It’s Indian Independence Day tomorrow. So as a delayed knee jerk reaction to John Sergeant’s excruciatingly patronizing program about India’s railways last month, where he seemed intent on making a story about how us Brits did it for India, I thought today was as good as any to post a brief repost.
It’s inevitable that, while actually executing this adventure and web logging the escapade, we’ll manage to offend at least some of the people most of the time, and probably most of the people some of the time, But I do hope we do a better job of playing a fair game than our man from Aunty Beeb did. We certainly wont be asking the residents to apologize for trying to shoot the local reps from the British East India Company to pieces during the First War of Independence.
Our strong suit, enabling us play an even hand in all this, is the demography of the gang. As a result of my arm breaking exploits on TravBuddy this week, where I expended over 10,000 mouse clicks and cursor movements in my endeavor to entice 1,937 native Indians on the trip, there should be way more Indians involved in this than deluded foreigners thinking they are on an inspection tour of what the natives have done with that railway we left them. We’re not expecting 2,000 people just yet, that certainly would be worthy of some media coverage, but we are in serious danger of going north of 50, certainly after we pick up the Bengal boys and girls at Howrah.
In other news, I just received a huge shipment of t-shirts and various other branded bits and pieces from our man in the merchandising department. I’ll make the following point clear now and repeatedly hereafter. There is no money going to charity from the shirts. That’s why they are so bloody cheap. It’s actually quite cost ineffective to collect cash for charity while selling stuff. Firstly it’s just a pain from an accountancy point of view. And the VAT has to be charged anyway I think. None of the retail outlets that do “print your own t-shirt” offer this kind of service. Secondly, you can’t claim your income tax back, as you do with the money giving pages you will all be familiar with, because you’ve been provided with a service. So it’s actually better, and more flexible, to sell the shirts for as little as you can get them for, and then ask people to stick a couple of quid in the charity box. The ebay shop will be up next week. If you know me I can arrange an earlier delivery for you from my stock that Simon has deposited with me. Premium donors and people of power and influence are likely to get a free one anyway. We’ve also got mugs at £2.50, and linen shopping bags for £1.50.
My giving page has come to a grinding halt of late. That’s in part due to the highly competitive world of charity sponsorship. We all get plenty of begging invites from our mates who are doing marathons and the like. But I fear it’s also cos my premium donors, bless them, set the bar at an eye watering £50. Seriously folks, £5 is more than enough, that’s more than the shirt obviously. £2 would be plenty and would go up to £2.50 or thereabouts with tax reclamation. You actually get more tax back for a larger gift though, I think there’s a flat fee to start with. So if you can afford a bit more it will be worth it. But even if you haven’t got more than £4.75 to spend on supporting this lunacy, or I’ve already stung you anyway, if you just buy the shirt and wear it in public, preferably in front of the marketing department of the Indian TelCo you work for, it could be worth way more than the price of a family outing to McDonalds to us and ultimately our charitable causes.
We’ve also got a would-be mascot who’s been doing some modeling for me today