Thursday, June 2, 2011

Playing Host

Summers and you don different garbs. You play host, tour, work, and generally are the verge of losing it when school reopens, monsoons come and life returns to normal. In the following weeks I will recollect some of the abnormal experiences. Here is first one.

Husband's co has a stockist in Bangalore who came down to visit Kochi. The Husband and wife duo were made for each other measuring not an inch above five feet, equally clueless about what to expect and equally carried by those lovely houseboat pics that tourism offices put up around the world. And to top it all, they were pure vegetarians -Jains( mostly ultra orthodox sect who won't have any vegetable that grows underground, won't dine at a veg+ non veg restaurant and even not like the vegetarian fare around). Jain tourists usually cook their own food or bring packed food for foreign tours!

We had to take them around Cochin and spend the day with them. Our guests originally belonged to Rajasthan but had been living in Bangalore for last 35 years. They had two grown up children who had recently married. So the couple were out for their second honeymoon.

They arrived late morning. We started with Mattanchery. By the time we reached the Jewish synagogue , it was closed for siesta and was to reopen by 3pm. So I tried to engage their interest in antique jewellery and furniture shops of Jew Town. But they were unamused and the lady kept repeating that they would get cheap stuff in Kolkatta where they shopped for daughter's wedding. I however continued my efforts to generate interest. But their bored looks made us try another attempt which was taking them to Fort Kochi, the place known for the Chinese fishing nets. But the decision was wrong. The beach and wharf stank of fish and the lady was almost blue in face closing noseand mouth. Her eyes pleaded rescue which we promptly did and took them to one of the oldest churches in the area. Another lesson learnt-Jains are not interested in churches even if they have Portugese inscription, centuries old Punkahs and nice wooden pews.Evey now and then, they would ask, "Will we going on a houseboat today?" to which we would be patient and say that good houseboat tours are in neighbouring dist. Alappuzha and that they can go on one the next day or the day after. But no avail. The question was a good example of periodic motion and was put to us at regular intervals.

After lunch from a Gujrati restaurant, we took them again to the synagogue. I tried to explain Jews and Judaism to the uninterested couple who made a face looking at the paintings depicting arrival and progress of Jews in Kerala. I ranted on my knowledge. At last they asked a question "Ganne ka juice jaisa
"( Like cane juice?)

That shut me up for the rest of day. I have answered some weird questions in life but this was too much.

P.S This just a humourous generalisation. I know many saner Jains.