Category: Uncategorized

Salawas Village

  Feb 22. Two days ago we flew from Cochin International Airport to Delhi and on to the town of Jodhpur in Rajasthan where we were picked up by Shambu, the second-oldest son of Chottaram Prajabat, owner of a homestay and weaving business in Salawas village catering to foreign tourists. We are here courtesy of Carpediem […]

Food

What about food in India? I wouldn’t know since we’ve only been here for a short while, and most of it here in the hill country of the Western Ghats near Vagamon, Kerala. Since we’ve arrived at our mountain lodge, courtesy of Miriam’s residency at Palette People, the home-cooked meals we are being served here three times a […]

Water

  The future of water is a big issue, we’ve been told. This entire area (Western Ghats), should be verdant but the grassland surrounding the tea plantations is brown and periodically burns. People who didn’t need to do so in the past are digging wells. The water level in the great Idukki dam area, the […]

Malayalam

Malayalam is a palindrome, as Molly, an educator and the wife of our host at Palette People, Cyril Jacob, pointed out when we met her at her tasteful and impeccably clean home in Cochin. Malayalam is also the main language of the state of Kerala, the first state in the world that voted in a communist […]

Clarinet

Sabbaticals are periods when you have the rare privilege of time at your disposal to do what you cannot otherwise. This is my second sabbatical in twenty-three years since starting at BU. In 2002-3 when I was eligible for my first sabbatical, I took a leave of absence instead to teach in Frankfurt and spend time with my mother […]

Why India?

You might well ask, what is Zank doing in India? Actually, few people call me “Zank” these days. Really only one person does, namely, our friend Guy, but it struck me as funny because that’s what they used to call me in school. Everyone was known by their last name, and not just during roll call. […]

Things that bubble up

As I am watching the last pink of the evening sky from our terrace, I think about the weird dreams and reminiscences that this time of pleasant idleness has begun to produce. Last night I dreamed about an undead twin, that was a Jewish me that kept getting up and denying that it was dead. Then […]

First order of business: establish routine

Day five in India and day two in Vagamon. Now it’s time to establish a routine so as not to fritter away this precious time. What better than to take the clarinet case for a walk and find a place to practice after a week-long hiatus. I found the perfect shady spot under a tree near Cyril’s […]

Vagamon, Kerala

Miriam and I arrived in Vagamon, a hill-station in the Western Ghats, about 100 km east of Kochi. Our host, Cyril Jacob, who gave us a ride, is a retired banker who created a little paradise on an eighty-acre lot where he cultivates tea and cardamom and has built a lodge he calls Green Meadows and where he […]

Kochi

It is shortly before 6am in Kochi, a port city in Kerala, on the famed coast of Malabar. Vasco da Gama was here, who left behind a Portuguese mission that was later joined by the Dutch East India Company. Kochi has the oldest functioning synagogue anywhere in the British Commonwealth. Though most of Jews of […]