Saturday, January 8, 2011

Trivandrum to Allepey

Catholic idols enshrined behind oily glass - lime-green mosques with speakers poking out of minarets - Hindu temples with air conditioning units jammed in between the concrete slats, cold stone goddesses guarding the entrances - stern swamis or gurus or politicians, I couldn't tell you which, preaching to bored crowds - Brilliance college, Futureplus Institute of Tech, dozens and dozens of diploma mills at every turn - hammer and sickle, sickle and grain tattooed upon the walls - an ad for mango pickle, the model licking her wrist in delight - Office of the Circle Inspector - slightly weak-jawed girls, thin noses, full lips walking by, many pretty but none beautiful - a boy hacking apart a refrigerator, strips of white insulation scattered about - my stomach climbing into my heart, more ravenous than sick - goats high-stepping through reedy grass underneath coconut-laden palm trees, palm trees upon palm trees every rising up green firework head and smoke-tail trunk, waving timelessly in the breeze - slick rippled backs of skirted men lifting boulders onto trucks - Kalyan silks - Malayam script loopy and fanciful, or solid and blocky - Arabic words like the doodles of a bored child - the thin horn of the bus, angry buzz of the rickshaws forced from the incoming lane to shoulder - Famous Power Tools - sad rusty bicycles - sacred cows veins coursing popped dragging carts led by old men with withered legs - young boys carrying computer towers on the back of motorcycles - a lonely politician's statue in the tall weeds - druggists, chemists, ayurvedics - a pretty girl gets on the bus at the next stop - I wink at her and she smiles back: the world is never as foreign as it seems.

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