school in the morning. The man, described as about six feet tall and of South Asian appearance, came out of the back seat of a car and tried to drag the girl into the car. She broke free and ran into a nearby building. The police have sought public help in identifying and apprehending the culprit. Shockwaves are being felt around London over a new awareness that it may not be safe for a girl to just walk to school.