As is my custom, when travelling I try to be a good ambassador for Cuba, trying to point out the human aspects of life in Cuba.
Kerala which had the first ever elected Communist government, has fostered good relationship with Cuba. The Indian ambassador to Cuba whom I met once was from Trivandrum in Kerala. There is a healthy exchange of ideas, at the official level between Kerala Youth and the Cuban Youth Fraternity UJC.
During my stay, each day I stop by the IDIOM bookstore and there is always something to discover. I had gone to enquire about Murakami Haruki's latest book and was surprised to find a title TELEX FROM CUBA. I read a few paragraphs and I realized that it is worthwhile reading it leisurely. I am reading it now, while ensconced in the silence of the Indian reservation, and what a beautiful description of life that (fortunately) disappeared with the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. I was also able to get a book on the history of Dutch in India, with Fort Cochin being their jewel.At IDIOM bookstore one can always discover something or other. I had remember seeing an exhibition of Indigenous art from India, and marveled how similar the Gond paintings were to those of Australian Aboriginal artists. A delightful book, in words and pictures of a (now famous Gond artist) first visit to London is a keep sake and something to read to others.
I highly recommend that you visit IDIOM bookstore, especially the one in Fort Cochin, where Elizabeth is to be found most days to give you advice on books. The owner is Shyam Shetty, a genial gentleman, you may meet either at this or the original IDIOM bookstore in Mattancherry. The latter stocks slightly more intellectual books on Indian history and society.
Fort Cochin is blessed to have so many interesting characters but one I look forward for a long chat at his office is Mr W. A combination of curiosity about the world, insatiable appetite for the printed page and genial as always, but I was given a glimpse into his spiritual nature. We had a nice conversation about Native Americans.
They are all curious about Cuba and of course their curiosity is not tinged with politics (like in the USA and thus highly biased). They are able to appreciate the human nature of Cuba and Cubans.
I recently wrote to the Cuban(not Honourary but Official) Ambassador in New Delhi to prepare himself for a warm welcome when he visits Fort Cochin in the course of his tour of duty.
My recent visit to Fort Cochin was just superb ..a most "cuban" experience.