Monday, 2 February 2009

Heading home

After a successful NLS "gig", Kevin and I are heading for home tomorrow. Kevin's talk, "Kolkata Curiosities" went really well at the Book Fair yesterday, and despite me having a rotten cold, I managed to get through my talk at the NLI this afternoon. The assembled librarians were quite a shy bunch, so not many questions, but all contributions were very positive. The NLI director K. K. Banerjee was there (as was ours - Martyn Wade arrived safely this morning) and it all looks very promising for partnerships between our two national libraries. I was interviewed for TV, too (what with the paparazzi earlier in the week and now this, it's quite gone to my head).

Edinburgh's going to seem very strange when we get back.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Malaria capers...

I should mention that yesterday we paid homage to the Scot Sir Ronald Ross, who of course proved the link between anopheles mosquitoes and the transmission of the malaria virus. This plaque is in the grounds of a Calcutta hospital, on the spot where Ross's laboratory stood. We took along the Malaria Giant Microbe to visit his nemesis!

Kolkata update

After several attempts at another post late last night (problems with internet connections)I gave up, so here I go again – fingers crossed.
I want to mention the marvellous British Council staff, who are unflaggingly generous, kind, and fixers of the highest order. They also do a rather good blog. Edd McCracken of the Sunday Herald, also did a blog and the Book Fair will be featured in the paper this Sunday, though I’m sure Edd’s got enough material to get a series going.
It’s difficult to keep track of everything we’re doing here. (I'm afraid I spent a whole day with a, er, tummy bug, and lay around feeling faint like a Victorian memsahib). As a result I was disappointed to miss tea at the Governor's residence.
The visit to the Scottish Cemetery was a highlight; we hope that the efforts by RCAHMS and the Kolkata Scottish Kolkata Heritage Trust to restore it will bear fruit.
A talk by Lord Bruce on Scots and India was very well received, and he was followed by the very learned Prof. Barun De, who revealed that he is a great fan of the NLS. He reminisced fondly about his visits there in 1957.
Later, we visited the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre, and watched a workshop where rural artists are given a chance to raise themselves above the poverty line. They do some beautiful work, and we were particularly struck by the similarity of the painted scrolls they produce and one we have in NLS which dates back to 1788.