Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Meeting Asha Parekh on December 16, 07





Asha Parekh at her flat on
Sunday, Dec. 16, 07
(c) Copyright, Wafaa' Al-Natheema







Today, one year ago, I left Mulund West area of Mumbai in the morning and moved to the Sea Side Hotel, which is in the same vicinity of Sun & Sand Hotel in the Juhu area. This way I would be closer to Asha Parekh's flat, the Arabian Sea, the Prithvi Theater and the airport as I was scheduled to depart on Monday December 17.

After I arrived at the hotel, I had a quick breakfast, packed my two cameras and rushed to get a three-wheeler taxi forgetting to take my gifts to Asha. I was so eager to arrive on time that I forgot to take the gifts I intended to give Asha. I realized I forgot them at the time when I entered her flat after having gone through a dramatic scene with a stranger, who decided to ride with me voluntarily in the taxi expecting money at the end. At one point when the driver didn't know the way to Asha's flat and stopped to ask people in the street, I realized what the stranger was up to and I requested in front of the police officer that he exit the car. That is when I got a call from Asha inquiring about my arrival time. I gave the phone to the policeman to take directions from Asha and instruct the cab driver, which was very helpful.

On that day, I was very tired physically, so with inconvenience of moving in the same morning and after experiencing this dramatic incident with the stranger and the police, I arrived at her flat feeling somewhat shaky and distracted. Despite that, my interview with Asha Parekh was wonderful. Because of the quiet environment and of the availability of electric plugs in convenient places, I was able to use two cameras and have a good quality voice.

After we completed the interview, I took few editing shots including of the beautiful views from her balcony. She then offered delicious snacks and tea, but because she was heading out, I rushed out again forgetting to take still pictures of her and to ask her driver, as she suggested, to take me to the hospital, which has a section named after her. Even though I apologized about forgetting the gifts and promised to give them to the driver who dropped me at the hotel, I was upset at myself.

As I indicated in earlier postings that I intend to produce a documentary film about Asha Parekh and Shammi Kapoor, which I have been working on for the last three weeks and plan to release in the fall of 2009. My trip to London and Germany in November (2008) delayed the editing.

Asha's flat was beautiful. She looked wonderful. Her eyes, bright smile and intelligent personality are her great features. Elegance was her attire!



*************

An hour after I returned to my hotel, I met with Kala Ramnath, a professional violinist at the Sun and Sand Hotel, which was next door to my hotel. The meeting was brief and we took several pictures at the end.






Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shammi Kapoor's Birthday on October 21


Happy Birthday Shammi


This clip is dedicated to Shammi on his birthday and it has
a small part from my interview with him in Mumbai on Friday, December 14, 07

Thursday, October 2, 2008

October 2, 08



October 2 is
Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday!

Wishing ALL Readers a PEACEFUL DAY.



It is also the birthday of actress Asha Parekh

Wishing You a Joyful Birthday Asha

Wafaa' Al-Natheema




Stay tuned for the trailer from the documentary film featuring Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh, scheduled for release in 2009.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pushkar Kumar and the Prithvi Theater


Mumbai on December 15, 07

I had contacted Pushkar Kumar; a young artist, on Saturday morning, December 15, 07 to arrange a meeting for us and help me find reasonable hotels in the Juhu neighborhood of Mumbai.

So we decided to meet at the Prithvi Theater * (established in Juhu by Shashi Kapoor and wife Jennifer in 1978). I was pleased that Pushkar suggested to meet there first. I loved the theatre, its outdoor café and the atmosphere in general with the aroma of coffee and Chai. Before Pushkar's arrival, I wanted to take video footage of the theater's outdoor cafe and of theater's sign, I was told I couldn't without prior permission, which was not granted even after I asked the manager.

After a short discussion about the café, India and politics, Pushkar decided that we should leave the café and look for a hotel. We did and after about one hour, we found a reasonable hotel in the same block of the Sun n Sand hotel. It was the Sea Side hotel, which had good rooms. After I made reservations for Sunday night, which was my final night in India, Pushkar and I had a nice walk on the beach and I took video shots of him and of the lovely activities taken place near the beach, then headed to have dinner at a restaurant overlooking the Arabian Sea. It was one of two most relaxing days I had in Mumbai. The other day was when I spent it in the same beach area with my friend Pankaj.

