Vikshepa

Mental Distractions

23 Feb 2020

Kochi

There’s a nice little vegan dhaba around the corner that’s run by two Japanese women. Yesterday I arrived just a little early for lunch and so had to eat there a second breakfast; a kind of muesli that was was more like a bowl of smoothie. There I got talking to a young English guy called Joseph who was in India for the first time. He’d just been writing his diary. I was telling him about the many Malayalis who come to Israel and the Gulf countries. He’d read an article about the mistreatment of foreign workers in Dubai, and said that after reading it he’d decided to cross Dubai off his list of destinations. I said that if I started like that I would need to cross off Israel, where I live, and India, which I often visit, and there would be no end to it. He hadn’t heard a thing about the latest political developments in India and said that he’d stopped watching the news.

I had a better meal there today; a miso soup and plate of mixed vegies and beans; good and worth the money. The place is frequented by foreigners, as far as I can see. A young Indian man stopped by on his bike and asked for some juice – maybe papaya? The woman told him they didn’t have any. So he asked for a smoothie, and she also said she didn’t have any. So, a little flustered, he walked out. I wonder if my understanding of the situation was correct? If so, it may be that she had weighed him up in a certain way. He hadn’t sat down to read a menu, as other people would, but walked right up to the counter. Maybe she decided that he was really there because he’d seen a pretty foreign girl seated in front. Probably her reaction was based on some previous experience.

Yesterday I was seated at a juice bar, Kochi Walla, just next to the field where all the young guys play informal cricket games, all day long. Five guys were seated there, as usual, chatting away the evening. Their motor scooters were parked out in front. A man walked by wearing an immaculate white vesti and kameez. All the young guys politely got on their feet and greetings were exchanged. I decided this must be a local politician – someone they all evidently knew and felt required to show respect to. Next door there are a couple of small municipal buildings; one called the “village office”, which is a bit strange, for a city, and another which seems to house an anti-drugs program, as there lots of scary murals about the damage caused by drugs, on the surrounding wall.

Tags: india
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