Spies on Bikes

This is our last day in India in 2020 and what a wild ride it’s been. Our friend Prakash came to visit us this past weekend to say goodbye and we all got a big laugh out of our new conspiracy theory. It’s the one where everyone in Thiruvanathapuram (including the Air Force machine-gunner who hangs out, finger on trigger, in front of the gate sometimes) was thinking that we were American Spies in disguise as tourists struggling through the insane Indian traffic on bicycles. We were here gathering information on the cutting-edge space tech and the flagrant abuses of the word “communist”. Of course, what we discovered was ethnic cleansing in the form of Modi and in the mode of Trump and Bonsaro, Johnson, etc etc. In India, the acronyms du jour of hatred are CAA and NRC, but those newish sectarian horrors have a familiar bitterness to the tongue. It’s a bad spy that gets most of their info from news and from stumbling on protests and starving on nationwide general strike days. This time, our third, we completed our co-written manuscript entitled Indoor Boh. I (James) finally finished my pirate radio adventure story called FUCC 89.1 FM and Dena started her new sexy novel The Pound. We had one last Meal at Kochi Peedia out on the highway, this year’s favorite meals haunt. They had all of our favorites today as if they were anticipating our celebration. Samba rice, thick and imperfectly hulled, papadum, avial, kappa, beetroot theyal, pachadi, chimundi, salt-pepper, fish curry, sambhar, the keynote flavor pulissery, and payasam. Daaaaamn. Chitra made us what she calls (for our benefit, I’m sure) fruit salad, which also has chia seeds, sweetened condensed milk, peanuts. Another last-day win. It’s a time of plenty here now that the monsoon is[…]

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