Early early! We’ve worked out that to get anything done here, we have to skip the pleasantries of breakfast and head out at the crack of dawn, at which time we have a few hours before the heat becomes too unbearable. So it’s back to the alarm clock (that I don’t believe in) and a groggy stumbly ‘get up’, a dash for some water, a banana and then out of the door.
We feel bad about asking our ever keen to accommodate Indian hosts for such early meets, so we try and make our way to the nearest villages by the local buses. The disco bus is my favourite – what a way to commute into work! Lights, music, Indian style bunting. It’s all there, and all for the price of a few rupees. Uber won’t stand a chance here.
So anyway, I’m feeling rusty and unconfident after too long of not really painting, so Georgie (me painting pal) and I decide to ease in with a street scene… Yeah so more of a plunge into ice cold water than a little toe into a nice warn bath. First battle is the location. It’s always a compromise of view against exposure. My choice, the middle of a bridge which funnelled the entirety of Southern India (including its wildlife) into this small town, was not the smartest of choices. Also no shade whatsoever. So sun exposure, and people exposure on maximum.
On a positive though, I really did get a feeling of the town going to work; farmers herding their cows, the odd goat (not sure what they were up to), children walking to school, families piled onto motorbikes, men pretending to head to work when I saw them all heading for a relaxed chai and a read of the newspapers, women flowing past in a way that I’ve been told us western women just cant walk.. I was painting outside a temple where everyone would stop as they had crossed the bridge and take a second to bow in front of. Here we are. In India!