Saturday, May 26
World Village, 17:18
We woke up at 10:00, or thereabouts, and the weather looked exactly as forecast: awful. We got up and had breakfast and then Irma got ready and left for World Village.
The pouring rain continued as the temperature dropped to levels best suited to winter. I saw in Facebook that Pellinge summer market had started yesterday and Marie Kellgren had marked it down as “very cold, very wet, and very empty”.
Sunshine went outside and hid somewhere. An hour or so later, during a brief period in which the rain seemed as though it might stop, he returned soaking wet and very unhappy. I dried him and he retreated to Irma’s cupboard to hide among the clothes.
I sat and thought more about the Indian project, which Irma has named dgd and I have come to think of as G3. I played some more with some of the Zoho apps and imagined trying to organise communications between Helsinki and Trivandrum using them. I also wondered about whether the new political landscape would have any effect on our ideas, since many of the fishing families have a Muslim background and India has now shifted very definitely towards becoming a predominantly Hindu culture.
This has become very complex though. The Guardian quoted Rajat Sethi, a fellow at the India Foundation, a thinktank aligned with the right-wing Hindu umbrella group, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), of which Narendra Modi is a lifelong member.
Savarkar talks about a more militarised Hinduism … The RSS would say, no, it’s about culture,” Sethi said. “Hinduism is a community based on shared culture practices rather than a dogmatic book.” In this way, he said, Muslims and Christians were also Hindus: their lifestyles and rituals also inflected by India’s Hindu civilisation. “Muslims form an integral part [of the nation] because a lot of what we stand for is incomplete without Muslims as a religion.”
The ostensibly “secular” politics of Nehru’s Congress was really a byword for courting Muslim votes by giving the community special privileges, he added, such as political autonomy for Kashmir, and the right to govern marriages and other social affairs according to Islamic law – both of which Hindu nationalist groups target for reform.
We will see, I suspect, how all this works out.
I left for the centre at about 16:15 and sat on the 97V reading book one of Jeff Lemire’s Gideon Falls, which proved much more interesting than I had thought it would.
Using my trusty umbrella, I got to the Open Finland tent in the square and found Irma and Kipa. A notice informed me that I had arrived at the 20th anniversary edition of World Village. Last year I remember hordes of people in shorts lying around in the bright sunshine drinking bottles of wine with their picnics. Today a few people in plastic raincoats and hoods scurry around quickly from tent to tent, not a bottle of wine in sight.
I go in search of food and find a truck called Sandwich Club by the main stage, where I order an avocado and facon sandwich. I have never had facon before. While I would not actually confuse it with bacon, it certainly fulfilled its function in the sandwich satisfactorily.
The rain pours down and I stand under the Sandwich Club’s tiny canopy and photograph the empty arena. A band has just finished playing to absolutely nobody.
I will help Irma pack and then we will get a taxi back to Puotila and shift all the boxes from the back of the taxi to the back of our car. We will feel like criminals from a bad b-movie, swapping the loot in a wet car park.