At breakfast a puppy greeted me by biting my toes. ‘Ouch, they are sharp.’ I limped to the table. ‘Two months old today,’ said Periyasamy who remembers me for my orange bike rather than any other characteristics.
The Cardamom staff have been working here nearly all the years the guest house has been open. Shankar for twenty-five years. They are loyal and proud of their work, sincere and merry with their attitude; they worship Chris and enjoy the mixed company the guest house attracts. Periyasamy speaks with a theatrical, gracious voice as if he had once been a thespian and carried this confident clarity of the English verses from the boards to the audience and now the audience has changed, his manners and his deliverance of expression has not.
I walked into the nearest village, Athoor, some 7 kilometers away. At a street temple, formed from the hanging roots of a banyan tree, a goat was being stripped of its hide and intestines to please the Gods with a Sunday roast. I hope the Gods enjoyed the goat as much as the congregation.
Strangely in this far-flung village, away from the politics of the past is a church. A big church, bold and brightly adorned with the kitsch characters of the bible. During my personal tour, conducted by a jolly man and two alter boys, I am told three hundred worshiped this morning. It is a sight which is both strange and impressive.