Apr 2, 2009

Crime & Detective

The security guard at our collection of beach bungalows in Goa took a real shining to us. Upon meeting Matthew on our first night, he tells us that he has not always been a night watchman. He has been a football (soccer) coach, and disco dancer. But, his one true passion is crime. He reads all sorts of books on the subject, and especially loves crime magazines. Thus, his new job is a natural fit.

The next morning we wake up and open the door to see Matthew making a bee-line to our bungalow. It's 9am and he last saw us to our door at 11pm the previous night. He pronounces: A ha! I figured you must have been sleeping. Nice deduction, Sherlock.

Matthew's crush on us continued to develop from then on. A few days later he eagerly presented us with a copy of Crime & Detective, "The premier magazine on true crime stories". Inside, crimes that have supposedly taken place across India are described in gory detail, with reenactment photographs. Many are borderline pornographic.

A sample of some of the headlines:

"'Driving' Master's Wife Cost Driver his Life" (Note the double entendre)

"Sex Crazy Woman Shunned Husband Butchered by Paramour"

Weird stuff.

Did you read the magazine, he asks us the next morning? Did you like the stories?

We tell him they're a bit scary. Why scary, Matthew asks? They are interesting! All the details! All true! He insists. He proclaims that Westerners are not "habituated" to such realities, that our media focuses too much on "love".

Every night Matthew gives us the same rundown. Store your fishing rods inside, (they could be used as weapons). Lock the door. Don't answer to anyone that claims to be "police" or "security", (which puts us in a confusing situation when he knocks on our door a few minutes later, with some new excuse to talk to us). Matthew, we ask, is there a history of such problems on Agonda beach? Oh no, he ensures, but always better take precaution. Security is very important in tourist matters, says Matthew.

All this has the effect of making us feel less, rather than more, secure. But, in the end, Matthew's intentions are good. He even begged for our mailing address so he can send us a Christmas card. I considered giving him a fake address, but ultimately the prospect of what he might write us was too good to resist. And, hopefully he'll throw in the latest copy of Crime and Detective.

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