Through the night, rain had fallen and I would wake when it stopped. At six I noticed it seemed to taking a breather and I took off for what will turn into a splendid walk. 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, shrieks of a baby had me jump out of my skin. Loud, clamorous and demanding, i discovered it was a cat at the staff kitchen door, loudly reminding them of not being fed. 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. This is cat country. Fort Kochi likes its cats. ‘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. 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. 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. 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. It was winter, the waters were blue, now with the monsoon, grey and thick. Giant container ships pass by and small boatmen also lay their plastic nets carefully. 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. 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. Sitting in a thatched restaurant with the rain singing her songs, it just has to be the most memorable breakfast. Worried about the boatman’s net though. 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. Its a walking town where you feed cats or they holler.