Mallikassery is a quaint farming village deep in the south of India where the time of the day is ascertained by whether one has had or not had one’s meals.
Pre Morning Coffee : Wake up to your neighbor’s cock crowing outside your bedroom window. Sleepily search for your phone to check the time. Find your phone only to realise that the power had gone the previous night and your phone has charged out. Decide that it’s too early to wake up and go right back to sleep. The minute you drift off wake up to the sound of your neighbor’s wife beating her clothes on a stone.
Try unsuccessfully to drown out the morning before actually getting out of bed.
Morning Coffee: Follow the scent of fresh filter coffee and arrive at the kitchen. Wait till the neighbor is done milking his cow to take yours with milk.
Take a sip of the coffee to know that the cow has had jackfruit for her meals the previous day. But you decide that jackfruit flavored milk is alright with you. Take your coffee and walk to the verandah to read the morning paper. Once you are done with your coffee your morning routine kicks in. You rush to the loo with just enough time to grab an old copy of the Mad magazine.
Breakfast : Just as you are done with the magazine and ( of course your routine) your mom calls for breakfast. More coffee is served with the Appam and Stew.
Post Breakfast/ Pre Lunch :After breakfast you help the cook with the most important decision of the day – Should the fish be fried or cooked in gravy. Once this day altering decision is out of the way you walk out into the plantation to supervise the coconut collection. You stand with an umbrella in the hot sun at a safe distance and watch as an estate helper hugs the tree with his hands and legs and slowly makes his way up the tree. When the helper cuts the nuts from the branches and sends them flying down you move farther away thinking “Money does grow on trees!”.
Lunch: You come back from the field and help yourself with another cup of coffee. This time you forgo the milk. Lunch is served. There is fish of course, and plenty of meat and coffee.
After lunch you grab a P.G Woodhouse and get comfortable in the deep seated arm chair. Before you get to the end of the first page you are fast asleep.
Pre Evening tea : Your sister wakes you up to go for a swim in the pond in the estate. You grab a towel and walk into the woods.On your way you pass a rose apple tree in fruit. You pluck a bunch , wipe them on your tee and eat them spitting out the seeds. Before you reach the pond you pass by solitary rose apple trees that grew out of seeds discarded by earlier generations.
Once you reach the pond you hang the towel on a tree and jump into the inviting water.
Evening tea: You get back home in time for evening tea which is served with banana fritters and coffee. ( Sorry no tea!). You sit by the table talking till it’s time for the cook to clear the table before dinner. At this point you grab your refilled cup of coffee and make your way to the front verandah without breaking the conversation.
Dinner: After the table has been set for dinner you make your way back to the table with your empty coffee mug. On the table you get to pick from the leftovers of the morning, afternoon and evening.
Post dinner: After your last cup of coffee for the day, you shower, dust the sheets for any moths or bugs that have mistaken your bed for a home. Before the power goes out you are fast asleep blissfully unaware of the croaks of the mating frogs competing with the constant high pitched cry of the crickets.