Today I’ve been meandering through, sheltering in and trying to photograph more of Kumily. I was taken by a bloke I met in another chai-shop to his office: a branch of a company that deals in organic fertiliser about a mile out of town in the appropriately named suburb/hamlet of ‘First Mile’.
Again, India has been fantastically welcoming and again I can’t put it into written words. I can put into words that I’m fairly pissed off with almost certainly losing 200 rupees and some clothing to Mr laundry-bloke, who was also my guide to Tirali, on my wee forest walk and to Kumily dam. (He said the 200 rupees would be a loan to get a cut on his head treated.)
His wound was real and so his request for money was reasonable in a country where free healthcare is far from automatic. I don’t care about 200 rupees: it’s under three pounds. I do care that I’ve been apparently lied to and I’m really annoyed that I’ve been a mug.
A smorgasbord of the last two days:
- coffee and card-games with the Gurjurati family in the hotel-room next to mine.
- potato curry and paratta at a wee food-godown
- cricket, jackfruit and sheltering from the rain with almost total (but totally friendly) strangers
- the beauty of India’s flora
- wry amusement that it’s taken me until my fifth decade to begin to appreciate flowers
- semi-directed meandering
- the effort India puts into decorating her goods-trucks
- the contrast of this with the lack of kerbstones on her new road surfaces
- cardomom-flavoured chai and conversations about commodity prices and agriculture
- rain, Malayalam(?) films and chai-stalls
- 5 separate offers of cannabis in under two hours
- frequent questions about my personal life (groan!)
- above all, the smiles and laughter of folk at the results when I take the photographs they request.