Today I took a bit of a walk – 3 kms out and 3 kms back – to look around near where I live. To the west of me is Koregaon Park, somewhere I know pretty well now, an upscale area (for Pune) of restaurants and shops. Today I headed east to see what I could see.
There was no shortage of livestock out today. Here a young man was leading a herd of goats. Goat-meat here is called mutton; in US, UK and most western countries we take mutton to be sheep or older lamb.
I saw many buffalos as well, like this large specimen browsing at some trash:
These animals just burst out into traffic, I had to scramble to get a shot as they galloped by:
(Where they ran out of was the access road to the Hard Rock Café. Perhaps they know something about the culinary practices there that we don’t?)
This station was setup on an empty stretch of the road, apparently a service provided by the government:
An impressive list of ailments, to be sure. None of the locals seemed to be interested, however.
I passed a playground, with kids playing, and older women in saris sitting by and watching:
A more common sight is this, where kids in humbler surroundings play with whatever is to hand: stones, sticks, an old tire:
About half-way out on my jaunt I saw this lady:
I expect she was coming from the market, which I reached just a bit further on:
There were many fruits and vegetables here, and doubtless more workaday goods in the lanes and stalls further back.
Anyone who comes here will quickly get used to billboards like this:
I have to say I find the juxtaposition of these fantasies of luxury with the day to day reality of corrugated metal lean-tos and goats in the backyard to be more than a little jarring. I’ll have to do a post dedicated to this; like the sentiment above, “Only the attitude is real”, these Indian ads intensely emphasize pampering yourself, that you deserve luxury, and that indulgence is good.
I’ll close with another ad I saw, one a bit more practical:
Now that is real.
This week saw me on a work trip to Seoul, S. Korea. The work part was very productive, but the highlight was the hospitality, including dining on Korean barbeque. Above is a long table of various IBM colleagues. The silver tubes are chimneys that take away the smoke of the barbeque.
Here’s a close-up look. What’s grilling here is pork cheeks. The fire is actual charcoal that when brought to your table is bright cherry-red with heat. When the morsels get to the desired level of crispiness, you grab 1 or 2 with chopsticks, dab with salt, wrap in a lettuce leaf or a perilla leaf, maybe add some spicy bean paste, then munch away. Other accompaniments: braised sweet potato, similar to this recipe; gyeran jjim, a steamed egg custard kind of like Japanese chawanmushi; and of course several kinds of kimchii.
And lest I forget, all is washed down with liberal amounts of beer and soju, the rice wine of Korea.
So as much as I’m enjoying the cuisine of my adopted home, India, this trip was much welcomed by my carnivorous side. I’m hopeful I’ll be back before too many months go by.
Out doing some errands yesterday saw these cows – or buffalo, actually. I came upon several other small herds walking the streets, one quite close to IBM buildings in downtown Pune.
Folks from US ask me this all the time – “Are there really cows walking around all over?” Yes there are, but in the city at least they are not free-ranging. They have caretakers who look after them, is the best I can say. A common sight in the outer districts is a cow or cows browsing through trash piles for scraps. Also there is a difference between cows, which are mostly white, and buffalos like those above which are black or dark brown. The cows are the most sacred beasts, while buffalos are working animals.
I don’t yet understand everything going on here, but a few searches will show you there is considerable conflict centered on the cow, as seen in this example article.