Sunday, January 27, 2013
In search of Saint Thomas.
We head off to Chennai in search of St.Thomas.
The Air India flight delayed then the takeoff aborted. One of those days. The captain comes on the intercom to say " we've had some technical problems but I think they may be under control ". We take off on the second attempt. The other passengers clap and cheer in that unselfconscious way American college kids sometimes do .
The stewardess serves our meal. She unsmilingly tells us it's roast hen . Somehow the pasta is still frozen, the chicken tepid but the peppers scaldingly hot . '' A miraculous oven " says ' the font ' tucking in with gusto.
The professor from the local university is at the airport to meet us. An expert on 9th century Indian art. She has three mobile phones that she keeps concealed in various folds of her sari. '' You're running late. You won't need to freshen up " she says by way of greeting.
Our first stop St.Thomas Mount. Barely half a mile from the end of the airport runway. The supposed site of the saints martyrdom in AD 72. We know we're in the right place because there's a sign telling us to take our shoes off and next to it a marble pillar crowned with a statue of the saint . '' Only 150 steps to the top " says the professor striding off in the hundred degree heat with a jauntiness that belies her age.