At the restaurant and after about forty-five minutes from taking my first bite, I strangely felt weaker. With time, I began to feel heavy eyes and couldn’t finish my drink and food, so I asked Pushkar to leave and head to the street to get a taxi. At one point, I looked at my phone time and it registered in my mind as 9 pm, so I got worried because it takes an hour and a half to reach my friend’s house. That was the other reason why I decided to leave. But after I greeted Pushkar goodbye and the taxi began moving, I checked the time again and it was 8 pm!! How could that be? I felt sorry for rushing Pushkar to leave.

When I arrived at Santoshi’s apartment, she took pictures of me, and welcomed ten children and two adults at her apartment to introduce me to them and take my pictures with them. I felt awkward and overwhelmed. One of the children asked me cutely whether I was French. I did not understand why she thought so. But after I heard Santoshi make a comment about my “white skin,” I realized why the child thought I may have been French. It was surprising because though I had slightly lighter skin than hers, my skin was not white. After they left, I gathered my belongings and made them ready for my Sunday morning move to the hotel.

If I were familiar with the distances between the areas I was visiting and their characteristics, I would have met Shammi Kapoor at the Sun and Sand Hotel on Friday and moved to the adjacent Sea Side Hotel on Friday night. It would have been so convenient and more fun.






*
First founded as a touring theater by Shammi Kapoor’s father, Prithviraj in 1944.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Meeting Shammi Kapoor in Bombay, India




Shammi Kapoor at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay


Friday, December 14, 07




(c) Copyright, Wafaa' Salman




It has been four months and twenty days since I've last published my diaries of the trip to India in December 2007.

A variety of problems, work-related deadlines and the gloomy news of war on IRAQ interfered with my writing. But today, I plan to continue recording the details or rather (by now they should be called) memoirs from my India trip.

Wednesday, December 12, 07 was the day on which I left Kochi, Kerala heading to Mumbai. At 11:40 am, the Indigo flight departed Kuchi arriving at 2:30 pm in Bombay. The flight was on time and very comfortable despite that IndiGo is not considered among the top Indian airlines. I was impressed. At the Mumbai airport, my friend, Pankaj, and his friend, Santoshi, came to pick me up. From Wednesday all through Saturday, I stayed at Santoshi's apartment. She is a single mother and at the time of my visit was looking for a job, so she had some spare time to take me places.

Having to wait two full days before meeting with Shammi Kapoor and interviewing him felt a long time. During those days, Santoshi and I, and sometimes Pankaj visited malls and hotels. Although I took a brief video footage of a Hindu temple from the outside, my friend was rushing so I couldn't enter it or see one before leaving Bombay. Visiting temples and mosques was on the top of my list of things to do in India not for religious reasons, but unfortunately I visited only one
temple in Kuchi, Kerala.

After few phone calls, Mr. Kapoor and I fixed a day and place for our meeting: Friday, December 14 at 4 pm at the Taj Mahal Hotel. I think it was a mistake to meet at this hotel. It was far from where I was staying. I witnessed for the first time in my life, the worst traffic jam ever. When I completed the interview with dear Shammi and headed back to meet my friends, it took the taxi driver two hours and some minutes to arrive at the hotel where they waited to make it more convenient for me and closer from the Taj Mahal Hotel than Santoshi's apartment!!

Regardless of that, my meeting with Shammi Kapoor was the highlight of 2007 and the best thing that ever happened to me since the departure of
my beloved father, Mahmoud, on July 24, 2006. Putting in mind that Shammi was one of three men, besides my dear (paternal) uncle, Dawood, and my father, who put a smile on my face and filled me with warmth as a young child growing up in Baghdad, IRAQ.

At the instance of his entrance to the hotel restaurant pushed on wheel chair, I felt profound comfort and warmth. I finally met with a man whom I passionately loved between the ages of three and seven. As a young child, no one could negatively speak about Shammi in front of me. I would protest saying words that sounded cute for adults, so they purposely teased me and entertained by my reaction. From the ages of three to seven, I used to love watching Hindi films, songs and dancing. For whatever reason I stopped watching Hindi films at age eight and older! I began listening to, watching and appreciating Arabic, Russian and other western music and films. But the interesting thing was that as a young child, I loved Hindi music and dance more than any other art including Arabic! I am sure most children would fall in love as well no matter where they live because Indian dancing involves extensive facial expressions that specifically children find entertaining. Some of the expressions and body language are similar to what many children express in their daily routine of playing and talking with themselves. It is an uninhibited form of dancing, nothing is impossible, from eyebrow to toes; everything moves. Although Shammi Kapoor's body was not trained to dance, his soul was the guidance, which led to his graceful, energetic body in addition to his superb and unprecedented facial expressions.

