Last April we arrived in India from Bahrain at two in the morning. Three hours later at five in the morning, we were banging on the door and trying to wake up Jose and Daisy at their Plantation near Kothamangalam in the foothills of the Western Ghats in Kerala. We had arranged a Home Stay at their beautiful bungalow (built by Jose's father, who had been an an MP in the Indian Government) for a bit of rest and recuperation en route to Munnar, an old Hill station higher up the mountains, for what was left of the night and the following night.
They greeted us rather bleary eyed in their pyjamas and welcomed us in, immediately followed by one of frequent power cuts you experience in India. We sat making small talk to Daisy in pitch blackness while Jose looked for a torch - a rather surreal introduction to what turned out to be a memorable stay for all the right reasons. The plantation is principally rubber, but also coconuts, pepper, cashews, bananas, pineapples, jackfruit, honey, milk and butter from their own cattle - they were almost self-sufficient. After waking at midday we spent the day wandering the estate and taking tea on the magnificent veranda, all marble and teak, overlooking a very pretty garden that had monster butterflies flitting about it. Within 24 hours of arriving in India for the first time, we had found somewhere we thought we could live quite happily. A view from the veranda, where an immaculate Royal Enfield motorcycle is kept:
In the evening, as the swelter and humidity cooled a tad we wandered off the plantation to the scattering of houses along a dirt track. This young girl was one of a bunch of barefoot kids we came across. The most amazing eyes.
Here's another painting from the India series: It's an old tea planter's bungalow in Bison Valley near Munnar. Bungalow nr Munnar 80 x 60 cm