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India: The Beer Shop

Peta relaxing on board our houseboat
Peta relaxing on board our houseboat, the perfect spot for a nice, cold beer

The sun sank slowly behind the palm trees separating the backwaters from the Arabian Sea, the evening meal on board our houseboat was a sublime mix of chicken in Keralan spices, aubergine chutney, chapatis and large-grained rice, and as we sat on the prow of the boat, watching fireflies wink past and enjoying the rare treat of a peaceful evening in India, Peta said,' Do you fancy a beer, then?'

20 Green Bottles

Behind a counter at the end of a dirty, dimly lit, concrete room was utter mayhem. A crowd of men stood three deep at the counter, every single one of them yelling and jostling for position. At the left end of the counter a man took money off people in exchange for a receipt, and along the rest of the counter the customers waved their receipts until another man brought them their alcohol. Retheesh turned to me and asked how many bottles would I like.