Two former colonies united by a gift of the gab

How could I let March 17th  go by without some reference to the small island that gave us The Commitments, Into the West, The Pogues, and those guys who sang “Two Hearts Beat as One“?

The question is how to link the country where  I spent all those  summers as a kid (in the same neighborhood that was/is home to Neil Jordan, Phil Lynott  and Gerry Ryan)  to films from another one of Her Majesty’s former colonies?     Hmmm….

The two countries have so much in common (beyond the colonial past):  green, white and orange tricolors, a love of story-telling, a history of people leaving home and settling thousands of miles away, a certain conservatism and insularity followed by the liberalism and social upheaval that accompanied an economic boom,  and just see if the architecture in Belfast doesn’t remind you of Bombay (or vice versa).   We know who we both have to thank for that…

But filmi Ireland…..   Well, let’s see.   In ’06 the Trib carried a story  about a concerted effort that Ireland was making to court the Indian film industry and entice people away from the ubiquitous Old Blighty to greener shores for those song picturizations when a  phoren location is required.

(To date, some seven or so films have touched down in Eire.)

On  the non-filmi front, Madras-native-now-settled-in-Kildare Cauvery Madhavan has penned a novel several years back that told the tale of an Indian med school student doing his residency in Ireland.

The last I heard from her, she was working on a book about the Indo-Irish link, from the time period when the men of Erin touched down on Indian shores, boat tickets courtesy of HRH.

On a day like today, most people think of Ireland, and picture an image like the one at the top of this post (Yeats’ beloved Ben Bulben, in County Sligo), but the ones  I have from home are more urban (and still make me as sentimental as the Irish tourism ads on TV):

But, oh, how far the country’s come since I went to see  Maureen Potter in the panto and ate  Choc Ices  with my little playmates….while listening recently to a podcast of morning drivetime personality Gerry Ryan, I was amazed to hear  him compare notes about Indian food with a man who called in to rave about a meal he just had in Cavan, of all places!   As the conversation progressed, I came to learn that Ryan’s place of residence, the Dublin suburb famous for the Good Friday battle between the Vikings and Brian Boru’s men, now was home to, not one, but two Indian restaurants.   Holy cow.   We didn’t even have Chinese food when I was growing up there, only the chipper on Vernon Avenue.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone.

5 thoughts on “Two former colonies united by a gift of the gab

  1. Ah, Praveen, I see what you mean. In that case, no, you don’t see cows in the centre of any Irish cities. The closest thing we have is small groups of horses owned by the people who used to be known by the politcally incorrect term “Tinkers”, but who prefer Travellers. Due to their nomadic lifestyle (e.g. as seen in Gabriel Byrne’s movie “Into the West”), they use the horses – ostensibly – to pull their caravans from site to site.

    On the urban cows of India, I did find myself almost face-to-face with one when I hopped out of a taxi at an HBSC branch in downtown Bombay, and I confess that I too succumbed to whipping out my camera for a photo, as well as various other bovines on trips to Madras. I can’t help it. My uncle’s place up north in Ireland used to have a field of cows next door, and it was the biggest thrill on every visit up there to try and get close to them, though they weren’t having any of it.

  2. By ‘Cows sitting in the Middle of the Road in India’ I did not mean the ones you find on the countryside in India.
    I actually meant the ‘Herd of Cows’ that one finds sitting Peacefully right in the Middle of a Traffic-Jam on the
    Busy streets of Bombay… Absolutely unperturbed and unbothered about the cacophony around them…Almost in a ‘Zen’ like state.

    Cows on Bombay Roads are a great tourist attraction as it makes for a great Picture Postcard of India.
    I remember in 1993, I saw foreign tourists clicking away merrily at the sight of a bunch of cows sitting bang opposite VT station in Bombay. (and I was not far away from the Bombay Stock Exchange when the blasts happened)
    Cows on the roads of Bombay was a regular feature, 10 to 15 years back but now due to increasing Westernization, its Rare to find them in South Bombay.

    My Comments on Cows End Here.

    Cheers from me & Mooooooo… from all the Cows in India,

  3. Hey Praveen, thanks for your visits and for pointing me to your own writings. Will definitely check them out.

    Re: camps; I’m not in any. I enjoy a lot of different films; my main criteria is to either see or learn something new, and/or to be entertained. Which is why I could enjoy Black Friday AND Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, though they are very different. (I enjoy Julian Barnes, but I also love Donna Leon, when it comes to reading matters.)

    Re: Irish cows; I think most of the time they are supervised, so if you do see them on those narrow country roads, they’re usually part of herd being led from one field to another, but I haven’t spent all that much time in the country to know if they like to sit on the road too. I remember as a teen in Mexico, my aunt used to tell us they didn’t like to drive back from the big city nearby, because when it got cool at night, the cows liked to sleep on the roads because they were warm…

  4. About Indo-Irish Link…Do they have Cows sitting in the middle of the Road in Ireland?
    If Not…then the Cows in the Irish hinterland are more disciplined than their Indian Counterparts, or maybe the cow-boys in India have to take the blame for that…


  5. I like your Posts a lot and I visit your Blog every fortnight.
    But after reading your previous posts I got the impression (and I may be wrong) that you are a Bollywood, Tollywood and a Big SRK and KJo Fan (No wonder there are no Reviews of TZP or any mention of it here).

    I have been visiting your Blog for a year now…but I didn’t write to you till now because you seem to be firmly entrenched in the
    SRK+KJo+YashRaj camp and I detest their taste in Films and
    Film-making….I always preferred to be in the Aamir Khan camp and after Taare Zameen Par, I am convinced I’m in the Right Camp.

    But if you like them (SRK+KJo+YashRaj), then that’s OK, as I’m not here to Alter your Point of View as its ‘Different Strokes for Different Folks’.

    So you will find me at the Blog at or Anurag Kashyap’s Blog at…But I’ll still come here to Read your Posts Every fortnight…


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