Dhuri, Punjab

The Rough Guide to India contains a mere 17 pages on the two states of Punjab and Haryana, compared to 77 on Tamil Nadu and a whopping 109 on Rajasthan. In that short section, it covers only two places, Chandigarh (which technically isn’t in either state) and Amritsar, dismissively stating that “there is little of tourist interest in the two states” other than the Rock Garden and the Golden Temple.

I thought it seemed a bit of a shame to rule out the whole region just because of a lack of tourist spectacles, especially when it has such a strong cultural identity. I was keen to experience the Punjab for myself, and was already considering going off piste and looking for a couchsurfing contact in the middle of nowhere, when a better option was presented: my couchsurfing friend in Chandigarh suggested that I go and stay with his parents at his family home in Dhuri, a small town (a mere 50,000) in rural Punjab some 130km from the state capital.

Continue reading

What I hate most about opponents of equal marriage

What I hate most about the opponents of equal marriage – aside from their closeted homophobia and blocking of decent egalitarian legislation, obviously – is when they claim to object to “changing the meaning of the word ‘marriage'”.

Last week it was reported in the press that the Oxford English Dictionary had updated its entry for┬áthe word ‘literally’, including a second definition, “informal, used for emphasis while not being literally true”, thereby legitimizing its longstanding misuse.

Now, obviously this enrages me to the point of bloodlust. However, I don’t see any of those people who suddenly appeared from nowhere, claiming to be linguistic purists when ‘marriage’ was at stake, protesting over this.

Continue reading