Indiana James and Temples of Noon

Mad Dogs and Englishmen (as Noel Cahrd wrote – just say what you see, it’ll sound just like him!) go out in the midday sun……. and this Englishman no exception.

Hard to avoid – in Mysore at any rate – bustling, puzzling and damn-near impossible to navigate, it nonetheless opens and shuts early.By 10pm most shops are putting up the shutters and they sort of start, to slowly, try, to open them again around 9-10 in the morning!Me being the early bird (yeah, right!) I am scrabbling around – well lets say about 9.30, looking for a snackette.

Today was a pineapple dosa. Dosa is pretty ubiquitous here and comes in a million types – mostly too spicy for me, especially at breakfast. But the pineapple one was fresh pineapple (of course) and the dosa is a sort of pancake/omelette made (I think) with rice flower, sort of slightly dry omeltty texture. Always with little side dishes, this one has a sort-of raita (yog, onion and mint) and another more like a sweeter hummus! Everything is “sort of” – in terms of descriptors – because no matter how obvious the name (tea, coffee, sweet biscuit etc) the reality will differ. Bit like living in a parallel universe! Expect the unexpected – and rarely am I disappointed.

My last day in Mysore last and I tried to get into one of the four (yes four) palaces the last Maharaja built for his daughters – inevitably each one on a hill in a different  corner of the city, Tis now part of the Uni and has what seems to be an intersting mix of history, fashion, art etc. Like the V&A perhaps. Alas – despite quite a search by rickshaw in that midday heat, turned out it was closed today – no explanation. I am fascinated by what happened to all that wealth and land – will be on that case later.

Spent part of each evening for the last 3 nights wallowing in Indian music – magical stuff. Which includes an ornate blessing at the end, plus holy water and some jasmine flowers and even a little palm basket with something edible in it. Telling this story to my nephew, his first question was : any trouble with Dehli Belly?!  Rama is looking after me just fine…

Right!  NOT going into a lengthy travel thing. Suffice to say I am back from Mysore to Bangalore this early evening. First class train – BritRail could learn a trick or two. AirConditioning – and 10 minutes into the journey:  various staff pass by with bottle of water, then little biscuits and chocolate eclairs, then little mango drink carton. All included in the ticket price – which was about Four Pounds for the 2 hour high speed, non-stop journey. Compare that (shall we say) to London to Birmingham or further on InterCity!

A few random thoughts – and images:

Remember Sean Bean as Sharpe on TV?  Well there’s a whole series of books set in the Indian wars – including one called Sharpe’s Tiger – and it covers the Battle of Sringinapatnam (excuse spelling – not got my notes!)  where I visited the Fort and bathed in the River etc (this Tipu Sultan stuff is going to run and run I fear). I ordered a copy via Amazon and it will be waiting for me in Oz!

Cows are vegetarians, yes? At least I thought they eat only grass etc. Today – amongst the many cows grazing the streets of Mysore (I called one street Cow Alley as there were so many – including calves) I saw one nibbling at ? (or drinking fluids?) from some road kill. Looked like a rat……. I looked away sharpish. You probably want to do the same. An odd image.

On the streets of Mysore, young pavement artists decorate the hands and arms of young girls with intricate dies and designs from what looks like a mini cake icing cone. . I think the boyfriends pay as they are sitting nearby as I stop to look. One cheeky girl invites me to have something done and after some laughter and a trial sample on my hand, I am now sporting a very fetching an ornate temporary design on my upper arm. Done with Henna, I think, it initially had a black crust all over – which was enormously satisfying to pick off when it dried hours later. (Dare I say, think of picking lots of little scabs!!).

Today it is pale brown, on my pale brown arms – I will get a picture for later downloading. Rumour has it it will last 7-10 days, and judging by the young Mysoreans’ reaction, I am the only mad they’ve ever seen wearing one. Oh well, mad dogs, as I said.

From an odd newspaper item: supplicant talking to a God about a dream says “I dreamt I saw my hand and it was covered with honey” God replies that he saw his hand and it was covered with urine. Supplicant smug  that he is doing better than the God, who says “I am not finished yet; I also dreamt that I was licking your hand – and you were licking mine!”

Make of that what you will……. off now to change my rail ticket down to Chennai so I can stay for a 20/20 cricket match Tuesday night. The Royal Challengers Bangalore  v the Rajasthan Royals!!

What’s happening to me ? If you’d offered me a box at Lords for a test match I would have said thanks but no thanks! Here I am, quite hooked on 3 hours of nail-biting, will-they-won’t-they, bowl the others out, and get enough runs etc.  This is Not amateur local stuff – Tendulkar (Wisden Cricketer of the Year 2010) made 100 last night and another guy hit a Six a distance of 99 metres – that’s over 300 feet!! They have a league very like the Football League and are all playing matches almost every day! OK, stop snoring at the back there!! O dear, and to think I mocked Mick Jagger……..

Behind me (by the way) as I finish this – the Delhi Daredevils have just beaten the Royal Challengers (Bangalore) – which is not good news for my adopted team – they are about 10th out of 10 in the League!


2 responses to “Indiana James and Temples of Noon

  1. Hey James, loving these blogs getting better each time! As for the cricket obsession, ‘when in India…..’ I’m still trying to disengage myself from football!! Sounds like you’re having some great adventures, we’re all very envious !. Can’t wait for the next instalment, love from Hove xx

  2. All sounds great! (apart from the cow episode – I trust that’s a one-off!)
    And you’re sporting a Henna tattoo too! The longer you leave the paste on the darker/longer it lasts; so brush off when dry and easily falls off if you want it to last longer. (These got popular here during Madonna’s Ray of Light album – I remember getting one on my wrist; they still seem to be somewhat in vogue… oops, sorry).
    Cricket – who’d have thought it?!
    Loving your posts – keep ’em comin’ !
    I’m imagining you in light linen and a panama…
    Love Luce xxx

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