Official – Indians love Cornwall

August 21, 2010

Take a look at this picture.

Notice anything odd about the little boy on the right?

I didn’t.

I was driving from Pondicherry to Bangalore with my girlfriend, Gargi.

We were deep in the Indian countryside: bullock carts, vibrant green paddy fields, the fragrant smell of rice in the air, old men wobbling on even older bikes.

We stopped the car and got out. We wanted to take it all in.

Then these two kids came up to us.

I took their picture, then we all did a bit of grinning (they didn’t speak English, we speak no Tamil).

Gargi and I got back in the car and carried on to Bangalore.

Cornwall For Ever. But only if regional pride is inclusive and doesn't take on any bigoted overtones, innit, my handsome?

Several days passed before we looked at the photos and noticed what was written on the T-shirt.

(For anyone not familiar with Cornish culture, Kernow Bys Vyken means Cornwall For Ever in the Kernewek language.)

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Official – The Indian Cornish

January 8, 2010

Following on from my previous post about the Cornish/Indian connection…

I’ve been living in Bangalore for a few months now, and you’d imagine Cornish people would be pretty thin on the ground. But I have discovered an interesting Cornish/India connection in one of my partner’s best friends.

She is an Anglo Indian, a term given to people with a part British, part Indian heritage. This multiracial group was a common phenomenon when the British ruled India because, to put it bluntly, officers and civil servants did a lot of fraternising with the locals.

So, I discovered recently, her grandfather turns out to have been a Cornish soldier based in Bangalore, who had an Indian mistress.

He’s buried somewhere back in Cornwall and I’ve promised to look up the grave and get a picture to her.

It’s not like she’s on the mead and pasties every evening or greets you with a ‘Namaste, my ‘andsome.’

But it’s an undeniable Cornish connection, all the same.

So you’ve met Cousin Jack. Now meet Cousin Ramesh…

It all sounds like good material for a story…


Cornwall – via India

December 18, 2009

One Big Echo of a Much Nicer Place is selling well in its first week, and I’m happy to say I’m now getting my first sales from India.

When you think about it, it was only natural a book about Cornwall would sell like hot chapatis in the Subcontinent.

We both prize saffron in our cooking.

We both eat pasties (they just call them samosas).

I’m sure there’s plenty more connections.

Bharat mein meri kitab bahut bikein!

(That’s ‘May my book sell many copies in India’ for the few of us Cornish speakers who don’t speak Hindi!)