Posts Tagged ‘Dust’

Or Countdown to Likely Death in Udaipur (not Venice)

Sussex Prairies could do with a tuk tuk.. one covered in flowers to gad about in on garden visits and other such peaceful excursions .The sort of tuk tuk with attitude and that certain je ne sais quoi that comes hot foot from the mean , narrow, twisting ,convoluted streets of Udaipur. Possibly even the sort of tuk tuk belonging to Crabs our tame tuk tuk driver when we are in town.

Now I am sure you are wanting to know how he comes to have the name of Crabs (we had unfairly wondered if this was due to any slight medical affliction he may have had now or in the past ) but no , this he assured us was not the case but then proceeded to explain the derivation of his name in a series of madly contorted couplets, possibly originating in a pop song and ending on a whimsical limerick.. quite unintelligible but utterly captivating .

As were we , captives I mean , once we had boarded his washing machine styled wagon. Haring through the night street beset by errant cows, weaving motorbikes, inevitable dust, grit , wayward rubbish mountains, wedding parades (AFW alert !) and crazed white horses (without groom). It seems that there is a sort of etiquette of road users at night. Do not under any circumstance put on your lights , if you do put them on, make sure they are  at full beam to blind any oncoming driver… the horn (used liberally) (note to self : How long can horns even last in India having been blown at every minute of the day ?) when blown actually activates the headlights… like dervishes we careered through the night …on corners(of which there seemed to be many) only one wheel felt like it was on the ground…you see double after such a ride and it was nothing to do with the Kingflsher beer this time.

wedding band cart (quiet one)

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a doorway to India opens again

you know you are in Delhi when you land… the smell creeps in like a ragged spy and assails your nostrils like a beggar with attitude (and we saw plenty of them)..the aircon  in the car must surely be giving me legionnaires disease , it has that fustiness of old water and old dust combined…but strangely the old India is being supremely kicked into the twenty first century ! still plenty of dust and rubbish I grant you .. but on the outskirts of the heaving groaning Delhi ,acres of shiny new things, new buildings, a new sense of capitalism gone mad ! all linked togther by the scariest road ways you can imagine…. its not just the erratic and seemingly meaningless road “rules” , cars come at all angles with menace and crazed intent, leftside, rightside , oblique criss cross mayhem and woven through it all an unassailable fatalism. No one puts their lights on at night.. .. why would you ?…lorries hurtle along with their accoutrements (scarves , black woolly pompoms,glitter,geegaws) like gypsies shrouded in darkness til they are almost upon you with invisible menace … why no lights ? could it be they are parsimoniously guarding that last rupee to the enth degree or the ghosts are gathering… swathed in smoggy tendrils of mist and gloom we travel through the night and through the plastic unfantastic.

up close and personal with a lorry

But amongst the chaos is some sort of calm, in places , and the Lodi gardens provide a measure of peace.Interestingly they have some ambitious plantings of single coloured dahlias . Flowers which are loaded with bees and are immensely jolly and colourful. Big pollination rules ! The bees are enormous but perfectly intent on their work.Easing along from single flower to single flower with dedicated concentration.sucking out the last pretty piece of nectar before travelling on to the next.It works .. you can see how busy the insects are on this single group where other flowers remain dead and unloved.

bees,dahlas and honey production

And kumquat marmelade is absolutely lovely ! imagine a marmelade made of rich tangarine and you get an idea of the taste.  At the infamous Tikkli Bottom bed and breakfast destination , Annie must be the Kumquat marmelade queen. If you have never been there  : go ! Tikkli Bottom is a haven of peace and utter englishness set within a glorious Lutchenesque house and a voluptuous garden. Martin knows his plants and trees without a doubt ,and we were there to pick his brains and tease knowledge from him like the wiley jackals and leopards surrounding his property. take a slice of England , spread it on toast and serve shaken not stirred ! delightful !

Martin's bees at Tikkli

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Once upon a time  in Febuary, I bought two strange folding story boxes from the toy making capitalof the world Bassi in Rajasthan. We are not talking high tech carpentery conglomerate here. More like one man and his adze. The cricket bat washing things (you know the ones they pound the washing to bits with on the ghats. Intensive cycle) were very much in evidence and obviously a big seller but these storybook boxes were also there and Lottie and I succumbed and I bought two. One a School box alphabet and another a rather more antique (I use the word antique advisedly because I am sure if  I was lucky it had been made a week ago at best) looking one telling the story of the folkloric Ramayana.

Back at home now they sit proudly on the bedroom windowsill with its fellows (dont ask , especially not Paul, I do have others bought on a previous foray into india). Yesterday though I note that a small and strange pile of dust has been excavated  by some  creature obviously living in the box and boring its way purposefully through the core of the wood. Worrying. Hope it doesn’t move on to our roof timbers !

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