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It's Nicola from Tamil Nadu

Mon March 21st 2016

Sunday night – Monday morning to you (21 March 2016)

Hi there

I hope you have had a good weekend – I hear the weather is packing in.

The weather hear is (in Spike Milligan tone) hot hot hot.

Walking on the 400 year old temple stones in bare feet today – worn down by 10,000 visitors a day – made me realise my feet are definitely soft. Although even the locals were skipping across the stones heading for the shade.

Anyway todays email is all about the amazing journey through Tamil Nadu;

Driving through the vibrant green rice fields. The brief splash of yellow marigold, and the dry fields of harvested rice. Or the peanuts, sweetcorn, coconut trees, coconut trees, Yes more coconut trees, mangoes (still green which is frustrating), bananas …

But amongst all this we meet;

Potters, bronze makers and tile makers. Cashew nut harvesters on the side of the road. Or try the guys that roast and grind your personal chilli spice mix (it takes your breath away – literally)

And a group of woman with a small business loan making and selling snacks. (apparently they have spare time between getting their husbands and children off to work/school and when they come home to work all day !? - but they were having fun)

Amazing small industries showing the skills and enterprise of the rural people. Hard hard work. Hot hot work. How could we go to so many businesses that require a hot fire when we are in 35 degrees already.

It isn’t amazing to see how hard they work, as this is India and everything is hard. But their smiles are so bright, and their pride is strong.

You in turn smile and nod and clap and cheer and your heart tightens.

DABBAWALLAS OF MUMBAI