Friday, November 10, 2006

Arrival-God's Country

Originally uploaded by kathrynparry41.
The plane touched down only 2 hours late, a record for India.

As I walked down the steps of the aircraft, I was deep in conversation with an Indian family I had met on the plane, they were concerned that I would have to pay for a taxi to Fort Cochin, instead they wanted me to accompany me them in the car that had arranged to met them.

I felt guilty to take them out of their way, as I was certain they were only obliging for my satisfaction contrary to their pleading that it was actually where they were going. Indian hospitality is like that, people seem to want to go out of there way to help.

Without knowing if this is certain I think that people's faith rests with some sought of karma that is increased when you do good deeds for others.

I am reading an intersting novel at the moment that talks about the heart of India and describes the country as one with spades of love and compassion and whilst I agree that this is a fair assertion, it feels disconcerting to me given the raw poverty and suffering that obviously exists.

My refusal was eventually accepted by the family with decorum and good grace and I left them after they gave me their phone number and contact details promising that if anything happened to me I would call them immediately.

In the taxi I was amazed to see us pass a sign that said 'Parry's Corner' could this be true, deep in India's south was there really an area that bore my name. I made a mental note to investigate in the morning.

I headed to the Sonetta Residency on Princess Street and arrived to met the charming Mr Singh, he was aged in his mid sixties and wore black rimmed glasses that made him look like an aged Buddy Holly Indian style. His greeting was warm and friendly, he was epically pleased to have an Australian in his house for his two sons lived in Cairns.

Settling in with a cup of tea and a photo album, Mr Singh showed me pictures of his trip to Australia in 1996. My eyes were tired but his enthusiasm and love of my country was catching and I felt not to oblige him would break his heart.

As we sat and night fell, Mr Singh told me of his wife death a few months earlier and I felt that I knew his pain.

The next morning, I awoke later than usual (the frightening hour of noon) and headed to a nearby cafe. It was filled with artistic types and a TV crew that followed me order my omelet and then proceed to film me eating it. I am starting to think that maybe I am really famous here?

Afterwards I set about exploring the fort, a strange name considering I saw no obvious signs of the forts existence. I walked alone the shore and past the Chinese fishing nets and was greeted perhaps a little too friendly by some locals, they called me to sit and talk with them instead I keep walking content with my own company.

I took few photos instead just wandered aimlessly through the streets stopping to admire the churches and feel the European vibe the place omits in spades. Some of the buildings are covered in vines and worn paint peels off.

After covering the fort in my small walking tour I decided to have an early night and get up bright and chirpy for my backwater tour.

Sleep evaded me that evening and I was extremely grumpy and irritable by morning time. It was not Cochin's fault of course, instead I closed my eyes and was anxious about my trip to England just like I was about my trip to Asia only months before.

For fans of God of Small Things-

If you visit Cochin you begin to understand how Arundhati Roy could write with such delicacy and description in the God of Small Things, whilst I was never the books biggest fan I did appreciate her ability to manipulate language and the obvious smarts she possessed to make writing with color and flair seem easy.

I grew to love and despise Arundhati at the same time after reading the novel but after a stay in her heartland, I began to understand that her ability was obviously natural and raw but helped but a surrounding that is intrinsically beautiful.

Cochin makes that apparent.

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