‘Even a plant that has died can come back to life during the rains.’ (Umesh, restaurant owner)
What’s on top
The monsoon is imminent. One evening we actually felt cold and rued abandoning our fleeces, jumpers and warm socks in Delhi. It has an effect on wildlife. In the guesthouse we saw a biggish snake about to eat a very big frog, before being chased out. There was another smaller snake in the guesthouse a couple of days ago, as it was being chased out it ran under another guest’s door and he had to be woken up to alert him.
I got a rickshaw into town one day, we later met the man and found he has a restaurant, a small local place at the other end of our road, near tiny shops and stalls where we bought bananas. We promised to go and get breakfast there next week. Exploring, trying out this new area was quite exciting and made us feel strangely enlivened, even though it isn’t at all far away. My husband said that maybe it’s because we aren’t doing much, that a little bit of change has an effect. A few days earlier, we had felt restless, and even went to look at some other guesthouses, before realising that where we are is still the best (for now anyway).
We’ve been in Kerala for a month but it was only a couple of days ago that I had a beer, for the first time since Goa and realised that alcohol is restricted in this state. It is legal in bars and Government liquor stores but not in all restaurants. My beer was served in a large mug and the can put discreetly under the table because of the police. Sometimes groups of men come to the guesthouse and rent a room just for the evening to socialise and drink.
Rahul, who works at the guesthouse nine months out of twelve has gone back to his family in Assam, over 3,500 miles and a three day train journey away. We used to chat to him every day, swapping language tips and photos of home and he and my husband played carrom together. R, a guest from Switzerland who we had some interesting talks with has also left. We and a permanent resident who works at the temple are the only guests now.
After two months of eating out for every meal, we’ve been enjoying making porridge in the guesthouse kitchen. Oats and bananas are easily available with dried fruit and soya milk sold in some places. Cooking, even something so simple as porridge, has been very nice, and the porridge has tasted especially good, maybe because it’s a taste of home.
My favourite food to eat out at the moment is Gobi Manchurian, cauliflower but not as you know it. Battered and either ‘dry’ (deep fried with caramelised onions) or ‘with gravy’ (softer in a delicious rich sauce). I wince at the thought of school dinner cauliflower and what the chefs here would think of that!
I’ve been doing quite a bit of yoga and experiencing little moments of ease and awareness; of being able to be kind to myself and flexible re my routine as well as get things done (something I really struggle with). Also a sense of arriving in my own body, being happy with what I see and not comparing myself to others (another thing I struggle with).
Rain has meant a lovely Sunday afternoon type feeling, watching a film in the daytime as rain poured down outside. When the film finished it had stopped raining, it was still light outside and we went out to eat. As well as the sound of rain there’s the sound of hard green fruits hitting the tin roof at regular intervals and the almost incessant barking and/or howling of dogs.
What I’ve been watching
Thirteen reasons why (Season one, I’m a late convert)
What I’ve been reading
Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh (about Partition)
(So basically Partition and the nature of consciousness, with a bit of High School misery thrown in.)
I’ve worked really hard this week and completed a draft of Chapter One (actually more like chapters 1, 2, and 3). This covers the period of how we got here: Nothing to lose but our dignity (the idea); No half measures (the decluttering and giving up everything); The Matrix fights back (obstacles and temptations). There’s still polishing and editing and probably some moving about to be done, but I am leaving it alone for now.
Yesterday I started work on Goa, which is where we went after Delhi. It was really interesting reading my notes and blogs from that time. I think I feel a lot stronger and more confident than I did then.
Today I just worked on this blog post. Last week and this week I have ring fenced Friday only as the blog day and the rest of the week for the book. The good thing about this is that it separates the two nicely, especially as at the moment the book work is about previous months not where we are now.
It also ensures the book work gets done; writing the book is hard work and the blog is more fun. It’s also written in the present tense and so seems more lively than the book. Plus it allows me to change my opinions week by week. I intend to complete the book, but I think in an ideal world I’d be a blogger rather than a book writer. But maybe that’s just what I think this week.
The disadvantage of not starting the blog post until Friday is if like today I get distracted by talking and don’t start the blog until later then it’s a bit more pressure but hey, it’s not like I’ve got anything else to do.
Thank you for reading
See you next week