Friday, December 23
We ate breakfast in some trepidation. The man who had arranged for Irma to play the guest of honour at something somewhere on Christmas Day had promised that someone would come about 10:00 this morning to take her photograph for the poster.
10:00 came and went and no photographers appeared. We began to wonder what this might mean for the 25th. Will we get up and get dressed and wait to see if someone collects us at 8:30? How should we dress? Irma made a decision: we will wait and see, and do nothing more.
We decided to go to Trivandrum because Naa wanted something to read. Irma phoned yesterday’s taxi driver and he sent his friend, Kanaak, who arrived about midday.
We went to the Modern Book Centre and looked around to see what we could find. I found Small Is Beautiful, which I have wanted to reread; Naa bought two novels, one of which I definitely want to read; and Irma bought an armful of magazines.
We then went to Pothys. Several people had told us that we should go there instead of Big Bazaar. We dutifully started at the top and worked our way down, through all seven floors, to the food at ground level. This took almost three hours, during which we found little or nothing we couldn’t have found at Big Bazaar in less time. I wondered if we had missed the point somehow.
Suddenly we have finished shopping for the day. We have groceries enough to last us most of the rest of the trip. We drive back through Trivandrum and I take photographs out of the car window. For a second the traffic clears and I catch a rickshaw and some motorbikes at a crossing.
I see no tiny Tata Nano cars. People I ask tell me that people have not bought them in anything like the amount Tata expected. Even people who can afford them still, by and large, choose to ride motorcycles.
We will get home and begin eating our groceries.