Sunday, 21 January 2007

Day Three, 14th December 2006, The Interview

Prema had said as I entered her house "a journalist I know is going to drop by our house later this morning, you wouldn't mind speaking to him, would you?"

I was a bit surprised by this turn of events, but as I didn't really want to let her down, and because I have spoke to journalists before, I answered that I didn't mind.

I was however a bit apprehensive that they might not take kindly to the descendants of two people who had managed to track down and kill the Pyche Raja.

At 11 am Anand Haridas of the Hindu turned up with his photographer Vipin Chandran in tow.

Free Image Hosting at

The full article can be seen at

The interview turned out to be far more fun than I had expected. Haridas asked a series of good questions which were entirely to the point.

He seemed genuinely interested, and asked me later if he could get a copy of the transcripts that I had made of Thomas Baber's report of the death of the Pyche Raja.

In order to do this we set off into the empty streets of Kochi to his office in his car.

The offices surprised me by being far more advanced than I had expected, and they were using all of the latest technology, in a way that I had not really expected. But it is evidence of just how fast India is changing, for whilst India may often look somewhat tired and rundown on the outside, and in it's public face, it is obvious that behind the facade thousands of intelligent and highly motivated young people are bursting with energy waiting for their opportunity to better themselves.

Anand asked me what my job was, and I explained that I work for a major contractor building a new business unit constructing environment and sustainable energy and resource solutions, he suddenly started to tell me about the sheer scale of the environmental problems facing Kochi and Kerala.

To me with my experience, this was no surprise because I could observe this with my own eyes all around me in Kochi; what was fascinating to me was to see that the younger generation in India are now just as aware of these issues as I was myself twenty five years ago.

What I find highly encouraging is that they are quite obviously taking steps to start to improve environmental matters themselves.

So what had started out for me with a certain amount of apprehension, turned into what became an extremely interesting and informative couple of hours.

The article is a good reflection of what I had said, and is only incorrect in one minor point, Thomas Baber was my 4 x great uncle, and not a direct forebear of mine.

What I had not anticipated was the number of contacts and emails that I would go on to receive as a result of this article, not just from India but from as far away even as Australia.

Copyright Nick Balmer January 2007

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