Mountain road cricket

Just don't hit it into the valley just out of frame

Quite regularly, the Darjeeling region in West Bengal organizes a bandh, or strike, to show support for creation of a separate state called Gorkhaland. On those days, the usually choked, winding mountain road and rail tracks between Ghoom and Darjeeling are practically empty.

Perfect time for a pickup cricket game. Indians will play anywhere, after all.

Of course, on the other side of the road, the valley plummets hundreds of meters. Best not to swing for that side.

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The sea is a lovely, cruel mistress

A fetish to the sea goddess

A fetish to the sea goddess

On December 26, 2004, a tsunami wiped out a swath of fishermen’s homes on the beach near Hut Bay on Little Andaman island.

Five years later, I went there to see what, if anything, was left.

The fishermen and their familes have moved inland, afraid of the sea. The beach is scattered with garbage and little else.

A small temple was rebuilt near the beach, and fishermen worship there and at fetishes along the sandy spit for good luck as they head for their daily catch. Hanging from the fetish: bangles, earrings, hair and a comb.

The sea goddess is still worshipped because they know no other way. She is wonderful and terrible all at once, one fishermen said.

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Who needs baseball?

If I start a cricket team, the mascot will be the Cubs

If I start a cricket team, the mascot will be the Cubs

Indian men play cricket everywhere. Here, they’re doing six-a-side on the uneven ground once home to a fishing shantytown  on Little Andaman that was wiped out by the 2004 tsunami.

Locals haven’t rebuilt there; they say it’s unlucky; they say they’re afraid of the ocean.

But men will play cricket there, no problem.

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