Sunday, January 30, 2005

10. Life on January 31st Road


Fig. 10-1: January 31st Road

Cramped into the corner of an air conditioned back room of a store called SHOP'N'SAVE in the town of Fort Cochin, somewhere on the southwest coast of India, I am preparing to celebrate my 26th birthday. In some ways, this is like home (wood-paneled walls and exposed fluorescent tube lights feel Midwestern to me) and in some ways it's not (it certainly doesn't smell like home), but either way, the differences between this birthday and past ones is not lost on me.

Counting backwards, I can recall Craig putting on a birthday party in his Downtown St. Paul studio space (that now lives on only in memory and may or may not be a condo by now) in the absolute cold of winter, a series of hazy-but-warm memories from the year previous at the Turf Club (which ended with me throwing snowballs in the middle of some residential street in the Midway for no reason), and dashing from London to Glasgow the year before that to simultaneously visit Jesse Cain and see Clinic play. This is not Downtown St. Paul, though, this is not London, and this is by no means a Clinic show: this is India and this is different.

In India, personal victories are harder fought (we found a restaurant serving vegetable lasagne for dinner tonight and it had real cheese!) and the rewards are quite often smaller (seriously, this was a huge: lasagne with real cheese that tasted not like Indian food, but lasagne, followed by real cake that didn't taste like bland bread). Being as far from home as I am, and this being India, there will be no gathering of friends tonight, no birthday drinks, and no waking up tomorrow thinking that 26 feels a lot like a pounding headache. Instead, tonight will consist of a call home to my parents, a walk home through a sleepy little town, and trying to get below this unbelievable humidity (in January, no less) with the aid of a cathedral-like room, a wonderfully efficient ceiling fan, and a copy of The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith.

Different? Yes.
Bad? Absolutely not.


Tomorrow: The backwaters of Kerala for 24 hours in our own hired houseboat. Pure birthday luxury.
Fig. 10-2: Houseboat
(actual pictures to follow)

4 Comments:

Happy Birthday to you! Real cheese is a score no matter where you are but lets have real cake when you get home. Take care--Rachel AKA Dominator 

Posted by Rachel

2/03/2005 12:21 PM  

Happy belated b-day Nicky...glad to hear you celebrated in style (hopefully the "real" cheese didn't bound you up too bad)!

 

Posted by Cuz Andrew

2/05/2005 2:38 PM  

Happy Birthday Nick... hope you are well. Be safe and work on your Canadian accent...

 

Posted by Uncle Bob

2/07/2005 5:22 PM  

late happy wishes to present older brother. i miss your calls too often. oops and sorry.  

Posted by jon E. boi

2/08/2005 6:16 PM  

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