Neem, Jaggery, Mangoes, And Mutton.
It's Ugadi again. A new year. A new beginning. And along with neem, mango leaves, fresh tamarind and jaggery, it's time for celebrations. And for some, add a goat sacrifice and a spicy treat that follows to the list.
If you are celebrating Ugadi in Benglur, the best place to buy your sacrificial goat is this Santhe that happens at the Chamarajpet Maidan or Playground every weekend.
The Santhe happens in the Western half of the playground, around a large structure that shows the direction towards Mecca. This playground is also a place where muslims offer prayers on special occasions. On the North Western corner, across the road, is a popular temple dedicated to Malle Madheshwara. And the eastern half of the maidan is occupied by a cricket ground, with a carefully laid cricket pitch that's cordoned off.
This weekend's Santhe is expected to be a large one, compared to the weekly affair. It's Ugadi and shepherds from Benglur's immediate surroundings (who look better dressed) and many from the surrounding districts are converging in large number. Like this bilingual, Telugu and Kannada speaking shepherd, Santosh and his Thatha from Srinivasapura Taluk in Kolar District. They visit Chamarajpet twice a year to sell their flock. And this playground is going to be their home for the next two days.
Most the traders this year are from places like Bagepalli, Gauribidanur and other parts of the dry Kolar district. However, the shepherd from Srinivasapura claimed that his part of Kolar is greener and his flock is much healthier and tastier.
However, the shepherds from Benglur's immediate surroundings who regularly trade at the Santhe every weekend, occupied the prime spots in the Santhe. The part that is shaded from the hot sun.
Meet this young shepherd from Goripalaya, Benglur. His name is Shadab. He wanted me to click a picture of him with his favourite lamb - Chandra. Because it's as fair as the moon.
These days, there's one thing every shepherd carries, wherever he is from. It's a cellphone. They are simple, no- nonsense phones which allow them to keep in touch with folks back home. And from the chatter, it seems that the general mood this year is not good. They are not going totake home much money this Ugadi.
It's not the recession. Apparently, the main abbotior in the city that is located on Tannery Road has been closed and has affected the turnover of the Chamrajpet Santhe. But that's a long story.
And before the following pictures gets your goat, a warning. This cow is in the picture because cattles are traded here too and they are NOT for sacrifice or slaughter.