Celebrities for a Day

Indian Coffee HouseWe showered and napped away the pain of our travels, then made our way to the film festival to scope it out. We were ready for our debut. The festival had already begun that morning, but Gonzaga’s film wasn’t scheduled to screen until the following day. Our arrival was an exciting moment for us (and the thousands eagerly anticipating a glimpse of us). We would finally find out what a film festival in India was like. Before we entered, David took a photo of Gonzaga standing beneath the festival’s entrance arch. In that moment we were filled with so much happiness and pride for our talented friend.Film Festival GonThe festival was held at some sort of academy. An astonishingly short fellow, the director, Manoj, was a very welcoming and friendly young man who seemed thrilled that Gonzaga and two of his cast were able to attend. He welcomed us into the theatre and we spent much of the afternoon enjoying some very interesting and well made short films from around the world. The theatre was a moderately sized auditorium with a projection screen. There were rows and rows of plastic chairs for the audience. The awesomeness of traveling just to enjoy a 3-day movie marathon was not lost on us for a moment.SignageThe next morning was the big day. Gonzaga’s film would be presented to India. We arrived in the morning and spent the entire day at the film festival. We’d gotten in touch with a nice older fellow on CouchSurfing who said he loved cinema, so we invited him to join us. He rode the bus 45 minutes just to meet us. He very kindly treated us to lunch and sat next to us in our front row seats to watch some films. There were some seriously well made and entertaining films at the festival. There were also some that seemed out of place. At one point Manoj approached Gonzaga and asked him if he’d be willing to introduce A Ras with a short presentation for the audience. Gonzaga obliged and said he’d bring the two of us up on stage with him so that we could offer our own perspective. Neither of our introvert personalities felt up to such a thing, but David bravely agreed to it anyway while Austin hid in the audience and took a couple of photographs to document the scene. (Do take notice of David’s bare feet.) It was difficult to gauge how the audience received the presentation as the small crowd remained completely silent, but we we were very excited to see Gonzaga’s film up on the silver screen. Later, Manoj asked Gonzaga for permission to submit A Ras to another festival in southern Kerala later in the month.Dip Festival While in Thrissur we got to know the Indian Coffee House, a large, worker-owned restaurant chain which was less of a coffee house (we will admit that we were disappointed to learn this) and more of a giant diner. While the Nescafe they served was nothing to write home about, we appreciated that the food was prepared quickly and the waiters all sported great flare: turbans with large fan-shaped protrusions which seemed to exaggerate their head bobbling. One evening while searching out dinner, we ducked into a tiny holy-in-the-wall kind of place that appeared to be closing. Fortunately they were willing to stay open long enough to serve us. It turned out to be a Muslim establishment and the owner offered us beef as though we were all in the secret beef-eating club, or as though he were dealing us some really high quality drugs. We hesitated to indulge as it was the end of the day and we weren’t sure how fresh the meat might be. David ultimately took him up on the beef offer and Austin opted for the chicken. Gonzaga took the safer, vegetarian road to satiety. When the meal arrived, our fears were confirmed: the meat was at room temperature and had probably been sitting that way for hours in the hot weather. The next day when David’s illness took a turn for the worst, he lamented that Muslim’s beefy meal.Dip 2Although we had only planned to stay in Thrissur for a few nights, we extended our stay to nearly a week when David’s illness got worse. When he wasn’t movie marathoning, David was mostly in bed. Austin and Gonzaga dutifully brought coffee, fresh coconuts, and meals to his bedside. During one excursion, Austin and Gonzaga visited the park located in the center of the city’s giant roundabout. This park was home to a Hindu temple as well as, to their great surprise, five giant elephants grazing on banana leaves and waving their pink, speckled ears. Austin was so happy to spy them in their large enclosure and stood peering over the wall until she grew tired of craning her neck. At one point we even saw an elephant navigating its way through the city’s rush hour traffic.ThaliAlthough we really loved the adventures gained by traveling off the beaten track and the way the locals so freely offered us their smiles (indeed, the people positively beamed at us), we finally we decided it was time to leave Thrissur. We had wanted to head north back toward Mysore, but lack of transportation options forced us south to Kerala’s capital city of Kochin, a larger transportation hub. Our short train ride to Kochin brought us deeper into the heat and humidity of Kerala, and incidentally into the heart of the city’s second Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Gonzaga and Austin explored the art exhibits while David mostly continued his bedrest, and we really enjoyed the opportunity to be immersed in so much art. We all basked in a few days of espresso, an upside to finding ourselves back on the beaten track.


7 thoughts on “Celebrities for a Day

  1. You’ll remember many details of this chapter all of your life – what intensity! (and the beef choice reminds me of my own various “one-trial-learning” painful experiences now and then in life.) Although precisely what is learned is seldom clear… ;-0 Love You, Bruce

  2. Reading this and wishing I could send you some herbs, David. I hope you get on the mend soon. Thinking of you both, and wishing for you good health and ease.
    Love, A

    • Allisone, this post takes place almost two months ago. I’m happily doing much much better. I made it to Dharamshala and took herbs for two weeks until I felt much better. What do you know about Tibetan medicine? -D

  3. Pingback: Goodbye, India | Fodenvensel Studios

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