I have been in a bad, sad mood all day because of Christmas rollocks and other reasons. It’s funny how little things build up all year like litter in a stream and generally you can fish them out and dispose of them but there are occasionally things you miss and, by December, you’ve trundled downstream and all the litter has burgeoned and collected at the side of the river in a frothy wash of dirt and rubbish and mud and you don’t even want to look at it let alone sift through it and clean it up. Yes, that’s how I felt today.

Now, if a friend feels like this it’s a good idea to try and understand why they are feeling like this before you jump right in there with your waggly finger. If they’ve been talking to you all year and you haven’t been listening, this is the point at which you will give your lack of attention away.

Generally, it’s not a good idea to

1) remind them that they have so much for which to be thankful or that a lot of other people are worse off than them.

2) helpfully show them the opposite point of view to theirs with a “Have you thought of it like this…?”

3) take the side of the other person or organisation against them, even thought they spend their life supporting you, unbidden

4) take this opportunity to lecture them about why they, in your opinion, are wrong.

It IS a good idea to spend a minute or two – and that’s literally all it takes – to say something like, “That really sucks and no wonder you feel like this.” Then give them a hug and slag off the person or situation that has made them feel bad. This is called empathy – putting yourself in someone else’s shoes – and it’s astounding how many people obviously need this pointed out to them.

Let me add that:

1) Suffering and sadness is NOT a competition and

2) Even people who, on the surface, have nothing to worry about can have sad or bad days. That is all.


The film Bajiao Mastani opens worldwide I think today and the debate about it grabbed my attention on Facebook this morning because one of my Dad’s sisters married into the family of this Maratha Prime Minister and renowned warrior. Here’s the trailer for this Bollywood Blockbuster of a love story:


Bajiao I was born in the castle where my aunt lived from her marriage until her death from a heart condition a few months ago. They are extremely proud of their warrior hero in Dubere, in Maharashtra in general, and many people are up in arms about the lack of historical accuracy of the film. (It is after all a Bollywood production and not, therefore, necessarily primarily concerned with authenticity but there you go.)

Here’s an article from the Times of India. Professor Chandrashekhar Barve is my first cousin. Apparently, there’s been extra security put on for the screenings in Pune in case Hindu nationalists try and disrupt the film and some showings have been cancelled, feeling that it disrespects the memory of their hero.

I want to see the film now.