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(Feature Story on JPGmag 28 May 2011)
Today is Jeyasankar birthday and this story is my best shot at finding how to gift him.
It all started with a request from my NY friend to help her Indian business partner find eye-care needy Indians. This task was appointed by the latter's guru in the USA, noting it must go for eye-care only.
One day, as I was walking Kallakurichi's Gandhi road, I noticed Dr. Kumar's eye clinic. At that time I couldn't understand the Tamil sign but the icon of an eye made it clear.
Ranji, Jeyasankar's wife, later joined by her brother Dr. Kumar, listened to my project and current challenge. They offered a delicious Tamil grown homemade filter coffee. I mentioned my likes of the Ganesh waiting-room's curtain that reminded me of my childhood books' drawings. Ranji immediately said she would search the shops for one the next day. 2 days later they gifted me a brand new beautiful one. That was only the beginning of an abundance of gifts.
The proposed eye project I discussed with Dr. Kumar didn't take off eventually. Dr. Kumar mentioned that a private initiative for eye health education would be welcomed with suspicion in the Kalvarayan hills villages. Only a government program would gain support, he concluded. Nonetheless my friendship with Jeysankar, Ranji and both their children had only started to bloom.
I had been invited for dinner. Ranji found out about my likes, my so far Tamil cuisine experience and would especially prepare a variety of local dishes.
The next day Jeyasankar picked me up at my lodge on his 10 year old-faithful TVS XL scooter. We headed to the villages passed his home. He is an insurance investigator, including cow policies, and is familiar with all villages around. At a sesame harvested field we stopped to chew on fresh seeds shared by a 'cow walker' lady. Later, in town, we would visit the oil mill utilizing these yummy bits. A temple across the water reservoir was a natural sacred snake den. We continued to a potter and took a break chatting with locals at the village square, where you can always find Mr. Ramchandran standing in his sunglasses....
More about this documentary My India: Where every village is home - Experience !
In the story Around Kallakurichi with Jeyasankar and Ranji.
Also by Etan Doronne
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