samedi 24 février 2018


There must be something in the air in Cochin for me, like I experienced in Suva, Fiji; Malacca, Malaysia, Zanzibar..but with more substance because Keralites especially the Syrian Christians I have befriended are intelligent, worldly and extremely hospitable. The other nationalities that live in Cochin, in the last count there were 32, are very friendly too but our paths do not cross.
I had come to Cochin to relax. My friend Francis accommodated me into a nice room in his boutique hotel. 
Near the hotel is a lovely Fusion restaurant called Farmer's Cafe where I had eaten before and was impressed with the philosophy of their management under Mr Farooq. I had recommended a Cuban Film Festival to run on the premises during the Biennale 2018, it would be good.
 The star attraction dish is Vegetable Thali presented extremely well and such that one does not overeat. I complimented it with a freshly squeezed Papaya Juice.
 On the way out I could greet the workers busily preparing for the evening session, and the amount and variety of vegetables were impressive.
I received a message from the manager of my favourite hotel in Fort Cochin, Bristow Lighthouse Bungalow, inviting me for coffee. It is just a short walk and truly impressed with the organization and model of the manager who used to work in the Andaman Islands before. 
We sat and chat for about an hour or more and I made reservations for my next visit. I told him that on my next visit, I plan not to leave the premises but read and write and catch up with the hectic travel year i have had since August of last year.
It also gave me an opportunity to greet the workers at the hotel and the restaurant. They exude the same type of warmth of the Kerala workers that I meet at Al Mourjan Lounge or at the hotels in Doha, Qatar.
I had been sleeping well and late as I had no agenda and I was amazed how quickly the sunset approached and of course that is something one must not miss in Fort Cochin.
The night falls suddenly and the streets have ghost like feelings. For Cochin is not a town of nightly exuberance, as the sun goes down the vendors and the shopkeepers close their doors and the local population disappears, leaving stray cats and foreigners looking for water and a morsel of food!

I walked around like a ghost for a while, the memory of the good food at Lunch was alone enough to ward off hunger, munched on some peanuts and once retired to the air conditioned room to read and write and search and learn.

Each time I pass by this first ever European church built in India (there had been christians in Kerala since 52 AD, more than 1400 years before the Europeans came with their missionaries) I think of my sister who is a devout Catholic and offer a prayer for her. I remember once meeting with a baby faced Minister of this church to discuss offering a Mass for my sisters miraculous recovery from Cancer(s).

 Burgher Street, no not a homage to the American Fat Monger but a street of prominent Merchants during the Dutch period, most of the buildings were constructed very late Portuguese era or early Dutch era. early 17th Century.

 Walking like a ghost of myself along the seashore with distant lights of another civilization, to be reminded by a poster of times from oblivion of Bob Marley, the prophet of Jamaica.

It was a lovely day for me in Fort Cochin. I travelled a long way to India but I confine myself to a square kilometre of Fort Cochin.. that is my India