The contemplative researcher lives aloof from society, a silent and unseen example it would seem. How is he to share his refined sensitivities, his ascetic and indeed aesthetic findings in ways that reveal their hidden purpose? (The Sritantra Project)

My third winter season in Palakunnu

Palakunnu village is especially nice this year. And to think that we nearly decided not to come! We arrived to Cochin by flight from Kuala Lumpur on January 6th. We caught the Malabar Express that same night and arrived the next morning. Palakunnu village is the closest thing we have to a home. We can rent a room and pay for all we need. Costs are still exceptionally modest here. Our room is more spacious and fresher this year. Yoga and paint, sleep and write is just about all we do in there. It's nearly 2 kilometres from Kappil Beach to where we walk most mornings around half past seven. It's a splendid shore with nobody on it but a few sand poachers and infrequent passers-by. Interesting sea debris collects along the high tide line near shade-bearing palms and casuarinas. Fishing boats very rarely land there....

Sometimes we like to take a morning train about 50 minutes north to Manjeshwar village. On an unpaved lane there's a vegetarian eating place run by a shirtless Brahmin with a flower behind his ear. It's tiny, poorly lit and very traditional. We have a small breakfast then head for the sea. The coast is actually better than at Kappil Beach, being far more isolated and immensely longer. We always walk north in the direction of Kanwatirtha village and choose a pleasant spot to bathe and sun our bodies. The only other person we're likely to see is Jogi Manju who sets simple nets and lines in the surf and always manages to catch a fish. We sometimes walk beyond Kanwatirtha; that gets pretty close to the Kerala-Karnataka state border. Mangalore city is not far away; around 20 minutes by bus.

The only other western "tourist" this year is Alfred Windig, a long time German-Italian friend of René's. They met in Morocco in 1984. We first saw Alfred in Varkala, in January 1985. He could hardly speak a word of English then. He manages quite well now.

We'll be back in Malaysia on Feb 17th. We'll have to make Malacca our provisional base as we don't have a place to stay in Singapore. It's a perplexing dilemma. We need to start essential new research at the National Library and care for some other important things. What's the solution?

See also: The work place, On Indian soil, Rene's last walk to the beach, On Laubies's work, Assembling notes around Paul Facchetti.

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