years old



vou ali
já volto
any requests may be addressed to heaven
i shall endeavour to reply in between
harp sessions



back to the land of
the (eternal) monsoon. home sweet ho
see you in a bit.


The Queen cometh

all along the watery contour of fort cochin, the excitement is immense, children splash in the shallow water holding intermittent hands with slightly more composed adults. the liquid border is theirs alone who are not afraid of wetting their clothes and in return receive unhindered views of the strait.
if your eyes are young, or if you strain your ageing ones across the canal, you may recognise a mirror atmosphere on the coast of vypeen, the neighbouring island. a mass of humans gently heaving in the distance, defined mostly by the occasional red of a sari or a t-shirt enticing one to fly emirates. the beach is clearly not enough, luckily the chinese fishing nets provide fragile jutting platforms for the most adventurous of youngsters. elbows already touch alien bellies, but there is easy laughter and a good-humoured willingness to make room for that five second group photo.

today is the day, cochin and environs are to receive an honour without equal – cochin alone in the whole of india, imagine -, one that confirms it as the city on the world’s lips. the Queen is coming, in fact she is already here and about to leave in between the frenetic cheers of half of kerala’s population. viperine tongues say, how curious that a general strike has been called in the entire state for this day only. doubting the socialistness of the gesture. heretics, heretics all.

unlike that royal visit to bom-mum-bay-bai in nineteen eleven, no need for a stone arc de triomphe to be erected in cochin. the Queen has not even been able to land, she has simply touched lips with land, mediated by slick protruding appendices. the build-up of human spirit, however, must have been similar nearly a century ago and a number of degrees further north.

she finally comes into sight braving the waves, seen first by those across the water in vypeen - their excited cry does not reach us -, then by the youths shouting from the tip of the fishing nets; finally her magnificence unfolds in full view of the entire crowd. and majestic she is, like no other on the blue earth, travelling in a serene height that leaves more than one of the spectators gasping for air.

the children lead the way with their crazed hand-waving and wholewheat yodelling, very soon the multitude joins in. with a long dull yawn as befits royalty, the Queen Mary Two or Second - opinion is divided on shore - salutes the stay-behinders and draws attention to the arm-wriggling ecstasy of the go-forthers being moved on her womb out of the ancient port.

when another yawn reaches from the west, the festival quickly dies out. not many stay behind as the ship painstakingly shrinks into mist, they’re taking its flat skyscraper monstrosity home on their digital cameras and mobile phones. the water has returned to opaque gray. there may be some more rejoicing later on as the tv reports the event, but the long wait has taken its toll on stomachs. the crowds haphazardly transfer to the inland carts selling vadas and dosas with sprite and halved pomegranates.