THOUGHTS AND MUSINGS ON GOOD FRIDAY
DECODING STREET SOUNDS
|MAHATMA GHANDI RD. ERNAKULAM|
By the way, don’t ever challenge a municipal bus. Those guys rule the roads and are not afraid to demonstrate their superiority over all other forms of transportation.
|INDIAN NAVAL BASE IN KOCHI|
What’s kind of odd to me though, is how polyglot is Kerala. It’s an incredible mixture of Hindu, Moslem and Christian religious communities who have never, unlike so many parts of India, suffered from sectarian strife. I’ve asked several long time residents here if there has ever been any such strife and after scrunched up faces lost in thought for a moment, the answer has been a solid “No.” (Compare that to the Middle East right now.)
This morning, Good Friday, I was reminded of this rather gratifying situation in human affairs, when – as usual – the Muslim morning call to prayer* was sounding from the neighborhood mosque while at the same time the sounds of choir hymns were wafting through the air from nearby St. Thomas Church. There isn’t a Hindu Temple close enough to us for any sounds to reach Good Karma Homestay, but yesterday was a Hindu holiday, so rest assured that bells, gongs, chants and prayers were vigorously splitting the air in Fort Kochi.
But then this is India’s South where folks are calmer, less rushed and quieter than their northern peers in Delhi and Mumbai. They smile a lot. I’ve never seen folks arguing in the streets. In all the time I’ve spent here, I’ve only witnessed one “road rage” argument that, trust me, is pretty dammed phenomenal give the conditions of roadways here. (See above.) I guess that’s why I like it here so much despite the heat and the mosquitos and the long, slow, lines to buy ferry tickets from the one ticket window at the boat jetty.
* Our neighborhood Mosque and Islamic Center was just renovated and is looking quite spiffy. Before we heard the calls to prayer somewhat muted as if from a long way off. The facility is only about one-quarter mile away from us. Well the renovation included a new sound system as well so now we hear the five daily calls quite clearly. Including the Friday sermons. Like right now, as I’m writing this.