For the best part of five decades, I’d assumed that nurture and my obsession with collecting toy soldiers as a boy was responsible for my endless love of the unmistakable plaid of Scotland.
Maybe it’s something about growing up behind the Iron Curtain and learning that you don’t break down barriers without steely determination that makes me so admire those who go the extra mile to make a difference.
At a time when I was old enough to know that a decision was required but not quite old enough to know how to make it I was faced with the choice of what to do with the rest of my life. Should I go down the well-trodden academic path or take the uncertain creative track? Even though we didn’t have ‘no brainer’ situations then, it was one. And so, with maximal intuition and minimal rationality, I took the rocky road. And I’ve never regretted it; on the contrary, I constantly celebrate it. I confess to being very wary of anyone with a PhD.
It happens frequently. You are walking along a street in India and a man comes up to you and demands, “What country?’ The first time this happened, I was so taken aback that I said, in my best colonial English, “I’m sorry?”. “What country you from?” the stranger enlarged. Recovering, I replied “England”. The man smiled politely, nodded and went on his way looking slightly disappointed. I suspected my cultural trainspotter was hoping that I originated from a country that he has not ticked off on his list.