India continues to be a botanical fascination.
We have recently been to Mysore, and Bangalore. Our intention was to volunteer in Bangalore, but we found out, while waiting for the train to leave for Bangalore we found out that the person we had been in touch with who heads up the organisation had, the previous week, had a brain haemorrhage and was in a critical but stable condition in hospital. Not good news. We spent a few days in Bangalore and have now come (for some respite from the city) to the coast of Kerala.
The city market in Mysore was amazing. Among the pots and pans, bangles, various other necessities, were rows and rows of flower stalls. Garlands dozens of meters long rolled up into piles. I watched a woman buy about 15 metres of marigold flowers strung together. We are yet to find out the purpose of all the different garlands but they adorn everything – statues, cars, busses, doorways, elephants, and the occasional tree. It makes the world a more colourful place.
The vegetable market was very interesting too. Nothing is labeled, and no one knows the english names for things. One thing we have noticed is that when you ask people a question they give you the answer to the question they wanted you ask, or thought you asked rather than the question you actually asked.
Me. What is the hindi name for this type of bean?
Seller. Yes. Bean. 30 rupees kilo. you have. you try. very good. eat fresh. here you have.
Me. Very nice. thank you. (I say hoping he has washed his hands) So, what is the name for this kind of bean.
Seller Bean. Yes. I said. Bean. It is bean. (looking at me as though I am stupid)
We have found that asking about 5 different people the same question and averaging the answer comes out with something approximating truth sometimes. I have the name of a bean written in my notebook which is my phonetic interpretation of a Hindi name for a bean that I suspect is the same species as Lablab in Uganda. Time will tell. Our train trip from Mysore to Bangalore was fascinating. It is rice harvest season so we saw all stages of the harvest and got some good photos out the open side doors of the train. Excellent.
We are still failing fairly majorly on the collection of plant stories – mainly due to our complete lack of Hindi, but we will continue trying where we can.