lundi 2 avril 2018


Recently I had a chance to stay, for the umpteenth time at the Bristow Lighthouse Hotel facing the Arabian Sea in Fort Cochin.
Rajesh Rajan the GM had organized a nice stay and was attentive throughout my stay.
Since I had no particular agenda to follow, I looked forward to my leisurely breakfasts and dinners.
View from my table.
Well attended by the people from Food and Beverage services, I would be provided with special dishes from Kerala each morning and thus got to taste dishes that I had not known before or the ones that I had liked before. Usually I was served more than one breakfast dish, that prepared me  for a day of walking around Fort Cochin
Raghavan from Andhra Pradesh was particularly attentive so was SriKanth from Trivandrum.( not pictured)
The Executive Chef Rehman Vipin was present and enquiring into the details of the palate of the guests who were mostly european. When I asked about the origin of his name VIPIN, which is an island nearby and strongly christian, he said that his father and his christian neighbours were such good friends that he decided to honour them by adding their name VIPIN to the Moslem name of Rehman of his child.
He especially prepared a Whole Snapper Fish Curry with sauce, which was deliious.
I would try to go for a walk in the early morning before settling down for breakfast and the pleasure of contended eating was doubled by the magnificent scenery that I walk past on the way back to the hotel.
Among the staff was Suresh, a tall and lanky Bengali who when time permitted would discuss  Bengali literature!  I consider Bengalis to be the most intellectual of all Indians!
If you look up Bengali Writers you would be surprised at the long illustrious list of writers, of course Tagore and Satyajit Ray brought fame to India but there is a long list of good writers. One of my favourite writers, Amitav Ghosh (Glass Palace is almost the story of my father in Burma!) is Bengali.
I was happy to see two fresh faces from GOROKHALAND, belonging to the GURKHAS of erstwhile British military fame. Ranjit and Angad were quiet and gentle, very representative of their people.
Satish from Tamil Nadu completed the group 

Why is that almost every one is from some other part of India? Kerala historically was part of  the Arab trading routes and as the Gulf countries became wealthy from oil, there was a huge flow of young men going to the region to work. In places like Salalah in Oman one finds one Keralite after another and I have met quite a few people in the service industry in Doha who are from Kerala. This created a shortage of young male workers, and thus Cochin became the "Dubai" for people from the Northeastern part of the country. In Fort Cochin, you will run into many people in the restaurants and food outlets who are from Assam and other NE Indian states. 
This was a much needed stay for me, I flew into Fort Cochin from Miami (a very long and tortuous trip), stayed at Bristow Lighthouse hotel, enjoyed the food (leisurely breakfasts and dinners) and walked over to the Ayurville for daily massages by Manoj. 
I thank all the workers at Bristow Bistro and the Hotel, including Ashmi at the front desk and many others who were attentive but we couldn't converse because of my inability to communicate in their language.
I have been to Cochin twice this year (I have some very close friends in Cochin, but I did not get in touch with them this time, as they would be very busy preparing for Easter Holy Week!). Hopefully the winds would bring me back again, certainly for the Muziris Biennale towards the end of the year to March 2019.