Wednesday, January 9
Lighthouse Beach, 9:54
I started the day with some light exercise followed by a light breakfast. At 10:00 I went to the beach for a massage at Manthra.
I arrive ten minutes early so I walk past Manthra down to Leo and onto the seafront. I look at the early risers already sunbathing or swimming. I photograph the waves, already quite forceful.
I will return for my massage, given today by Shiju. I will say hello to Anu, who now spends his days giving ten-day treatments to regulars who will accept nobody except him. I will see a couple of the regulars as they ruffle his hair and check this afternoon’s appointment times: two blonde middle-aged Russian women, grinning with wealth.
Shiju will give me a noticeably different massage from Anu. It will feel less painful but he will also crack my toes as well as my fingers, which I didn’t even know one could do.
He will finish by telling me that he has his own panchakarma centre, Ayurtheeram, opposite the beer parlour by Fabindia; clearly implying that I could cut out the middleman next time.
I will get home to find that Irma has talked with Anib, who had phoned to say that we could regard one of the fitted cupboards as ours now, and store things there for next year. The fourth trunk might now have no function at all.
Returning to Lighthouse Beach later, Irma will take some sandals for the cobbler in the alley to mend, before we walk to a turning and find Uday working with his sewing machine in Sabu’s shop in another little alley.
Uday will walk us to yet another little alley where we will sit drinking chai and chatting. We will realise that we have never walked down this alley before. We will say goodbye and spend fifteen minutes walking through a maze of little shops and restaurants that neither of us can remember seeing before.
We will both suddenly think about how much this would have pleased Auo. She used to love finding new places. “Let’s go down here and see what’s there”, she would say, almost anywhere we went: cycling through the woods in Helsinki, walking down the road in Chelsea, exploring the alleys in Kovalam.
We will suddenly find ourselves in familiar territory, and walk back along the sea front, stopping in Santana to have a drink and watch the sun set.