Through the night, rain had fallen and I would wake when it stopped. A�At six I noticed it seemed to taking a breather and I took off for what will turn into a splendid walk. A�At the corner a local gentleman with his large black umbrella greeted me and one thing led to another and we were now walking his neighbourhood -I was thirsty and he got his buddy who was feeding small fish to cats to feed me water too.
Why are there so many cats, Thomas? I asked
Yesterday after check in as i lay marvelling the old wooden door, A�shrieks of a baby had me jump out of my skin. A�Loud, clamorous and demanding, i discovered it was a cat at the staff kitchen door, loudly reminding them of not being fed. A�Later at arty Kashi Cafe, lots of kittens were looking for dinner and i enjoyed giving them since they were smooth and silent.
There is not one dog, street or house pet to be seen. A�This is cat country. A�Fort Kochi likes its cats. A�’We love our cats’ says Thomas. Could be historic – Co-chin (like china)
Thomas showed me his school- he is 73 and a sprightly man who still run a trading business.
There is a hartaal (trade curfew) today over a Muslim – Hindu wedding where the girl was being coerced into conversion and her family won the case in court so the Muslims declared a trade curfew. A�Shops are closed and its nice to amble along the Brunton Boatyard and little shack with men reading their papers and Che Guevara painted boldly on the walls. A�I am searching for Fort House with my memories of ’96 when Mrs Thomas was setting it up and we would cook together while i stayed in the first completed room… it has changed- all for the better. A�The yellow fort wall has a mural – the narrow wood door is now a wide big open door leading to trees that she had planted then, now resplendent and diverse- straight ahead is the sea – on the sides, behind the trees the rooms and the restaurant along the stone platform waves lash against.
In 96 a dear friend Gul Anand had suddenly died and i recall grieving him here. A�It was winter, the waters were blue, now with the monsoon, grey and thick. A�Giant container ships pass by and small boatmen also lay their plastic nets carefully. A�I sat on a stone slab and mediated on these twenty intervening years and grateful to be here.
As the fruit plate arrive and i took this shot- suddenly the sky darken and a massive rainstorm took off. A�Almost anywhere i sat the spray could not be escaped- i was reading from wet pages of Americanaah and the story got much better.
An hour later, a little cold, I peeled away from Ifemelu and treated myself to my all time favourite Appam and veg stew. A�Sitting in a thatched restaurant with the rain singing her songs, it just has to be the most memorable breakfast. A�Worried about the boatman’s net though. A�Cochin likes Fidel Castro- but just outside fort house Che had a wall to himself…. talking about art- there is a lot more public art than before… the biennale has made a difference- even the parks and street walls have installations and murals. A�Its a walking town where you feed cats or they holler.