"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)


Where Everything Is Music

“In my beginning is my end.
Now the light falls…”



“You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not.

You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not…”


Quotations taken from East Coker, Four Quartets. (T S Eliot. 1940)
Pictures taken after yesterday’s birthday-party on the roof-terrace


Shopping For Saris


Next Wednesday is Dalila’s birthday.

Yesterday Anu and I went across to the mainland, ostensibly to buy fabrics to re-cover the diwan and dining room chairs.

In reality, Dalila’s birthday pressed heavily on our minds. We were acutely aware of past inadequacies and humiliations.

With skilled help, Anu and I both felt the only way was up.



Kalyan Silks sells the best textiles in Cochin and has two floors devoted to saris.


But I had failed to think it through:  Two floors devoted to saris.

We were totally overwhelmed.


Beautiful, elegant and amused, female shop assistants ask if they can help.

– Who are we buying for? A bride?-

– No. Our wonderful cook –

– How old is she? –

Anu is flummoxed. But I have many years of professional training behind me and flatter myself into thinking I’m a shrewd judge of age.

(I also know the age of her sons.)

I hazard an expert opinion.

We are led to countless rows of saris, deemed suitable for Dalila. As an act of charity, a male shop assistant is summoned to help us out.

I choose a sari for Dalila. Anu chooses his gift.

We are almost finished but I know that every sari has a dedicated choli.

The material fortunately includes its matching length for a top.

– You want a blouse lining? –


– This material is see through –

Yes. We need a blouse lining.

– You want a skirt lining? –



Trust me:

After this, choosing soft furnishings is a doddle.



Photographs taken by me in Kalyan Silks. Art work taken, without permission, from the Kalyan Silks website

Birthday Treats


Actually, it’s my dear sister’s birthday.





There’s a gift heading your way but, in the meantime, here’s one of your oldest favourites.




Thank you for being such an amazing and wonderful sister.