Tag Archives: Indian food

Mysore — Colors

India is such a wonderfully colorful place.  It’s actually one of the first things I list when Indians ask me what I like about their country: “The COLORS!”  Everything, from clothing to houses to food to landscapes, comes in a wider and brighter range of colors here than at home.

Mysore, a quintessential city in the southern state of Karnataka, was no exception — especially at the markets, where vendors sold huge piles of brightly colored powders to use as paints.

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Down another row were the fruit vendors, with their massive piles of lemons, pomegranates, apples, bananas, mangoes, grapes, pumpkins, squash, jackfruit, pineapples.  Erin and I loved it:

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From the top of Chamundi Hill overlooking Mysore, where there is a huge temple patronizing the local favorite goddess, Durga, there is a long set of 300 steps leading down to a huge idol of Nandi, Shiva’s bull.  Some Indians making the trek back up were blessing the stairs by thumbing tikkas, spots of the powder used in religious ceremonies and blessings, on every single one of the 300 steps:


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The statue of Nandi himself was, like all idols and shrines in India, garlanded with flowers and covered in colorful pastes:

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And here’s the delicious thali (full meal) that we had several times at a restaurant in central Mysore, where our only plates were banana leaves.  There are a few types of vegetable curry, two kinds of dahl (lentil soup), a few different curds (yogurts and buttermilk), and rasam, a thin spicy soup.

Image00038 thali banana leafThese were the chutneys and condiments on the side: coconut chutney, Indian pickles, some orange powder whose name I don’t know but which was very tasty, and plain old salt.

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My New Friends, or, Indians Are Really Hospitable

Here’s how I met the family who took me on the tour of the coal fields hospital:

Dadu and I were finishing lunch in the little gazebo overlooking much of the JV campus.  As was often the case, a family was wandering about the campus, enjoying the natural beauty of the forest.  Seeing me, they approached us and asked for some pictures.  Sure, why not, we said.

We spoke with them for a few minutes.  When Dadu heard they lived in the coal mining area and that the father worked for the coal mines, he said, “Ah, they can take you on a tour of the area, and show you the hospital!”  He asked them if that would be alright.

In response, not only did they write down their address and phone number and invite me to come, but they asked us to “please come for lunch.”  The two college-age girls in the family asked for my ID on Facebook.

About a week later, I was in fact sitting in this family’s house, being served delicious Punjabi food made by the girls’ mother and the girls, Nicky and Isha, themselves.  The chili paneer was hot enough to make me sweat.  I loved it.

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Indians do not take the business of having guests lightly.  They bend over backwards to make sure you are comfortable, have enough food, have enough to drink, are served first, are served more often, are given twice the dessert anyone else is.  They bring you your tea on a shiny tray.  Then they bring you more, more, more.

Isha, me, and Nicky

Isha, me, and Nicky

At the end of my visit, in a wonderfully sweet gesture, the girls bought me bracelets and earrings.  I promised I would call them the next time I went to Ranchi, where the girls went to school.

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And indeed, I did, and they let me stay with them for a few days, where they and their friends welcomed me into their group with the  same affection and friendliness they  showed each other.

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AND.  We went to an amusement park.  It was so much fun.

My new friend Ruchi and I getting ready for the dragon roller coaster:Image00099 me and ruchi on roller coaster

Me, Ruchi, and Suraj getting ready for the water slide:

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Looks steep, eh?  It was a blast.Image00106 water slide

Then we went on a boat ride:Image00112 boat ride me and buddies

Image00120 meera bandurAnd my new friends bought me a monkey balloon.  These guys were the best.  Thank you, ladies!
Image00117 group shot amusement park