Saturday, December 24
Villa Maya, 21:00
Sometime before dawn I woke to the sound of loud music nearby.
At first I thought of political rallies, then neighbourhood parties, and finally the temple. It sounded to my untutored ears more like the Indian equivalent of Bing Crosby singing White Christmas than devotional music, so either I completely misunderstood or the swami in charge of the temple has a sly sense of humour.
I went back to sleep, although Bing infiltrated the rest of my dreams.
Naa and I spent the day at home listening, reading, and sometimes talking. Irma took Anil’s rickshaw to Kovalam Junction to look at the herbal remedies shop as well as the new, local branch of Fabindia.
I put down a book called Inter View, a dialogue between James Hillman and an Italian writer whose name does not appear anywhere on the cover. Say hello to Laura Pozzo, who also owns none of the copyright, fact fans. Anyone wishing to define the words dreary and self-important might consider starting with the first chapter in which Mister Hillman waxes eloquently on the impossibility of the interview as a form of communication or expression.
Instead I read through a copy of Monocle that Irma had given me, and found myself starting to put thoughts together again. I recognised that I had begun to arrive. Seconds later I recognised that as a dreary and self-important thing to even contemplate thinking.
At 18:30 the taxi arrived, driven by Santhosh, and we left for Villa Maya in Trivandrum. A few short cuts down alleys and paths bypassed the heavy traffic and got us there on time. To our surprise the restaurant had relatively few customers when we arrived. We had booked months ago from Helsinki but we might have overestimated its popularity.
Naa started with French onion soup while Irma and I had beetroot soup. Then we all had crab salad. Irma had chicken for her main course, Naa had beef roulade, and I had (very) spicy lamb.
Finally we arrive at dessert. Irma has a creme brulée, and Naa and I have sticky toffee pudding. It tastes as good as it looks. It contains so much fruit that it could pass as an avant garde Christmas pudding. If I didn’t feel full before I certainly do now.
When my tea comes I will have eaten so much that I will have to leave the three little delicacies that come with it.
We had planned on sitting on the terrace and having a drink when we got home. However we will arrive feeling so full that we will say goodnight and go straight to our beds.