An idea is brewing, to once again fly to India, but this time ride back to the UK.
I’ve wondered about holding a tea party in each country along the away. That’s partly inspired by a piece of performance art called Walking: Holding, and a journey my friend Jonathan King told me about: –
In 1963 at the height of the Cold War, Satish Kumar and Prabhakar embarked on a peace march to the four nuclear capitals: Moscow, Paris, London and Washington. Whilst visiting a tea factory in Armenia, they were given a further mission:-
“One of the women who had invited us into the factory stood up and rushed out the room. Moments later she came back with four packets of tea. She said to us, ‘What you are saying, I fully agree with – every word. Here are four packets of tea made in our factory. I know you are walking and you want to travel light, but these packets are very important. Please carry them with you. They are not for you. Please give one to the premier in Moscow, one to the President of France, one to the Prime Minister of England and one to the President of the United States. of America. Tell them that if they get mad in their minds and think of pushing the button to drop nuclear bombs, they should stop for a moment and have a fresh cup of tea from these packets.”
No Destination Autobiography of an Earth Pilgrim – by Satish Kumar
But for a couple of incidents in many thousands of miles, travelling has always revealed positive aspects of human nature: how ordinary people will get along and help each other, and how Muslim hospitality is second to none. Filming a number of tea parties on the way back from India to the UK punctuated by footage of the journey might make an interesting travel movie.
Though politics is seldom straightforward, I suspect most conflict is caused by the vested interests of ruling elites, and as the world seems ever more dangerous and divided, I’d like to reaffirm faith in human nature and find more heartening stories.