Dear Raghu: how delightful...
and what a learning experience for all...
loved the story.
may be a beginning of an ethnobotany career !!!
Usha Desai MD
On Mar 19, 12:27 am, raghu ananth <raghu_...@yahoo.com
> Egg fruit (Pautaria campechiana)http://www.keralaayurvedics.com/organic-foods/fruits/egg-fruit-pautar.
> Chethalayam, Wayand, KeralaJan 2011
> /*Cheethalayam adventure - tree walk with the tribal & school boys
> At Cheethalayam, Wayanad, sitting by the grassy slopes under the shade of a ficus tree which provided a great vantage point, we watched birds coming to feed on the fresh nectar of the red flowers of the silk cotton trees - four in number - standing tall and majestic in front of us.
> It was a delightful view as perched on the tree branches (made for a nice canopy), we could see starlings, sun birds and the mynas engaged in chatter with some preferring to break into a song now and then.We also noticed (through binocular) birds like the solitary chloropsis (leaf bird), a pair of minivets, a wood pecker taking aerial root from tree to tree without any noise and whose movements along the tree branched were obscured by the thick canopy, though we got an occasional peep. Later, we could even hear them singing soft .. some where in the canopy.
> " Heard Melodies are sweetBut those unheard are sweeter"-- Keats
> At that moment, two tribal boys (around 13 years) stood observing us from afar, while whispering to one another some of the flowers and the birds' local names. We lured them into a conversation with us. Initially they appeared reluctant and shy but after some time, they began to talk slowly and started to narrate the names of the trees nearby in both Malayalam as well as Kannada. Going by the receptive audience, they even ventured to tell us about the lovely birds near the waterfalls and the wild animals inside the forests, in a radius of just 10 kms.
> A little later, a gang of holidaying school boys, all noise and
> laughter, came onto the scene with their bicycles and edging the tribal boys aside began
> to dominate the conversation.One of them was a big boy (wearing half pant), who made bold to address us in his pidgin English - "You where", You what doing" "Youname place" "My photo take please" "I show water fall". Then pointing
> to the various common trees he intoned, "This ... pepper, This ...
> areca, This ... coffee, This ... cardamum, This Mango.." as if he were an authority
> on forest flora.
> We then felt obliged to absorb this fount of information into our group and afterpartaking of some local savouries, we went for a small walk along a
> path met by a forest stream. Upon wanting to know the names of some of
> the trees, only the tribal boys could name them while Mr. Encyclopedia
> (Mr. E) went into amnesia.
> The tribal boys continued to name the trees and even some of their
> uses with ease and I began jotting down the names in my book. When I
> wished to photograph one of the fruits on a tree, I requested Mr. E to
> continue writing the names in my book. He obliged faithfully taking my
> pen from me. The tribal boys continued walking ahead naming the trees .. Sundakai, Muthupazham, Muruge, Veetti, nugge, Egg fruit, ....
> as they encountered it with everybody listening avidly and Mr. E
> scribbling furiously in good cheer. …(I reproduce the names here, pls check the photo attachments)...
> 1. Sundakai,
> 2, Mutthupazham,
> 3, Muruke,
> 4, Veetti ....
> so on ..
> Soon it was getting dark, we were returning back, the boys were found examining all the
> flowers growing on the fence in front of the village houses.
> I had photographed the gang of boisterous school boys but when Ilooked around for the tribal boys, they had already vanished into the
> woody trees.
> Before we departed, I returned the favour and asked Mr. E - “Your name”
> , “Your school” “Which class” “Your house". He introduced
> all the boys, citing a behavior unqiue to each individual and pointed to their houses
> nearby. All the names started to sound alike to me with some names even starting to rhyme together, which is when Mr. E took my notebook and wrote down the names of his classmates/friends.
> Paulson Eldose (Chethalayam),
> Yaseen (Chethalayam),
> Ajil (------------cc----------),
> Ebine (--------cc----------),
> Sam (---------cc----------),
> Edwin (--------cc----------),
> Ajmin (---------cc----------),
> Fazis (---------cc----------),
> Muhsin (------cc-----------),
> For all his faults, imagined and otherwise, Mr. E was indeed funny with a sweet disposition as were his assistants.