February 21, 2020
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85 Reasons

85 Reasons
Mr Zachariah, proprietor of the Royal French Cafe in Mahe, brought to mind my visit to Point Calimere in Tamil Nadu. There, a navy man checking my entrance ticket asked: "With everything there is to see in India, why did you choose to come to Calimere?"

That time, I looked at the sea, the sky, the birds, and I had my answer. May not have been the one he had in mind, but there it was. I also knew the same answer would call to me again.

In Mahe, Mr Zachariah sat down to chat over the brotta and chicken curry he served me in his cafe that's French only in name. Asked where I was from, about the floods in Bombay...and then could not hold it: "Why did you come all the way to Mahe?" Before I could answer, he did it himself: "I don't know why tourists come here from all over the world! The only thing here is liquor shops, 85 of them!"

Well, maybe that's why they come. But Mr Zachariah was so genial that I shelved his answer and said: "They come for the French heritage here, that's why." He waved his hands in disgust. "There's nothing French here now! Nothing!"

Maybe, but in Mahe I wondered, do you always go somewhere because there are reasons?

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