The day began early and everything went awry. At night, I had been bitten by beastly mosquitoes, biting so hard that I woke up in the middle of the night and could not fall asleep again. In the morning we tried to visit the prison canteen, which should have been open but was actually closed. Which is sad, because it promised Indian pies and curry and other delicious bits, all prepared by the inmates.

Disappointed, we trudged into a cafe and ordered scrambled eggs with tomatoes and Bombay toasts, which had also eaten the day before at a cafe in Trivandrum designed by Laurie Baker. And while yesterday we had licked our plates clean, today’s meal was a disappointment. A ramshackle omelet, hastily reheated in a frying pan stuffed with bland unripe tomatoes. I twice asked for a glass of water, no toast, no napkins, and tea served when we were already heading out the door. Not a great start of the day, which has been rare during my time in India.

What followed was heavy backpacks under a ferocious sun, an insane bus driver, local tourist scammers touting overpriced tour packages and a yet another chaotic and grubby town. The unsuccessful day was capped off by two grandmothers who refusing to rent us a room. When we asked why, they commented that the hotel was only for married couples.

India is sometimes a place of nosy conservative cunts who assume that a person is only married if they are wearing a ring. They won’t rent you the room just because their preconceptions and traditional tendencies which dictate what couples should or should not do. And they wouldn’t dare consider that there might be other forms of marriage too, whether civil partnership, traditional, religious, humanist, or any fuck other. Good for them.