Decades passed by without me listening to Hindi songs or watch Indian films until I heard the Sabri Brothers and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan on USA radio in the middle of 1990s. So when they came to the USA for a tour, I attended their concerts, promoted them on radio when I co-hosted or filled in for radio hosts, and even interviewed the Sabri Brothers and published an article about their life and art in my quarterly newsletter,
Al-Wafaa News. At that time, I enjoyed their music and singing tremendously. Their Qawwali music was spiritual, so intoxicating that I refused to buy a CD of Nusrat's singing and preferred to listen to him only on radio or live on stage so that I won't repeat his singing over and over again and get tired of it. However still this did not bring me back to watching Hindi films and songs until one month after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Those September events, the hate crimes that followed and, shortly after, the war on Afghanistan, put my mind and soul in a shock and awe phase. All of that was not sufficient for the "civilized" west, a real Shock and Awe campaign was being planned against my beloved home, Iraq. Several concepts and beliefs within me since the 2001 events were shaken by these events, which were intensified after the 2003 war on IRAQ. So a desperate need to escape from reality was inevitable. That is when my Lebanese close friend brought a DVD of the film "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" for us to view. I watched that film over fifty times. I stopped counting after fifty. I loved the film's story and acting, but I appreciated more the songs, music and especially the dancing and wonderful attire. Sanjay Leela Bhansali's directing of this film was very good. But his "Khamoshi:The Musical" and "Black," which I saw later, were better directed and the story and acting were superior. I watched "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam" (HDDCS) so many times even though it was more than three-hour long and I didn't like some of the film's melodrama. It taught me so many Hindi expressions besides the originally Arabic ones.

It was one of two best films for both actors Aishwarya Rai and Ajay Devgan besides "Raincoat" Their acting was brilliant in these two films. In fact Rai's acting in HDDCS was better than in Devdas. Aishwarya did at least fifty facial expressions in this film, so her role here was more challenging than in Devdas.

Hearing Shammi Kapoor at the Taj Mahal interview praise this film at length and favor it over Devdas surprised and impressed me a great deal. Are we that similar in taste? This was interesting knowing our age, ethnic and linguistic differences! True, art is universal, but I found the closeness in our opinions and word usage, comparing both films, fascinating. This was not the only matter about which we both had exact agreements, likes or dislikes. I will mention other instances later.


Flashback

By February 2002, I became anti-social hugging my two cats, Ghazala and Nimir, and writing poems in English. The Guantanamo fiasco, the war on Afghanistan, my nostalgia to IRAQ while simultaneously missing my maternal grandmother, Natheema (who died on February 16, 1997) had raised so many questions and concerns in my mind including international laws, social codes and life in general. All of this combined made me (in September 2001) vehemently boycott all western products and companies, USA airlines and completely change my attire to Arabic and Indian. I also changed my family name (in February 2002) to the name of my maternal grandmother, Natheema, which was changed not only due to gender-related issues, but also for other personal and family matters.

I had thought that facts, like how the USA got a way with accusing Arab Moslems of executing the 9/11 attacks without evidence, with the number of people killed on that day and with the killing of hundreds of Arabs and Moslems (and few Sikhs) during the hate crime wave around the industrial west, how it quickly succeeded to create Guantanamo torture camp (thanks to Iran and Pakistan for selling innocent Arabs and Afghans to the CIA) and how it went to war against Afghanistan, would be the utmost savagery we would witness from the "civilized" industrial west. I never imagined that all of the aforementioned violations and crimes were just an icing on the cake and were the USA-UK-Iran-Israel collaborative's warming up exercises before the Goddess of All Crimes (as I began to call it later); the war, the Shock and Awe bombing campaign on beloved IRAQ.

