An Englishwoman in India, part three

Jenny Thompson

OK, so today, I’ve decided to give a flavour of some things non-cricket, just to make a change. I’m going to start with the beach, because I’ve always loved walking in the sand and swimming in the sea ever since I was a kid when my parents would spoil my brother and I by taking us abroad every year. In particular, I’ve always been spellbound by the reflection of the sun on the waves. I won’t try to be poetic about it – it will only end up too cheesy – buuuut, there I have to say there is something about the shifting identities of the beach: in the early morning, during the day and in the evening. All captivate me.

Even the beach in Juhu – the area I’m staying – is brilliant, though the usual residents say it’s too dirty and you can’t really swim in the sea. Sure beats living inland though, as I always have! As the only white person on the beach – and, ergo, the only one sitting in the sun, not the shade – I was instantly swamped by curious boys when I sat down to read a book. That’s OK. They soon got bored and I got on with book. So far, so could-be-anywhere.

Now, the beach in the evening is great – a funfair of whirling lights, with stalls selling fruit and jewelled bags. And maps. “You want a map of India? It has Bombay and Goa on it.” I swear – a man selling maps at midnight! On a beach! And for 1,000 rupees! (madness – a three-course meal costs 200 to 300)

I went there with my damn cool colleague Shinde – he’s my self-appointed Mumbai guide and resident dude – who introduced me to fresh coconuts. Maybe I’m coming to them a bit late in life, but hey. It’s all good.

Then we had curry – outdoors! still exciting! – and had our fortunes read in Hindi by a flashing robot who electronically spat out our futures into flashing headsets … There were also loads of cute, little monkeys on leashes (which is a bit mean, though, admittedly). One of the boys said he would make his monkey dance like Michael Jackson for us. We turned the offer down – a bit too cruel – although we had much fun guessing how exactly the little guy would move – and what his star turn would be. We settled on Black and White.

I related this in the office to George today and he told me that on some trains there are actual small boys – aged five or so – who paint monkey faces and prowl through the carriages imitating monkeys. Now this I would love to see.

I also know another thing – when I grow up I’m going to live by the beach.

Jenny is my colleage at Cricinfo. She drinks herbal tea, but apart from that we like her a lot

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