Kochi – Kerala, India, 2001.
We didn’t share any common verbal language. But somehow I ended up in this fisherman’s small wooden boat. Most likely it was due to a charade-like interaction. I had no idea where we were going, where I’d end up…or how I’d get back. We putted across the Arabian Sea and several kilometres later pulled up at a wooden jetty. The fisherman and his fisher-mates disembarked and headed towards a forlorn building. I followed. We entered and sat on a dusty concrete floor in a dark, barren room. Conversation ensued, not with me but amongst the fishermen. I sat, listened, wondered and exchanged occasional glances and smiles. After some time I was offered a package by a man with a not-so-pleasant visage. I can’t recall how, but it was soon made clear that he was wanting to sell me pot. I thanked him, but declined. After repeated failed attempts the atmosphere became tense, the man clearly annoyed, and soon aggressive. While I can’t recall exactly, I’m pretty sure it was the fisherman, pictured, who calmed the situation. Not long after, I breathed deeply and made my departure, unimpeded, out onto a foreign street, pot-free and camera still in hand, and followed my nose back along the coastline to where it all began.
Images and text Copyright Charlie Sublet.