When on March 19, the USA bombed Baghdad, I didn't go to work on the next day in protest. I changed my outgoing voice messages for both of my business and home phones denouncing the war and openly stating that I would not be working for American companies until the USA is out of IRAQ. I kept those voice messages for one month. Because I boycotted working for USA companies, I had to think of a quick way to bring cash and support myself. I sold the only thing I owned (besides my car); my condominium. I put it on the market in late April and was sold in June. I gathered my belonging and moved on June 4, 03 leaving behind a place in which I had fifteen years of memories!

Since March 20, 03, I have not worked in any USA company even though I live in the USA. So my life's rollercoaster all through January 2006 did not include watching Hindi films. Between July 2003 and December 2005, my rollercoaster took me six times to the UK, once to Texas, twice to Jordan, once to Syria, Russia and South Korea and three times to IRAQ.

A family problem in November 2005 while in London made me disappointed and very sad. So, in 2006, I returned to my habit of watching Hindi films. I watched them because they were highly entertaining and colorful. They have the ingredients for an escape from reality.

Later in June, I participated in the Second World Congress on Middle Eastern Studies in Amman, Jordan and gave a presentation on "The History of Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra." It was an unnecessarily expensive trip that caused me problems during and after I returned to Boston.

I will never forget July 2, 2006. It was the day on which I spoke with my father at length through the Internet Skype and for the last time. Twenty-two days later he departed from our world and was buried in London. I still have not recovered from this great loss. Within one week from his death, I arrived in London and began another very turbulent chapter of my life with the family. Out of desperation and need to spiritually connect with my father, I left London on my birthday for Syria and Iraq to be with people and in places that reminded me of him.

These utterly sad and helpless events made me enter 2007 with no hope and was constantly thinking of death, until I was shaken by a major car accident on February 15, 2007. The accident caused me to go to regular physical therapy for seven months to treat my muscle spasm. Funny how fate works; when we lose hope and think of death, somehow we get awakened by more devastating events to occupy us away from these negative thoughts:)

In a later routine check up, I was told that I needed surgery. So on Friday, May 18,07, I underwent surgery for the first time in my life. I left two days later. Fate seemed to be running out of ideas for me to desire life; it brought me a major car accident and surgery within three months. 'Good, let her get busy now to stop nagging about death'. One week after this surgery, Bollywood's famous actors Shammi Kapoor and Asha Parekh showed up in my life again.

During my rehabilitation period, I enjoyed the company of a laptop searching through the Internet reading and watching art-related material. The news about Asha Parekh receiving the life achievement award in New York appeared in my search. I then began to search for Shammi Kapoor. His website was the top second on the google list. It provided an email address. Before I send him a letter, I was able to call Asha Parekh at her New York hotel room few hours before the award ceremony on Friday, May 25. An employee at the Sony company sponsoring the event gave me her hotel telephone number and informed me that Shammi Kapoor was still alive. I was so eager to travel to NY to attend the award ceremony and meet Asha, but I couldn't go alone one week after my surgery. When I hang up the phone, I sent an email to Shammi's address. On the following day, Saturday, I received his reply. It filled me with joy. Never have I had events happen in such speed, grace and ease in my life. Fate was indeed up to something!

In less than two months of my correspondence with him disclosing my desire to meet and interview him, he called me on an
unforgettable Saturday, July 7, 07 (lucky sevens). I was so honored and humbled to hear his voice. After the call, I cried.

In September, I went to the Indian embassy in New York and obtained a visa. On October 2nd, I called Asha Parekh in Bombay to wish her happy birthday and talk about my desire to interview her. I remember chocking as I talked with her.

On October 20, I phoned and interviewed
Shammi Kapoor in celebration of his 77th birthday on October 21). I quickly edited four minutes of the interview and posted it on Youtube in the evening of October 20th. I then emailed him the link as a birthday surprise and then to people around the world.

Finally, on December 2, 07, I arrived in India, a country I've been wishing to visit since childhood. Who was there to pick me up? My dear friend, Pankaj, whom I have not seen for 20 years since he married and left Boston in 1987. He attended Northeastern University at which I was studying civil engineering. If I watched what happened to me between February and December 2007, I would have said this only happens in the movies!


