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This was in Galle, Sri Lanka, sometime in July 2011. I was traveling across southern Sri Lanka with Dr. Neetin Desai and we had crossed Dondra and had reached Galle at post-noon. Our vehicle (from Lasanthi Gunasekara) was parked alongside the beach, and we went about walking and exploring the markets. There were two prominent ones, a fruit and vegetable market, and a most splendid fish market facing the promenade. Two persons come to mind for I could never forget them.
I met a fish shop owner at the market, looking very clean, behaving very politely and greetings his clients in a most excellent manner. Now, this was totally unlike the fish shop owners or vendors that I knew from inner Mumbai. So, I stopped by his shop and took many photographs and we started chatting. We shared the same name... Bhushan... It was amazing. When I told him, he was extremely happy, and he embraced me with absolute affection. He has requested me to drop my vegetarian inclinations and become a fishetarian, so that he could host my next visit to Galle. I am supposed to stay at his house in my next visit. He made my day.
At the fruits and vegetable market alongside, we stopped to quench the humid thirst with King Coconuts. There was this very dainty and frail looking beautiful lady who was wielding the obviously extremely sharp chopper with a very large blade. She was just not looking at her clients and would pick up the large King Coconuts and in about 6-7 chops would get it ready with a straw and hand them over. We stood about so amazed that both of us did not take any photographs or videos of her. No... thats wrong... we did not have the courage to take photographs or videos of her, watching the way she was chopping away.
She allowed us to sit in the shade of her shop and we had two large King Coconuts each along with the tender meat inside. They were pure heaven. She spoke perfect English and she was happy to know that we were itinerant tourists, moving about without any charted tour. So, she invited us to stay at Galle for a couple of days and that she knew a bed-and-breakfast near her house inside the Galle Fort. We were quite tempted, but did have second, third and fourth thoughts while watching the deft and expert manner in which she was moving her hands about with the chopper. Twice, she explained about the history of Galle fort with tremendous affection, but that chopper kept moving about near my face. We thanked her profusely and promised her that we would meet her, on the next visit.
Bhushan - the fish shop owner at Galle
Posted by shteller...