"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

For Body and Soul

A little local shopping was required yesterday.

In Mattancherry,

An old part of Cochin,

Largely unvisited by tourists and Europeans.

In a maze of narrow streets and alleyways, small shops and godowns, offices and gated passages, compete to supply most of life’s needs.

A lively fruit and vegetable market

Is serviced by trucks from the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.

Shops can run on low stocks.

Others are full.

Clothes shops

Stand opposite offices.

Brightly coloured, plastic utensils are displayed

Beside quiet temple gateways.

Gates which in Kerala, are open only to Hindus.

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2 responses

  1. Lucille

    What is a godown? Is it like a pound store? We have a very similar brightly coloured plastic bucket shop near us.

    May 9, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    • A godown – pronounced” go down” – is the Asian term for a very small warehouse. It’s used throughout the Indian subcontinent and in Hong Kong, Singapore etc.

      I always imagined it came into being when a customer would ask for some out-of-stock item in the shop and the proprietor would tell his boy to “go down” and collect it from the warehouse.

      May 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm

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