WHITTLING OUR NICHE

Some years ago I wrote a poem - Whittling our Niche - which attempted to explore the concept of our singular, but miniscule existence on this Mother Earth. Seen through a galactic microscope, each of us has a unique mountain to climb, a discrete rock-wall to scale, on our track from cot to coffin. This portfolio of stories and poems, photographs and sketches, along with comments on contemporary issues, is a reflection of my own minute presence on our eternal globe. 

Reading for me is not a hobby, it's a way of discovering how others have scaled their rock-walls ... fact or fiction. And so to writing: the other side of the yin and yang. To paraphrase Christopher Hitchens 'If I had known I was going to read so much, I would have done more writing to match'. Now I begin to even up the kaleidoscope.

I hope this site can inspire others to do the same.

Duncan Gregory




INDIA IN RETROSPECT

Returning to India grew to be like a second homecoming. Touchdown was nearly always Mumbai - which for a decade I knew as Bombay - and each time, as the aircraft powered forward, dipping towards the runway, those snapshot glimpses of an uneven terrain crammed with shanty dwellings would resume in my view. More and more this struck me as a symbol of why I was there in the first place, for it was perhaps the most extreme lifestyle interface one could imagine: high-tech jumbos gliding past squalid slums. Neither existence could touch the other … and one certainly did not want to.

CONFINEMENT BLUES: could they lead to the end of Trump … and the purging of his clones from leadership roles?

On a personal level this microscopic molecule is forcing us to address and respect the lives we led prior to the pandemic. What we thought were rights now appear more like privileges. Looking at the wider frame – the state, the nation, the world – perhaps this tiny beast is here to highlight the fact that we have gone too far down the wrong road and that for humankind’s sake, changes are required to put us back on the right track: a mini-Jesus for the modern world, come to cleanse us of our sins … one might argue!

JOURNEY INTO BANGLADESH

When offered an assignment which allowed free licence to write about life in Bangladesh, I jumped at the chance: this was what my dreams were made of. At the time I was working with schools in India and was asked to make a side trip to Dhaka, to study, write and photograph the workings of development projects, within the capital and in rural areas to the South, West and North of the city. My February-March stay was to last for a month, before temperatures began to hit oven-like proportions.

TERRORISM HELPS KENYA FIGHT CORONAVIRUS

I am a Brit who has lived and worked in Kenya for more than two decades, first arriving in 1998, a few months after the devastating bombing of the US embassy by Al-Qaeda. As luck would have it, Al-Shabaab - the Al-Qaeda spin-off, based in Somalia – had me at their mercy fifteen years later, when they carried out their 2013 assault on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall. I had a narrow escape which left me shocked, but otherwise unscathed. How does this connect to coronavirus? ... (read more)
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