Saturday, 19 April 2008


I hate the word 'blog'. It sounds too much like 'blob'.

And I don't know why it has taken me this long to realise what I have been up to. You, dear reader, are leafing (or perhaps 'scrolling') through the current shape of the fine, old-fashioned diary.

Looking back at the family history, it is perhaps not surprising. My great-grandfather (Austin Cravath) and brother both left type-written memiors, as did his daughter Alice Eicher (after whom Asha is named). Reading those accounts is fascinating - especially as at least one of them talks about how the Christian and Missionary Alliance was formed. A self-taught railway surveyor (think of that!) Austin Cravath carved a life of purpose and laid a foundation in my grand-mother Alice's life that blessed many others.

On my mother's side, her father Willi Fischer was a regular diarist - and we still have a small leather suitcase in which a good 40 years of occasional but regular journalling rests. My German is getting rusty, and I need to decipher his need by spidery handwriting to get the meat. And what a meal awaits - Germany in between the wars - the 2nd world war and then the communist state of the DDR. Willi also cut out newspaper articles, pictures and other things (like the food ration stamps they used during WWII. If I remember correctly, the telegram announcing my birth is also pasted in one of the diaries.

The beauty of the diary is the intersection of right now with eternity. A slice of what I am experiencing, thinking, wondering about today is written down. That serves as an on-going voice. I may later disagree or become sentimental - laugh out loud or wonder what I was thinking then - but the diary puts it down.

The strange thing, though, is how much is written for me - and how much for you - dear gentle reader? I realise that I make real choices about what I write depending on at least a few segments of potential readers. Censorship? Perhaps, but I hope I am not guilty of grand-standing either. The nice thing about this site (I will not call it by what rhymes with 'slog') is that it allows a collage to emerge. Each piece gives what I hope is a short and sharp picture - and when you take the small pieces and look at the larger work - the bigger pictures emerge.

I would also appreciate any inputs you may have, honoured reader, as to what you find worth-while in our Chai Chats together - and where I need to improve to strengthen the site. Please do leave comments or write to us (


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