LIVING LA VIDA LOCA IN KERALA!
WITH APOLOGIES TO RICKY MARTIN
In reality it’s not crazy at all. At least not if one believes that peace, tranquility and serenity are normal. Yes, working on our second week at Clayfingers, I can report that not all that much is happening. No political demonstrations. No economic crises. No international incidents. Which is not to say that back in the United States or up in Delhi, all the crises are ended. No. Not by a long shot. In the U.S. folks are still demonstrating against the election of Trump and up in Delhi Parliament's winter session work has come to a standstill since the Congress Party (Rahul Gandhi) and Mamata Banerjee (Bengal's Chief Minister) have taken to the public stage to castigate Narendra Modi for his denominization of the R-500 and R-1,000 denominations of Indian currency.
Here? Well, except for a current power cut (the first since we arrived) the world’s emergencies and catastrophes seem very, very far away indeed. Our biggest disturbance is when Rambo and Rocky – two mixed German Shepherds – are released to roam the grounds and cannot accept “NO!” for an answer when they insist on playing with you. Family from Bangalore joined us at Clayfingers a couple of days ago. Father and mother are still here – they’ve camped out since their new home is under construction – but son Asish (jewelry store owner) left last night to return to his business in his brand new Mercedes-Benz white sedan. Very nice guy though with a canvas full of body tattoos.
I’ve taken to walking down the road early in the morning at sunrise to catch all the Keralans trooping into the numerous temples for morning puja. Like the surroundings, they too are quiet and serene. But then, unlike Indians from the North, Punjab, for example, Keralans tend to be on the quiet, polite and friendly side. It’s one of the main reasons why I love it here so much. The road I walk curves around a large pond (two acres is my guess) and sometimes I catch a slim, dhoti clad youngster with a shepherd’s crook leading a dozen cows out to graze at its edge. Four or five white herons with their tall, skinny legs, are already fishing.
Exploring this once vast brick factory, I’ve been discovering hidden passageways and rooms scattered throughout the old factory. The main floor, about half a football field in area, has literally thousands of clay pots of every shape and size imaginable. There are also cooking vessels, cups, serving dishes and dinner plates. As it turns out, we bought a couple of their pots – soup bowls, actually – a couple of years ago in Kochi without knowing that they were made here.
Then there’s the food. We have three cooks, all home cooks, who prepare really tasty Keralan dishes for us. Mainly vegetarian with the occasional fish curry and crunchy fried sardines thrown in. Dlosa's, Appum, puttu, nutty Keralan rice, sambar, boiled plantain, all eaten with one's fingers from a glossy green banana leaf! It’s all so bloody healthy!
Have A Great Day!
Have A Great Day!