Showing posts from February, 2015

The Kappiri slaves of Cochin

The Cafres of the Portuguese & the Dutch
The last months of 1662 in Cochin were proving to be a test to the Portuguese who remained. The Portuguese Casado no longer carried the usual armaments like the sword, gun or spear like their well protected, but uncomfortable predecessors had, clad in mail. They were once upon a time, much better in strategic thinking and came up with a number of new techniques of war. Who else would think of cutting down trees on the opposite banks like Duarte Pacheco in the battle of Cochin? As the Franks perfected their act and got better at keeping the Zamorin’s forces in check, and getting rich off the relative monopoly of the seas and the trade of spices, the community in Goa declined in morality, often behind the shrouds of religion. But Cochin in comparison was benign until the Dutch peeped around the corner.
During the period between the 1663 and somewhere after 1500 when the Vasco Da Gama decided that Calicut had no plans of welcoming him, the Coc…

Experiments with the heart

Friday, Oct 12th 1956 – That was the fateful day when the motely group comprising members of the Vereinte Aquarienfreunde (united friends of the aquarium) met as usual at the local pub in the spa town of Bad Kreuznach, a locale once famous for radon balneology. That by the way, is where one immerses oneself in waters which had traces of radium, supposedly soothing for rheumatic joints. The people of Kreuznach later built a radon inhalatorium, also popular for a period, into which was piped air from an old mining gallery. Later, during WWI, Kaiser Wilhelm II lived in the spa house and then the town became the seat of the German Army High Command during WWII, only to get bombed with marked regularity by the Allies. Kreuznach was later occupied by US troops in March 1945. But more mundane activities occupied the minds of the group, the plan was to discuss nothing in specific, perhaps they talked about fishes and it is a fact that many years ago, one of the gentlemen among them, a Prussi…