Sunday 31 August 2014

#81 India

When Rich met Lisha three years ago in London, I wonder if he started to imagine what the marriage ceremony might be like. It's entirely possible that he did. Still, for all of us that flew to the south Indian state of Kerala for the wedding this weekend, it was a special event.

We arrived several days before the weekend and spent a day and a half shopping for clothing, including a trip to the city of Kochi's largest and finest silk store. Scores of brightly coloured maidens and young men flocked to assist and tailor our garments, which we chose from the many bright and golden materials adorning the walls of the store.

Before shopping, we ate at a restaurant next to the silk store. Fish curry is popular in Kerala and the chefs like to use a lot of coconut in their dishes. The locals eat with their right hand, which we did later during our stay. For now, we tentatively requested forks.

The wedding itself took place over a day and a half, in the jungle town of Muvattupazha. It was monsoon season, so umbrellas were provided, even when walking to the coaches that ferries us between between the hotel, the church and the bride's parents' house. They had been there for a month already, decorating their home and arranging for the two hundred guests several three course meals and many ceremonies and entertainments. There were dancers, singers, musicians and fire jugglers. At the church, we were greeted by rows of drummers and a large decorated elephant.

Some of the local customs were unusual. The hotel waiters sometimes only took orders from the men at the table and even when asked for things by the women, brought them to the men. The rice pudding dessert was spicy. The hotel elevator contained a light switch, so you could ascend the floors in total darkness. That last one was kinda cool.

India is a dirty, smelly, over-populated and materialistic country. It is also beautiful and raw. The people are sincere, polite, hard-working and have an admirable appreciation of family and spirit. Kochi is a growing city and hopefully in the next five to ten years, development of its massive above-ground metro will be complete.

This week, I have enjoyed being wealthy (a decent restaurant meal costs between £2 and £4) and stared at like a celebrity as I walk around (I saw two other white people in the city this week outside of the wedding guests). Most of the locals were very friendly. The city, particularly the mainland, is pretty much untouched by tourism and is a very safe place to visit.

Sunday 24 August 2014

#80 Bank holiday weekend

Uncertainty, my strangest friend
You're back again, just like before
Wherever did you come from?
Wherever did you go?

Every time, you leave a trail
Your cargo heavy like a snail
I hope one day, I will prevail
But when I do not know

We like to wrestle here and there
and I'm on top when it begins
Somehow my old friend always wins
and then he goes away

One day I'll wake up next to you
and still not knowing what to do
will hug you till the moment's through
Cause that's all friends can ever do.

Saturday 9 August 2014

#79 The Inbetweeners 2

I was pretty excited about watching the latest Inbetweeners movie. I hadn't been to the cinema since the last Harry Potter film was released three years ago but the promise of well-established characters being transferred into yet another predictable environment lured me back. If some typical English boys' transitions to maturity being drawn out well into their twenties in a light-hearted way didn't put London's keisters on its seats then I didn't know what would.

Sitting through the trailers, I at once realised what I'd been missing. Bill Murray, at 63 was playing some layabout loser, who liked to knock back the liquor. There was a film with that Irish guy from the IT crowd in it. Oh and another film about a big maze. I did in fact want to watch more of all of them but I wasn't sure how long the novelty of each would last.

That was definitely the problem of cinema for me. My life may have appeared intolerably dull to an outsider but inside my own mind, I was constantly surfing a never-ending wave of circular thoughts, fuelled largely by work, sleep, fast food, my own mortality and shortcomings and near-constant internet access. Whenever a two hour film came along, I automatically became bored half-way through and wanted to play with my phone. Except that I couldn't because I was in a sodding cinema. In the middle of a row.

I laughed quite a lot up until that point and overall I thought it was a fine movie. It was absurdly unrealistic right from the start. This was a good example of a film not being quite true to the original series that preceeded it, which was pretty much a horrifyingly realistic portrayal of sixth-form life, at least at the school that I went to. A relatively entertaining effort to milk the show nonetheless.