Walk and Talk

I was processing this photo from 2009 and the title that immediately sprung to mind was “Walk and Talk”, obviously because that’s what the girl was doing; walking leisurely on the jetty, and talking on her cell phone (or mobile phone, or cellular phone, depending on your custom).

Then, of course, being a Caribbean Man, the song from “reggae great” Pluto Shervington popped into my mind as well; that would be “Ram Goat Liver”

As I am fairly certain that not many people outside of the Caribbean would know the song, I’m including the lyrics from the chorus:

Ram goat liver good fi mek mannish water
Billy goat teeth mek the earring for you daughter
Curried goat lunch put de bite in your bark
It mek you daughter … It mek you daughter walk and talk

I think that it is a good bet that the young lady in the photograph may likely be of East Indian descent, so the idea that she might have had Curried for lunch would not be too far fetched, and she can certainly walk and talk 🙂

Walk and Talk.
A cropped telephoto image. Click on it to see it better in the Gallery.

These days I have to wonder if the cell phone is more of a convenience or an intrusion.  As it is, they are now more than just phones, they’re basically what was once your home computer, now in the palm of your hand.  I remember when I owned a PC with a 386 processor that had an 80MB Hard Drive and at the time, that was considered large; now my smartphone has more than that amount of memory built-in and an additional card that can hold an additional 8GB of data.

But I digress.  It is convenient to have a phone always with you, rather than being tied to a land-line.  It is convenient to be able to check your e-mail, your Facebook and Twitter accounts, check stock trades and the latest news, and so much more.  There are, however, times when you can do without the constant interruptions, the unpredictable yet persistent “ping” or “bleep” or whatever “ring-tone” you’ve chosen to notify you of every event that the phone is now capable of alerting you to.  After weighing the Pros and Cons, I came to a decision that the mobile phone is as much as a convenience as you want it to be, and conversely, as much of an inconvenience as you want it to be.

My phone goes on silent when I go to Church, to meetings and to various functions where I prefer not to be disturbed, I feel the vibrations and I am aware that when I finish whatever it is I am doing that, after the hour or two, I will have a few (or quite more than a few) messages to read and maybe calls to return.  But I am the master of the phone, it is not the master of me, and quite frankly, that is how it should be.

Now I’m hungry for some Curried Goat!

Nelumbo Nucifera

Budding Lotus Flower

Padma or Lotus, a flower native to India has spread throughout the waterways of the world.  This is the Lotus Flower, scientific name Nelumbo nucifera, a flower that I grew up thinking was a water-lily, until I was recently corrected.  Water lilies come in a variety of colours, but the Lotus is only found in tones of pink and white, the petals that is, the central seed pod is yellow when the flower is in bloom.

The flower is supported by a very thick stem that elevates it above the water and the leaves, the leaves are very large and though are sometimes seen above the waterline, they generally float on the water.  It is hard to walk the length of Guyana’s coastline without seeing ponds or other waterways (yes, the trenches and canals) filled with these flowers.  With a strong Hindu culture, these flowers / plants are a part and parcel of the Guyanese heritage.

These are often used decoratively, as live plants for their colour and size and even as dried arrangements, especially in the case of the central seed pod (which resembles a watering can) which is the part most often used in dry arrangements, I seem to remember seeing it painted gold in a dry arrangement once when I was a child.  In Guyana (and parts of Suriname and Trinidad) the tradition of using the leaf at functions is very common, this too is a tradition handed down through the Hindu religion brought from the far east.

Across the coastal regions of Guyana there is not a weekend that goes by without a Hindu Wedding or Jhandi, at both functions there is the traditional Hindu ceremonies conducted by a Pandit and when the time comes for the sharing of the meal, it is served in a leaf from the Lotus plant.

Jhandi actually means flag, but has come to refer to the ceremony that culminates in the planting of that flag, the ceremony is an offering of thanksgiving to Hanuman (a Hindu deity).  Over the years both Nikhil and I have taken photographs that either include or centre on the Jhandi flag.

This highpoint for us non-Hindus at the Weddings and Jhandi ceremonies is usually the meal eaten in the Lotus leaf, notably the “Seven Curry” , where rice is served with seven forms of “curry” dishes (and achar, don’t forget the achar!).   Before some of you get excited, its vegetarian, no meat.  Usually there’s Aloo (potato) curry, Dhaal, Mango curry, Channa (Garbonzo or Chickpea) curry, Catahar (breadnut) curry, Bajee (Calaloo or spinach) curry and Pumpkin curry.  When catahar is not available the breadfruit curry is usually a good substitute and sometimes the Potato and Channa are a combined curry.  This is usually washed down with a cool drink, like Kool-aid or swank (lemonade or lime-aid :-).  Of course, most of us don’t like to hear “Kool-aid” since it brings to mind images of Jonestown, so we can now use Mak-C  🙂

A fascinating plant, and there probably isn’t a Guyanese who owns a camera who hasn’t taken at least one photograph of it.