A Travels Abroad story: Musical Ganeshes (A Letter to Svetlana)


Dear Svetlana,

Glad to hear that your trip to Ukrainian speaking Canada went well. It’s amazing how much of their culture including language is intact over a century after their ancestors settled there! 

So you want know about the four Ganeshas residing in a spot behind the bar here in the Pub? You won’t be surprised to know there’s an interesting story behind them. It starts off a couple of decades ago when Ingrid and I were in Mumbai on a fabric buying trip for a Glasgow client of hers, long before she became the Estate Steward. As is our usual habit in a city like this, we spend as much time as we can in markets looking for interesting things to buy, from spices and grains to offbeat art and of course spirits when we see something we like. 

Ingrid spotted these in a stall selling the usual tourist tat — hookahs, badly dyed fabrics, and fluorescent coloured Buddhas. Does anyone buy an orange Buddha bright enough to see at midnight even when they’re not stoned? She spotted them on a shelf in the back of the stall —  just plain brass and about eighteen inches high. She dickered for them and got a reasonable deal on them. 

Getting them through Indian customs required a creative broker, some baksheesh, and considerable patience. Our broker swore to the export staff that they were going in a library of some importance befitting that deity who was the god for scribes. They ended up in the Pub because they are playing instruments. And yes I’m aware that they too are tourist tat.

A few years later, I ran across an odd little place in Dublin that only sold things from India. And there they were again but in stone this time. The owner explained that they cost as much in shipping as they did in actually buying, and she too ended up paying a not small amount to get them exported. 

Warmest thoughts, Reynard


About Reynard

I’m the Pub Manager for the Green Man Pub which is located at the KInrowan Estate. I’m married to Ingrid, our Steward who’s also the Estate Buyer. If I’m off duty and in a mood for a drink, it’ll be a single malt, either Irish or Scottish, no water or ice, or possibly an Estate ale or cider.

I’m a concertina player, and unlike my wife who has a fine singing voice, I do not have anything of a singing voice anyone want to hear!

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