I was stuck in an internet cafe between two patchouli-stinking raving hippies and I bitterly regretted spilling that cup of coffee over my lovely laptop.
There was nothing worse than listening to their banal Skype conversations about revision and Glastonbury tickets, as well as other shrieks in Hebrew and Anglo-Indian to deal with, so please accept my apologies about sending this editorial editorial out prematurely; I had a lot to deal with.
I have been in Dharamsala for the past week after a pilgrimage to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, which maintains its sanctity but not its hygiene. I drank the holy water and spent two days squatting over a toilet. Not easy, these pilgrimages.
But the squits was nothing to Tuesday’s disaster when a complete cup of cappuccino fell into my laptop and I felt like Marcel Duchamp hanging it out to dry on the terrace.
For the uninitiated, one of Duchamp’s more surreal experiments was to leave a book on a clothes-line and see what the wind did to it… the answer I presume was blowing in the wind.
As it was, I was told it could be fixed. There are many PC experts in Dharamsala due to constant hacking of local businesses by the Chinese. At a guest house we stayed in last year, all recipients of its mailing list were sent an email that went along the lines of ‘I’m in London, had all my belongings stolen, please send money here’.
As scams go, this was a particularly believable one so I had high hopes for my soaked laptop, but such hopes that were in vain, the keyboard is destroyed and I had to write a 500-word piece on an ‘on-screen keyboard’. Believe me, that’s worse than any patchouli-reeking raving hippy.
But no joy, perhaps the Chinese prevented it being fixed because they’re blamed for just about everything in Dharamasala, and when you’re in the middle of a puja at the lamasery, it’s easy to see why. Tibetans are the dudes of the planet.
I can say what I like about raving hippies, because we are told that the people we despise the most are the people we most used to resemble, and believe me, I WAS a totally raving hippy in my time. So, perhaps it’s the ageing curmudgeon in me, but at least these people are unlikely to leave Dharamsala and return to their respective societies as murderers, thieves and bad people.
So, for today only, I am going to smile just like them, do my namastes just like them, pick up a guitar and join the odd jam, but next week I’m going back to Goa, fix that laptop and join the working world again. Or maybe not.