India – week one

India – week one

Namaste from a hot and sticky Goa; I arrived a week ago to torrential rainstorms,  with flooded roads,  fallen trees and bolts of lightning ripping across the sky – and so feared a repeat of last year’s cyclone.  But it seemed to blow through overnight and since then we have enjoyed hot, dry days,  all day, every day.

My time seems to be shaping up and finding its own rhythm.  In the mornings I do some yoga on my balcony and then sit down to work on my novel.  At around noon I wander out and find some brunch – a masala omelette, or a bhaji puri (seen here: puffed up flat breads served with a mild vegetable curry).

Other “menue” (sic) options available to me include:

Musile with milk

Fried eggs on toasts

Fried eggs on toasts w. bacons

Conflakes w. banana milk

Portion sassage

Heinz bakked beans, on toasts

I then spend the rest of the afternoon on the beach,  reading, observing and making notes on things as they occur to me.  It’s been lovely to see so many old friends again,  including Mama,  my favourite fruit seller.  I’ve now started buying up about half of her basket’s worth of fruit and then giving it away (instead of money, obviously) to the many children who work and beg on the beach.

My reading has, ironically,  been somewhat disrupted by my use of a Kindle;  I bought one in September,  thinking that it would be THE perfect device for a bookworm who loves to travel and who usually has to take along an extra suitcase just to carry her reading material.  And so,  in that regard,  it has proved to be; although it felt really quite odd to be packing for a month-long trip and not taking c. 30 paperbacks with me,  the lightness and ease of use of the Kindle has proved to be a wonderful thing.

What I hadn’t bargained for,  however,  was the keen level of interest shown by the locals in this new appliance – they all want to know what it is, what it does,  how it works,  does it play music too,  how much does it cost (my answer of “about 10,000 rupees” is always followed by a gasp of horror and a reappraisal of me as a particularly rich and extremely mad foreigner).  I’ve found myself using analogies such as: “it’s like an iPod for books” and “the words come in here [tap] like an SMS comes to your phone” in order to explain how books magically appear in this tiny, light, device.  But mostly they seem amazed that someone would want to read so much that they’d spend that much money on a gizmo to enable them to do so. A few days ago,  I had about 20 people crouching around my sun lounger,  passing the Kindle around between themselves,  shaking and tapping it, chattering,  laughing,  asking me questions and generally looking amazed.

So I think I can be known as the first person to Kindle-ise this part of Goa.

Unfortunately,  I haven’t managed to see Renuka yet;  I went over to Rainbow House on the day after I arrived and the road was blocked,  so we had to turn back.  We then had another attempt a few days later and I arrived there,  only to discover that the home was locked and bolted,  with not a child in sight. I enquired of a passing lady and she managed to communicate via her tiny bit of English and my pidgin Hindi,  that all the children were “at a programme in Panjim” – what that means,  I’m not sure.  So I’ll have another go later this week.

And now – back to chapter 4.  More here next time I can get on-line,  which has proved to be far more difficult than on my previous trips.


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