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Being a quid-challenged backpacker (a bad word these days), I have no choice but to shack up with a B&B lady. For the benefit of the more affluent, B&B stands for Bed and Breakfast, though I think they should call them C&SL outlets—Cornflakes and Shared Loos. My landlady is 60-plus, retired, very lonely, and an expert cost-cutter (quite understandably so). Mrs Jean Tyra of Woodford, Essex (the Borivili suburb of London), is both pleasantly surprised and unpleasantly pissed with me. She's stunned that my Angrezi is, um, better than hers, and almost spills the muesli when she learns I know of Beatles and Rolling Stones. Over watery chai, she discusses politics, and decidedly declares General Musharraf is the biggest terrorist of the world, and that it's Pakistan, not Iraq, that's the problem with Mother Earth. Funny, a suburban, lower middle-class English housewife knows things which seem to elude the US Prez. Dubya, wake up!
On a night out at the happening Bond Street, I spot a group of overzealous white cops bodysearch some rappin' Black teens. Reminds me of that provocative scene in Crash, where a racist cop orgasmically fingers a black lady up her panties. Mercifully, on this occasion, the officer is only looking up the girl's skirt (swear, I didn't make this up). And what exactly is their crime, I enquire. "The youngsters are suspected of soliciting and drug-dealing on the streets," coolly informs Steve, one of the policemen. The tamasha carries on for a while, until one female member loudly accuses the cops of being unfairly racist, and threatens to file counter-charges. Taken aback, the policemen quickly disappear into the night. Makes me wonder. Shouldn't they be focusing their energies on brainwashed Muslims kids of Brick Lane? Why go after soft targets? Mumbai mein bhi aisa hota hai, na?