Monday, January 9
Michael’s house, 11:45
The cat slept down on the ledge again last night. It seems to have decided that it can get up and down easily enough to feel happy doing it. It now has a private place to sleep and retreat to, and that hawks and eagles cannot reach because of the combination of bushes, trees and overhanging rocks. Dogs would find the descent impossible, and so only another cat could possibly find her. She has made a clever decision.
We got up and had no breakfast because, last week, Michael promised to make a traditional Kerala breakfast for us today at his house. So we will join Michael, Shiran and their younger daughter for breakfast at 10:30. Unfortunately the only time Irma can see the people from Street Dog Watch clashes with our arrangement so she will not join us.
At 10:30 Michael appeared at the house along with his eldest brother, a rickshaw driver. Naa and I rode down K. S. Road until we turned right into a maze of little roads. Eventually we arrived and his wife and daughter stood at the front of the house to greet us.
Michael presented us with a bright green, chilled and sweetened drink made from panikkora leaf from their garden, followed by fresh mint and lime juice. We then ate steamed noodles, egg, roti, pappadam, and a breakfast curry. We finished with a hot drink – in both senses – made from black pepper, fiery chillis, ginger and cane sugar.
After breakfast Michael takes us round the garden. They grow black pepper; coconuts; five kinds of chillis; jackfruit; mango; mint; papaya; tamarind; and other edible plants whose names I neither recognise nor remember. His brother reappears and everybody takes photographs of each other. Finally I photograph Shiran in front of the house.
We will arrive home with a packed breakfast for Irma, including a bottle of panikkora juice, which she will love.
Irma will return from the Dog Watch disappointed and worried. They obviously mean well but they appear to collect far more dogs than they manage to get adopted. Currently they have 84 dogs in big cages. Elvis would almost certainly end up living in a cage as a member of a pack. If we left him by the house, and told Molly, he would become part of the village pack – but without the cage.
Uday really liked Elvis when he first saw him, so we will take a rickshaw to the beach to talk to him. First we stop at The Viilage and spend a long time chatting with Christine. Naa will buy two tops and think about buying a new bedspread. We will leave when Christine decides she needs to go to the beach for an hour.
We will find Uday sewing away. When we explain the situation to him he will say yes with no hesitation at all. Everyone will feel relieved and happy, and in a mood to celebrate. We will walk down to Santana with Elvis for our celebration and an opportunity to say goodbye to Michael for another year.
At 18:00 Anib will come to say goodbye, because he will leave tomorrow to take Paru back to college. He might have business in Kochi when we arrive in March, and if so we will meet for a meal.