Featured image courtesy: Camaal Mustafa Sikan, Wikimedia Commons
Strangely, the most undesirable part of India because of the dust and heat hanging over Gujarat, holds my best memories. We visited distant relatives of my father-in-law fifteen kilometres from Jamnagar. The village was pronounced Jee-whupar, but for the life of me, I can’t find it on any map. I’m guessing it’s been swallowed up by Jamnagar, a city with dusty roads back then that I was anxious to leave.
Flying into Mumbai, the old familiar odour hit my senses as soon as I left the airport. Nothing seemed to have changed in my five-year absence. The traffic was chaotic, the sound of horns trumpeted the vast city, and the heat and humidity glued my clothes to my back. In spite of these discomforts, I was glad to return.
The Crunch is a hiking trail that goes from the base of Westwood Plateau up to Coquitlam’s Eagle Ridge Drive. It’s only just over two kilometres one way, but the walkway rises 280 metres — the equivalent of walking up an 80-storey building.
Four times I’ve left India. Two of those departures were by sea. First, I chugged across the Palk Strait from Rameswaram to Mannar Island. I’ve included this slow journey in a manuscript that has a section set in Sri Lanka.
From Mumbai, I travelled north-east to the Ellora, Hindu, Buddhist and Jain caves. They were cut into the side of a mountain over a thousand years ago. Even older, dating back to the first century were the Ajanta Buddhist caves. Some were elaborate, others simple, but all had a musty smell.
My mother cooked like most women of her era — boiled cabbage until it was limp and colourless, cooked meat until the final trace of blood was drained and then cooked it some more. Her spices were limited to mixed herbs and Keens curry powder, neither of which altered her dull, lifeless cooking.
When I stayed at Colva Beach in the 1970s, there were only two other tourists — one from Australia and an English guy who’d been travelling for seven years. No hoards of Europeans or drugs governed the quiet backwater beach back then. The biggest high we got was watching a local climb a coconut tree to retrieve young coconuts.