On the broad playing fields across the lane, boys are playing soccer. They appear to be ethnic Tamil–dark skin, black hair; later, it will be cricket. I’ve seen girls their age en route to school in crisp white and blue uniform, hair pulled back in braids, walking in pairs or being dropped off by their fathers. The academic institutions they attend are typically run by the Catholic church. Just now two buses went by from schools: St. Mary’s and Canossian Convent.
This area is a vast remnant of a coastal colony: Portuguese and then Dutch with pockets of Syrian Christian and Dutch or Portuguese Jews among them. Little is evident of the pockets, except for churches and a synagogue, as these populations died out, emigrated, or intermarried and disappeared. The people here are quite beautiful in greater numbers than I have observed elsewhere, it seems, and my bias is that this is due to the mingling.
Dosas are the way to start the day: Rice crepes, paper thin, stuffed with a small mash of potato spiced with salt, pepper, and is it cinnamon, with fried onions, and two little sambal of coconut and tomato, nutmeg, red pepper, and cloves.
The daily heat is so intense that a mid-day meal isn’t necessary even after a three mile walk to what’s called Jew Town: Two lanes of chatchka shops leading to the synagogue.
What’s lovely about Fort Cochin is the quiet and the ability to walk everywhere: Back streets have homes and shops of locals, and with a reported 90% literary rate, a middle class is growing.
The plan today, yesterday, and tomorrow is to do as little as possible except read (“All About H. Hatterr”) and write (book on chefs).
We shall see, we shall see…