Asia blog 44

18 September, India – ‘All Over The Place – Asia’

Woke up to find a newspaper pushed under my door with a picture of me on the front cover, semi naked and covered in tiger paint. Once I was down in reception the staff were excited to show me even more newspapers with our photos on – having the BBC at yesterday’s tiger event was clearly a big deal!

After a 2 and a half hour bus ride back to our original stop off point in Fort Cochin we arrived too late to film an intricate sketch at the traditional Keralan wash house, but luckily that can be picked up back in Glasgow on our studio block, so we used the small amount of time at our disposal to do some more filming at the fishing nets for the item we shot on our first day here and a few other bits and bobs, before a quick bit of lunch in a hotel by the (let’s face it, very polluted) river, with its huge container ships chugging past at regular intervals. Then it was on to the Kathakali theatre.

Kathakali is an ancient form of Keralan theatre based on Hindu religious stories, which requires 13 years of training and hours in make up. Inel and I were stripped down and a cloth wrapped round our waists, and then sang our song explaining the tradition while the artists applied thick paint and stuck pieces of paper to our face, which is supposed to draw attention to the facial expressions (no words are spoken, so the story is imparted through gestures and 9 facially expressed emotions).

A few calm hours in a darkened room came as a nice antidote to the craziness of yesterday, and the song should look great, as by the time they were done with Inel and I you couldn’t tell it was us. It really was like two Hindu gods were walking among us.

One civilised dinner in a lovely old hotel just across the square from ours and it was time to bid Inel goodnight and farewell. We’re up early tomorrow and off to Sri Lanka, but he’s catching a later flight back to the UK. His AOTP initiation was complete and hopefully we’ll see him next year for AOTP Asia PART TWO!

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