This place mystifies me more and more everyday! I felt nicer in sleepy little Cuttack, sandwiched between two murky and often smelly rivers. Today, I took an auto rickshaw to Vazhuthacaud, which looks like it is in the centre of Trivandrum; at any rate, it’s not some isolated outpost. At 7.20 pm, the driver asks me for return fare – “I’m only asking for night fare,” he claims. Early to bed and early to rise, makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise (Psst: I don’t see the early rising happening). But I’m living in God’s Own Country, so god proposes, disposes and imposes.
I attended a rock concert here! I was pleasantly surprised to see the huge turnout. From toddlers in their parents’ laps to octogenarians, there were people across age groups, though, by the time the concert ended, two wizened little women sitting in the first row looked quite mortified. But they were brave enough to stay on – many who turned up expecting an evening of traditional French music with a few jarring beats here and there ran away after the first two songs. As always, the Mallu men were very enterprising when it came to being lecherous. A group of them sat down next to me, and after eyeing me for a while, the boy closest to me leaned over and asked, “Would you like to dance with me?” I ideally wanted to retort, “Do I look like I want to do anything more that pounding your head to paste with a huge mortar and pestle and then feeding it to the crows? By the way, have you seen me kick with my left leg? I’ve injured it now, but if I kick real hard, you could be in Kovalam now. And I’ve been waiting for an excuse to buy a new umbrella, so let’s see if this rust-coated old rod breaks into two or cracks your skull.” (What rambling, what violence!) But the decibel level was so high, my soliloquy would have been wasted on them. So I just looked bored instead.
I also ran into a CPI protest march today. Malayalam may be the language of the masses, but Hindi seems like the language of protest. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if I heard right, most of the slogans were in Hindi. And the ubiquitous ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ made its presence felt more than once. It made me feel like I was back in JNU. However, all the posters were in Malayalam, so I still don’t know what they were protesting about.
Chapattis here are made of maida and roasted or made of wheat and fried! I’m not too happy with the MTR Ready-to-Eat vegetables – they are oil slicks and make everything smell like they’ve been produced in the Lohit mess kitchen (but I still go buy them - I can't believe I'm so desperate I've been reduced to salivating about mess food). So I might keep deluding myself and going gaga about all the weight I’ve lost, but for all I know, I’ll come back fatter than I ever was. It takes almost an hour to cook rice on this cavernous gas stove I have. And I’m missing Amanda. Even boiled vegetables are welcome now! In Orissa, she acted as inspiration and I tried to make myself balanced meals (no matter how oily those were). Here, there’s only perspiration, perennially escaping LPG and boxes of burnt matchsticks. And watery rice and tapioca chips.