Dr Shankar’s Wonderful Collection of Brains and Other Medical Obscura

It came up over a bowl of brain stew at Karim’s, Old Delhi’s famously-dingy 1913 eatery.

“Tasty,” I said, wiping my mouth. “By the way, did I tell you about the brain museum in Bangalore? The architect told me we should go.”

Michelle tore off a piece of naan, and sopped up a wet chunk of brain. “We have to go,” she said.

And this weekend, we did.

I’m not sure that I’d call Dr Shankar’s Brain Museum a museum. There were no explanations, no details, no citations or learning. Just six hundred brains in an otherwise empty room.

On reflection, perhaps “Collection” would be a better word. A fantastic collection of diseased and healthy brains, sandwiched between a Brain Bank and the Hospital Canteen.

Two dozen purple slides showed something. Ten or so brains were marked by a shared label: Intracerebral Hemorrhage. Another row was marked Glioma. Arterial Stroke. Schwannoma. Schizophrenia.

“Are these even brains,” asked Michelle about a row that looked more like cancerous lungs.

“This definitely isn’t a brain,” I said, as we passed a handful of foetuses in glass jars. I took a photo, but decided not to post it. There was a sign saying “No Photos,” but there was no-one in there. No doctors, no guides, and no security. A deviant brain fetishist could easily walk out with a few dozen grey matter plastic jars.

“Hey, this is a duck brain!”

“A rat brain, too! Cool.”

“Are those testicles?”

On a table cluttered with samples, I found a few laminated pages describing brain diseases. One was about a fungal brain infection. It said the disease smells “fruity.”

Outside the museum, huge monkeys clambered through the trees and I was hungry.

“They have that tempura’d brain sushi at Like That Only.”

“Whitefield? That’s too far.”

“Parsi Brain Cutlets at Daddy’s?”

“Indranagar? That’ll take forever.”

So we tried the hospital canteen instead. They didn’t have brains, but they did sell samosas. Veggie samosas. Oh well. We went elsewhere instead.

Karims Hotel
Nearby Jama Masjid, Old Delhi

NIHMANS Brain Hospital
Just east of NIHMANS Bus Stop, Hosur Main Road / Dairy Circle Road.
Saturdays 10am – 3pm. Free.

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8 Responses to Dr Shankar’s Wonderful Collection of Brains and Other Medical Obscura

  1. sienna says:

    Eww, this is awesome. Love those big brain photos.

  2. Trust Boing Boing to tell me about my country.

    Nice pics!

  3. Pingback: La colección de cerebros del Dr. Shankar en Bangalore

  4. Pingback: Malformed Brain-Photography › Nerdcore

  5. Pingback: Expiscor (12 April 2013) | Arthropod Ecology

  6. I was drawn here by the title of this post. I hope that someone, someday, will use this phrase as a way to label a certain mailing list. :)

  7. somegal says:

    There was a sign “No Photos” but you took photos anyway. What a waste of an opportunity, reducing something valuable that is struggling to stay alive, into a space oddity. Instead of helping, you ridicule. Thanks, Andy.

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