Impressions from a coastal village in Karnataka

“We need eggs.”

“That shouldn’t be too difficult to find.”

The neighbour’s hen visits often, tailed by her chicks. Little A has been trying to make friends with the chicks. But they only want to play catch-me-if-you-can.

“I am not going to look for where they laid their eggs. Though a walk would be nice.”

There’s a shop that sells daily needs.

“Do you’ve peas?” He can’t understand me. I don’t know Kannada. I keep promising myself to start learning when my kid starts it in next grade.

‘Baṭāṇi’ – google translate to the rescue.

“You mean green peas!” The shopkeeper says in Hindi. He shows me a packet of dried peas. “We don’t get fresh peas often. You just need to soak these for three hours before cooking.”

Everything else is there. I would make spinach for lunch and pilaf for dinner.

“Are you staying at beach guest house? I can arrange for anything you need, just tell me a day in advance.” The shopkeeper knows the guest house owner, the caretaker, and everyone else. Everyone in the village knows everyone else – those with the green coloured house, or those in the pink house, the house with big brown gate, and the two houses that are now serving as guest houses.

“Do you need milk? ice creams – are there ? rasam powder?” he asks trying to help me in case I am forgetting any other essentials.

Yesterday I borrowed turmeric from the caretaker lady – ariśina – she was wearing a blue nightie. Today it’s a pink one – so far I haven’t seen her repeat a nightie. It’s the preferred work attire of the local ladies. The older ones manage in sarees – working in the fields or while digging cockles from the beach.

“Jalja Bai makes very good marwai, but you don’t get good fish here anymore.”

Locals take their nets to the sea several times in a day. A group of fishermen scours the shoreline every evening. They catch a handful of catfish and a lot of trash.

We’ll find good fish at our next stay, near Malpe.

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