Starting a Saturday with a trip to Tesco is probably not the best way to put oneself in a tranquil frame of mind for the rest of the weekend, but a quick visit was unavoidable this morning. Yet again, I was astounded by the skill with which the many (and boy, do I mean MANY!) shoppers turned their trolleys into weapons of mass obstruction. More depressing was the even greater skill with which they managed to avoid eye contact with every single person around them.

My mind was instantly drawn back to my holiday in India last year, as it has been many times over the last 12 months. Before I got there, I was worried that one of the aspects of the trip I would have trouble with would be the crowds, because they usually make me go ever so slightly catatonic. However, after spending a few days in Delhi (not exactly the most thinly populated spot on the planet), I was surprised by how easy it was for me to navigate my way around the many different sorts of bodies around me. I haven't quite worked out why this was so. Naturally, part of it must have been that I was on holiday and therefore under no pressure to get anything done by a certain time etc etc. I was also on the receiving end of many friendly smiles, as were the other tourists. The more obviously wealthy members of the crowd were paying absolutely no attention to the hapless beggars and homeless people around them, so it's not as though the whole place was a chummy little paradise where people went around greeting each other with Mary Poppins smiles all the time. But there seemed to be very little aggression in the air. Everyone appeared to be entitled to their bit of space. Sadly, the same couldn't be said of the ambience at Tesco. All the trolleys might as well have had a sticker on the front saying, "Could you f*** off out of my way, please!"

I was only too happy to oblige.

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