The cafe where we often eat breakfast is beside a little beach a twenty-minute walk away. Sometimes we walk past and have a longer walk before going back to eat.
One morning on our walk before breakfast people were making a film and, after joking about being in it, we were talking about celebrities who just got discovered without having to do anything e.g. just walking down the street or sitting in a launderette.
My husband said, ‘I’d have liked to have been discovered. It would have been nice if someone had just come up to me and discovered me without me having to do anything.’ By this time we had arrived back at the little beach near the cafe.
‘Do you mind if I have a quick paddle before breakfast?’ I went down to the sea. My husband stayed back and waited for me. A man was walking past and stopped to talk to my husband.
‘You’ll never guess what,’ my husband said afterwards, ‘I just got asked to be in a film.’ Apparently they wanted someone to walk past; they took my husband’s number but they didn’t call. He didn’t mind, he said it was enough to have been asked after what he’d said just beforehand.
About a week later (this week) we were at the cafe, this time the film crew were setting up right inside the cafe as we ate breakfast. We thought it was funny; in England the whole place would be closed but here everyone was just eating breakfast around them. We ate up and got the bill quickly to get out of their way, but as we stood up to leave a man asked us if we’d stay and be in the film.
Now, this might have been my husband’s dream, but it definitely wasn’t mine, however I managed to just go along with it. A young, good-looking, well turned out Indian couple had been seated opposite the ‘action’ table and were promptly moved out and sweaty, scruffy old us were seated in their place. We felt sorry for them. A man came round and put out glasses of juice of varying fullness on the tables as props. Another man came round with a tin of biscuits, I watched what everyone else was doing before eating it, it was actually to eat right then, presumably some people had been there for ages and were hungry.
We thought up a topic of conversation and stuck to it and I tried not to think about what was happening (I could feel panicky anxiety just at the edge). They did a take during which we just behaved normally i.e. talked together, then the director said to us, ‘It is a funny scene, it is a young couple, he is trying to impress her, can you look over to them and smile.’
Luckily I had no time to panic. As soon as the man actor came over and started chatting the woman actor up, my husband looked over at them, I followed suit, my husband and I turned back to each other and smiled a ‘Young love!’ type of smile, the director gave my husband the thumbs up (I was too terrified to look over in case we’d messed it up) and we were free to go.
Although this was all very exciting for us, not least because of the Law of Attraction/Cosmic Ordering aspect, when I told my German-American and my English friend about this they were underwhelmed, saying it happens all the time that filmmakers want Westerners in the background, that sometimes they make you look silly, and that often the films don’t get completed as funding isn’t necessarily always secured before they start, meaning actors and crew don’t get paid.
In other news… I saw a mongoose. (Okay I didn’t know it was a mongoose until an Indian man told me, I thought it was some kind of miniature sea otter.) We had a balcony crow invasion after my husband accidentally left a bag of nuts out. It really looked like something out of The Birds. They had picked up the bag from the table and nuts were everywhere. We threw all the nuts onto the ground for them and they ate them. ‘Those nuts were quite spicy, I don’t know how they’ll get on with them,’ my husband said, ‘but I suppose they are Indian crows.’
Still here, in Varkala in the South of the state of Kerala in the South of India, still happy. Every time we think about moving North within Kerala as per the original plan, something puts us off going there. An outbreak of Nipah virus claimed the lives of sixteen people in Kerala nine hours North of here. The monsoon caused landslips and water shortages in the hill stations. Someone told us that one of the places we were thinking of going is full of mosquitos during the monsoon and someone else told us it has elephantiasis.
I am going with the flow. Even if we stay here where it is nice and quiet, where not too much new stuff is happening and I have time to write, until the end of July when we are booked to go to Chennai, it would still be touch and go if I could get up to date with drafting and complete the Hay House Proposal which is my ideal.
The food that wasn’t: a restaurant that was closed, looked as if it were opening again. We stopped and chatted to the people working on it and they said they did lots of vegan cakes. They specifically mentioned vegan chocolate cake and we got hopelessly over excited about this.
Even with turning a blind eye to the fact that the banana balls we buy from the bakery near the temple almost daily might not be totally vegan, even with following the while in India 1% and under rule about milk products which allows us to eat Dark Fantasy (individually wrapped melt in the mouth chocolate biscuits), sweet snacks are in short supply.
So when a couple of nights ago we walked past and all the lights were on and there was a board written up saying Vegan Cheesecake, and below it a list of flavours including chocolate… I thought all my dreams had come true. I bounded up to them very excited, only to be told that, no, we are just planning out the menu, maybe in August we will open, I was gutted. August! We will be in Tamil Nadu by then!
I finished a draft of Hampi and gave it to my husband to read. He gave me some very useful feedback: improve the reader experience by orientating them to Hampi and how it is laid out at the start; make more of the monkey stealing my tablet incident which is probably our best travel story so far; make more of me finding and being able to thank the family who got it back for me. ‘I remember that was really important to you,’ my husband said, ‘Make sure you show it.’
I noted down all his comments in my exercise book, and then MOVED ON to Goa Part Two. I will be going back to all the drafts and adding in the changes, but NOT UNTIL I HAVE COMPLETED THE FIRST DRAFTS OF ALL THE CHAPTERS. I do not want to get stuck rewriting the first sentence of a novel over and over and not getting any further. My fear of failure* is so strong that it is really important to plough on and STICK WITH THE PLAN. All the feedback will still be waiting for me in my exercise book.
As I write and as we talk, I remember new things that I had forgotten, as well as bits for other sections and things that link across sections. I write them down and keep on going. I have completed the Anjuna part of Goa Part Two, next up Arambol then Panaji. Collectively it is quite a big section, but I hope to have finished the draft of it next week.
*although actually right now I’m feeling like I could actually do this
Thank you very much for reading
See you next week