Back to My Interview with Shammi Kapoor

When I began watching his films again in 2007, I didn't think he would have the same effect on me as he did when I was a young child. Yet even as an adult he still made me smile and enjoy his boyish spirit and energy! How can this be possible? am I that addicted on history and my childhood memories? Or was it his attitude, positive energy and great talent that captivated me? I couldn't answer those questions until I met him, and the answer was definitely yes to both questions. As for the resemblance between our personalities in terms of our reaction to events and our likes and dislikes; it was astounding!

Shammi and I agreed on another matter, we were like a carbon copy: We both thought that he did superb acting in his film "Professor" and that he deserved the Filmfare award for best actor. His role in this film was more challenging than in "Brahmchari" film, which brought him the Filmfare award for best actor. After I watched the film, I googled his name and was surprised to learn that he did not receive the best actor award for "Professor"!! At our interview, Kapoor expressed the exact same feeling. In fact he added that he was hurt for not receiving the best actor award for that film, and that when he received the award for "Brahmchari," it was sort of too late, he was not exuberant about it.

When I watched the "professor" film for the first time as an adult, I jumped from joy as I listened to two songs I grew up with as a child. Not only I saw the movie at age four at a Baghdad Cinema, but later my father, in seeing how much I loved Hini films and songs, brought me a reel tape with a collection of Hindi songs including
my favorite song from this film. The other song I enjoyed was "Main Chali". When I viewed these songs in 2007, I was amazed by how my memory remembered every shot and movement by the actors!

One of our taste exactness cases was about our desired career, which topped them all: Mr. Kapoor indicated that he was interested in flying and aeronautics; airplane mechanical engineering! I remember my mind froze. I tried unsuccessfully to use the word "aeronautics" as I talked after he mentioned it appearing as though I was unable to pronounce it, but my mind stumbled by the thought 'how could this be?' When I came to the USA, my desire was to study aeronautics and become a mechanical engineer maintaining airplanes. The subject was fascinating to me. Even the study and training for a pilot license intrigued me. But upon arriving in Boston, few friends discouraged me indicating that the subject matter can be studied only in Seattle, a very cold and far destination, not to mention more expensive. I am sure when they discouraged me from pursuing aeronautics, there was another issue on their mind, they didn't dare to disclose it, which is my being a woman!

Shammi's bright smile and deep fatherly voice as well as the overwhelming experience of being with him made me forget taking still photos of him in the digital camera. His nephew, who accompanied him to the interview, took few still pictures of both of us using my video camera, which produces lesser quality photos than the digital camera.

Our interview lasted one hour. He offered to give me a ride to a nearest taxi area, so I collected my belonging and took the ride with him driving. Why was he driving when his driver was with us in the car? Because he loves to drive and does not like to be driven, again just like me!

After two hours and few minutes, I arrived at the hotel to meet Pankaj and Santoshi and have dinner. While in the taxi on the way to meet them, Shammi called to check if I was fine. I appreciated his gesture. He put a smile on my face again:)



(*_*) Don't forget to click on all the blue words.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Last Day in Kerala


December 11, 2007


My last day in Kerala was the most annoying and tiring of the entire trip. I even cried of frustration. I went to a store that sells luggages and bought one, but didn't have enough rupees, so I took a receipt with the amount paid and owed, which showed the store's address and telephone number. When I took the taxi to get foreign exchange no one was accepting Citi Bank's traveller's checks. I had to go to three places until one of them finally changed them for me. Then I took another taxi (three-wheeler) back to the store to pay the left-over balance and get the bag, but the taxi driver took me to a completely different location!!! Neither he nor anyone in the neighborhood spoke English, which was strange in India, unless they were faking it. I was stuck in that one residential street for twenty minutes trying to make sense of the problem and why I was taken to this strange place!! Finally a postman passes by and translate my anguish to the driver. He called the telephone number on the receipt and told me to wait for someone.

Ten minutes later a guy shows up riding a motorcycle and begins to talk to me in broken English. After arguing back and forth, he told me that the address and telephone number on the receipt belong to the factory (which is in a different section of the city) and not the store. When I heard him say this, I yelled "what is this crazy country!" He laughed and promised to arrange to take me to the store. He stopped another three-wheeler taxi, told the driver where to go and paid him too. When I arrived at the store, the employee was standing at the door holding my bag for me. I guess he heard my story and was trying to show courtesy! Of course I shortened the frustrating story dramatically, but it ended fine. It was a movie scene.

