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British Kite Mark

Oh no, it’s more about birds again. Forget Afghanistan, forget the tensions between Pakistan and India. Forget the possibility of terrorist attacks on foreigners. And forget that they’re trying to change the right-of-way rule on roundabouts (scary!). The currently most dangerous thing about living in Delhi is the birds. I reckon Hitchcock must’ve had a visit here before writing that horror film. What was it called? Oh yes, The Birds.

It’s like living in an aviary here. If I had £1 for each time we’ve been crapped on – and I do mean by our feathered friends and not our employers (only joking, Tony, if by any chance you’re reading this) I wouldn’t be working on this website. I’m still looking forward to the day when we, Dave Stock, Emma K-F, Mike Clark, Hajo, Dr Grimy, Mike K-H, et al will be sitting together in Thailand sipping piña coladas discussing our retirement plans, but that’s another story…

Going off on another tangent, the bar flies (I admit that I’m one) were discussing odd shop signs the other day. We’d seen a sign for “German Puf Mattresses”. Well, maybe it makes a change from pillow-biting – and hey, I have several gay mates who have a sense of humour before you think of writing in to complain. I’d seen a shop sign in Kathmandu for “Humane Fit Tailors” – comfortable clothes can be important. And apparently in Delhi it’s not unusual to name a college you’ve attended with the word “failed” in brackets after it. OK, so they’re not claiming a qualification but at least they went to the college. I can relate to that to the extent that I might add “Chartered Accountant (failed)” to my list of misdemeanours. Then someone mentioned one sign he’d seen recently in Delhi: “Anus Communications”. Maybe Anus is a genuine name or something, who knows. Talking out of your arse? A new meaning for ring tones? Ahem, yes. This was supposed to be about birds again.

I was sitting outside eating a Sunday lunch special when a pariah kite swooped down, smacked me on the back of the head, dive-bombed through my plate, and was gone before I realised what had happened. I don’t know if it successfully stole any food but what was left was scattered over the table. After the waiter had removed the mess, the kite continued to circle menacingly to the extent that I jumped up, backed off and announced that I’d go inside. Yeah, meanwhile I’d left my B&H fags on the table and some wit at a nearby table shouted, “Oh you’re all right, it only smokes Marlboro Lights.” Nice to get some sympathy after such an experience. Typical bloody Brits.

Anyway, apparently I’m not the first to have this happen and no doubt won’t be the last. The thing is, though, that these are big birds of prey, with big sharp talons and beaks. Unlike me, other previous victims have ended up with plenty of blood to show for their experience. If you gain such a scar, you are considered to have the British kite mark of excellence. I guess I failed to make the grade again.


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