This time two years ago I was exploring India. In some ways it feels like years ago, but simultaneously somehow also feels like just a blink of an eye. Time sure likes to play tricks..
One of my favourite moments travelling along the Southern Coast of India was in Kerala. My friend and I spent a few days in a little town and our guest house was near a row of coffin makers “shops”. Every day we walked by we were both fascinated by them, and finally one day we stopped and said hello and asked to photograph the craftsman. He didn’t speak a word of English, but his smile and soft demeanour made him so approachable.
While we were photographing him it started to rain, and very quickly it began to pour.. full on India monsoon style. The man’s wife wandered over to us and by using hand gestures, invited us inside for tea and out of the rain. She walked us into their home, which was tucked behind the “storefront” She sat us on a bed (there was no couch) turned on their little TV and another man came in and put the channel onto the only one showing something American, and it happened to be Good Will Hunting. Their kindness and generosity was overwhelming, and her chai was the most delicious I tasted in India, but it was difficult not to notice the coffin and wooden crosses half finished sitting on another bed just beside us. My friend and I got the nervous giggles when we were alone in the room for a moment and she whispered to me, “the next thing you know, we wake up in that coffin!”
The next thing we knew, we were actually totally awake (thank you chai) and she lead us back into her kitchen and then out through the back to a little mini farm. It was this amazing little house and it was easy to see she was so proud and happy to share and show us. No wonder the chai was so good, it had fresh goats milk.
The rain had subsided by then, so she sent us on our way with a truly memorable moment that had us full of cookies and tea, but also this other warm fuzzy feeling that I get just thinking about it. No words that any of us could understand were exchanged the entire time, I wish I could have learned more about them, but we communicated with smiles and nods, and that was enough.