In June 1971 I set off for Oxford via India (to do my A/Levels) and Europe. Exit permits were needed to leave Ceylon after the April 1971 Youth Insurgency and, having obtained one, it was thought that asking for a second would be an unnecessary risk. Apart from my age, I had had a radio play banned on suspicion that it was political. It was not, being based on the Greek story of Electra, but it was assumed that I had intended to cast aspersions on the Bandaranaikes.
60/21 Edward Elliots Road
7th June 1970
I had my first paper today, Ancient History 1, which I dreaded most of all, and it was quite nice, though I had to con my way through a fourth question.
I am very comfortable here, with a room and bathroom to myself and everyone is very nice – so much so that, at the exam today, with all the frantic Indian red tape, I began thinking of them as the last vestiges of civilization to which I could cling – the same feeling I had with the Weeramans last year. India frightens me, it’s so large and also so trivial, if you know what I mean. I don’t suppose you do and it’ll take too long to explain – if I could. Continue reading