After I rested a little at the hotel room, I felt like going to the beach and I did, but this too proves tiring and problematic. They kept making the distance to the beach sounds close "only 25 kilometers", yet I had to take two buses and then a taxi for a total of 1.5 hours. I felt I was in a country that no one tells a stranger the truth! When I arrived to the beach, it was around 4 pm. Very few people were at the beach and it bothered me how they stared at me. I didn't dare to swim at first, but later when more people showed up and when I noticed tourists were also swimming, I swam for 30 minutes. I then had a very delicious dinner at a beautiful restaurant in a well maintained hotel. Then left back to the hotel. I felt bad because it took me three hours to commute to the beach, yet my total swimming time was 30 minutes!! I didn't want to stay longer because I wanted to have dinner before I head back to the hotel and so I didn't want to arrive late.

It was indeed a tiring and annoying day!

The next day, Wednesday, December 12, I took the flight back to Bombay.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Monday, December 10, 07 in Kerala



It is 10 am now and I am sitting in a boat viewing backwater scenes, very beautiful and relaxing. There are twenty of us, from different countries, including the maintainers of the boat. We've been on a the boat since 9:10 am.


A mini van picked us up from the hotel and the driving distance to the water area took us about forty minutes. The city was very crowded, noisy and disorganized again! I finally realized and convinced myself that I am not in a normal country: This is one of the most populated countries in the world, so obviously I will see crowd, noise and dirt, so I'd better accept the status quo and stop whining and moaning! After
giving myself a lecture and was busy to teach myself to relax and take it easy. The mini van arrived to the water area, then we took our chairs in the boat.

About 10:45 am, we stopped at a village where they process sea shells and produce coconut and other medicinal plants. We learned that 'Kerala' means the land of coconut, that Kerala produces the largest sea shell powder providing pharmaceutical companies in Northern India with Calcium, and that coconut is largely produced in Kerala, but only sufficient for local consumption.

Sea shells get burnt for 12 hours under temperature of 600 C. The resulting powder is not only used to make Calcium tablets, but used also for white cement.

We then left the village to continue our excursion around the water and landed in a small village where lunch was served at 1 pm. The food was delicious and less rich than in Goa and Bombay.

Following lunch, the mini van took us to a different location to take another water excursion, but with smaller boat passing throw narrower water ways, an area that somewhat reminded me of the marshes in South of Iraq, although with distinct differences! Here, we stopped at another village to watch the process of coiling/rope making and watching coconut picking followed by drinking its juice and tasting its white filling. They gave each of the tourists one coconut. It was tasty and healthy sampling.

The beautiful tour ended at 4 pm. After I headed to the hotel room, rested a little, I went to the Tripunithura Poornathrayeesa Temple. It was a unique experience. There was a major festival on that day. Hundreds of people were standing in line to enter the temple. It took me half an hour to finally get inside of it. It was a huge square-shaped, open-roof temple flavored with incense everywhere, decorated with endless array of candles and filled with thousands of people standing to watch the presence of 15 elephants decorated in glittering and colorful attire. I video taped twenty minutes of footage, but was not sure what was going to happen later, so I decided to leave after half an hour. I asked few people what normally happen following the music and the viewing of the elephants, but no one understood me. So I decided to leave. It took me fifteen minutes to exit the temple.

When I exited, I continued taking video footage as I was walking through an adjacent-long street that was blocked from car traffic for people to display their goodies and products for sale. I enjoyed walking around the various bazaars, but was feeling tired because again I did not sleep enough the night before.

When I reached the street's end, I asked a policeman to help me find a taxi to take me back to the hotel. He was so nice and helpful. He called a guy driving the famous three wheeler (meaning a small car with three wheels) and asked him to give me a ride to the hotel. The policeman inquired about the cost of the ride back to the hotel and translated that to me. When I agreed, he took his car's plate number at the presence of the driver to ensure my safety and I made believe I was giving my number to the police when the cab driver was walking back to his car. He did all of that with slight smile on his face; very impressive. His was not the only positive story about policemen in Kerala; as I had three episodes dealing with nice mannered and helpful police!.

I returned to my hotel room and went directly to bed.