Since I am from Pondicherry, it is only natural that my first blog post concerns this small, serene (now losing it) former French colony on the east coast of India.
A fallen baobab flower
Baobab or the bottle tree as my geography text called it fascinated me right away when I first saw the grainy B&W picture. I immediately launched a determined and secret search for it, notwithstanding the fact that I was in the completely wrong geography. I even located a possible target, a thick bottle-like trunk of a friendly neighborhood tree (identity unknown till date) and announced the discovery to my classmates. They had a look and disagreed (more out of envy I maintain). Since then the search did lose some vigor but never did it cease. So here, 28 years later, was a chance to redeem myself. It was a blind search – on Google the words Baobab and Pondicherry threw up the magic result. Yes, Pondicherry had two baobabs in the campus of the Law Courts and another one somewhere in the city.
A baobab sapling springs roots on the elephantine bark
We do not know who planted them or why. The obvious suspects are the French colonial masters but it could very well be a homesick African retainer. They are quite likely more than 150-200 years old but there is really no reliable information yet. Neither do we know who re-discovered them.
The baobab "twins"
The gnarled texture of a baobab bark
Text and pictures: Sahastrarashmi