Servant vultures and ceramic knickers

Day 47 (something went funny and my life extended by a few days, this day should now be correct)

We spent 2 nights in an old hillside concrete cottage in Gudalore with Jose and Asha, looking out towards the giant tea covered hills of Ooty. Jose was a 57 year old limping diabetic. He was the same age as my father yet spent all day sitting idle in his tiny battery shop waiting for what he expressed to be one customer per day. Meal times consisted of my father and I sitting alone at the the large wooden table while the man and wife did not join us for the meal but stood behind us, watching fervently like servant vultures until our plates were barren. Being their first foreign guests, perhaps they watched us with unashamed curiosity in how we found pleasure in their food, or diligence in assuring assuring we did not become unhappy should it happen that our plate became void of chapatis. "Try some of this", "One more of these". We were almost spoon fed. My father found this particularly unnerving. A steady stream of friends and neighbours kept arriving at the door to meet these western visitors. We took a day trip by bus up to the hill station town of Ooty to feel the cool air, wander through the botanical garden and hunt out a box of masala tea before bussing back to  Gudalore for another night of observed feeding with our hospitable hosts.

Day 48

We cycled on with many ups and downs through tea plantation hills. My mind saw them as a beautiful field of densely packed green warts. My fathers tortoise shell description is perhaps more pleasant. Our intended host, Thomas's sister, had to rush off to the hospital so we found a bus shelter for a cold rock hard attempt at sleep. Although rather inhospitable, it was reassuringly disinfected with urine and abundant in night time well wishers arriving on motor bikes, police rickshaws and buses to peer in at us.

Day 49

We sped dangerous and free over 12 km of steep down hill hair pin bends to reach the forested home/tropical fish farm of Babu, a relative of Thomas's but completely unrelated in terms of his alternative ideas. At his table we learnt about the ancient Indian philosophy of Vastu Shastra, a set of geometric rules for designing the home in order to ensure good fortune to its inhabitant; much like and Indian slant on feng shuey. These rules may have derived from logic though now appear rather superstitious.

The house must be a gridded quadrilateral
No corners can be cut
Each corner is assigned to a particular god.
The floor must slope down towards the north east where a clean water source should be located
By no means should the sewage tank be placed in the south west corner which is assigned as the entrance for the god of death. (This brings very bad luck. I guess the grim reaper is not deterred by a few feces.)

Babu seems to have spent a substantial amount of money modifying his home in order to amend some of the features conflicting with the laws of vastu shastra and swears that his luck improved thereafter.

He also introduced us to the technology of bioceramic socks. Not designed for a modern day Cinderella but intended to help people with arthritus, healing wounds and sickness. Each sock is covered in tiny ceramic tiles deriving from NASA space shuttle technology. They claim that these tiles can reflect body heat back into the body in the form of far infra red rays. These rays have just the right frequency to vibrate human body cells to promote heating, circulation, healing, weight loss and improvement of bodily functions. My small research leads me to beleive that maybe there is some science behind these spotty sockes and underwear. My father being a fan of obscure remedies, accepted a very old pair of Mrs Babu's spotty ceramic knickers to put to experimental test.

1 comment:

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