at home...

Oct. 31st, 2011 02:45 pm
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I am now in Bangalore with my parents and sis. There is so much to share but so little time to put it all down! But before coming here, D and I celebrated Diwali with my in-laws in Mumbai! It was a lot of fun!
Happy Diwali!

I flew to Bangalore with D alone, and with a walking toddler it sure was a big challenge! I decided to bring the stroller over and boy was all that a handful! I had two small bags, stroller, ergo carrier to handle alongside a toddler who can spot kids a mile away. Surprisingly not one single passenger or staff helped at the Mumbai airport. I thought Diwali would bring out joy in people. No such thing. Since I was flying budget airline, we had to take a bus and climb up steps to get on the plane. And I had to lug all the items onto the bus and to the aircraft (A crew member did help me put the stroller on the bus). I had to get all of it down. A bit cumbersome. But I carry what I can handle. So, it was not really a big deal. Just a bit surprised!

Bangalore airport, on the other hand, gets an A++ for their assistance. I didn't have to lift a finger or a piece of luggage and neither did I have to haggle nor give any money for the help!

We have had a series of visitors since our arrival here and D is having a blast! Today is our first day quiet at home! So, Diwali went wonderful! Spent the first day there and second half and third day here!  
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24 December - 25 December 2008

Bangalore Madanapalle Puttaparthi

My in-laws joined us in Bangalore on Christmas day traveling by train from Mumbai. MIL's aunt who lives in Puttaparthi found out about it and insisted that they drop by at her place before heading down to Bangalore. The train stops at Puttaparthi on the way. N and I decided that we also join them there to spend some time with grand-aunt, whom I had met at my wedding and was so in love with! So the plan was for the two of us to head there on the 24th and spend the night with her. Parents-in-law would get off the train at 5am and spend time with grand-aunt till about 8ish when we would get a rental car to take us back to Bangalore.

So, N thought since we will have the day on the road, if we could take the chance to see something on the way. We thought of Nandi Hill, etc. and finally dad gave the idea of seeing an uncle and family in dad's hometown of Madanapalle. Uncle has always made the effort to come and see us wherever we or any family member is. No one takes the effort to go see him and his family (most of his siblings are now in once city. so mentality is that it's easier for them to come!). So, we decided to go see them in Madanapalle and then reach Puttaparthi in the late afternoon/evening.

We rented a car. The driver, Appaji, came nearly an hour late in the morning claiming a flat tire!! Oh how recklessly he drove!! We had so many near misses! We even saw at least three serious accidents in a span of three hour journey and he would comment how sad it was, etc. But didn't seem to learn much from that whole experience. sigh.

On the way we stopped at a truck stop with a tire shop to get the flat tire fixed.


That hole in front is the "oven" to set the rubber. Very creative!

Read more... )
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13 - 24 December 2008

Mumbai Bangalore

We took an overnight train 1,003km (668mi) south to Bangalore to be with my parents!! The day couldn't come sooner! I was so excited to be home. I was home at last.

Aunt P & I took N to Chikkapete, the heart of Bangalore. This area is where you can buy anything you can imagine in wholesale. I discovered this area when I went shopping for sarees, and got wedding invitations done. There is one whole street that is dedicated to the art of wedding cards and printing!! Narrow streets run around in a big maze. I liked the area a lot! And we had good fun. All following photos were taken by my hubby.

Because the streets can get very narrow, we had dad's driver drop us off at Majestic bustand and took an auto into the area.

DSC_0093 DSC_0131

picture heavy )
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  • We went to watch Changeling at Garuda Mall the other night. We caught the 10pm show. My sister whispered to me just as the movie was about to begin that even if it's a Hollywood production, there will be an intermission in the middle of the movie. I just stared at her blankly and then lost myself in the movie. In the begining I felt that Jolie's acting was a bit forced but as it went along I "enjoyed" the movie. It's not a fun movie that you laugh over but it was a great movie! As we exited the mall well past midnight, there was a line of autodrivers greeting us at the exit! What a service! 10 drivers to 2 young ladies - a blessing for them (as perception is women don't haggle as much). We just announced our destination. One driver came forward and said ok.
We of course asked a stupid question, "will you go by the meter?". Instant reply in kannada, "no madam. Will take Rs. 200." (Our meter reading from home to the theater was Rs.60). Sis, said she will give double whatever the meter reads (although, technically they are supposed to take only 1.5 times.

His response was classic and we couldn't stop laughing for his honesty, "I could take you round and round in circles and bring up the reading to the amount I am asking, madam."

In the midst of our laughter, sis gave the price of Rs.120.  He asked for Rs. 150. We refused. Then he asked exactly where in the area we are going to. We shared. He looked exasperated and thought that was further away than the place he thought we were going. Again we really couldn't stop laughing. Why? The auto fellow felt 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) was far enough for him to charge Rs.80 extra (I think it's supposed to be Rs. 7 per additional kilometer or something - during regular hours). Anyway, he said only if we give Rs. 130. We said, fine and headed our way. At least he entertained us!
  •  Since for N and I this is our first trip back after marriage, we met a lot of people we met briefly at the wedding and also many who couldn't make it to the wedding. So, again we were showered with gifts. I really didn't need to go shopping for clothes! Luckily they gifted items that I liked very much! Just being after the tailor was a challenge enough!
  • Restaurant service is painfully slow here! The staff are usually friendly and wonderful. It's their speed that baffles me beyond my comprehension. Often I feel as if they have gone down to some hillside to collect the purest water to bring it for me. 
Even if the menu has only 5 choices, they give you enough time to decide that you have forgotten if you are there for breakfast or lunch!

Their generosity is boundless and is so commendable. They never want to bring you the bill. Silly us, too honest folks keep reminding them for the bill. I mean they give us at least half hour grace time to make our exit without paying, but we are stubborn honest customers who just won't leave without paying. Oh and when the bill comes we still need to beg them to take the money!!

And then there are times you feel that you should get the tip for services rendered.

  • You say Queue, I say Line. But the idea is the same. The idea usually is that one person is served at one given time, most preferably on first-come-first-served basis at a single counter. Really, it's that simple. Crowding right behind the person being served is not going to speed up the process anyone bit.
Jumping queue because you feel my problem is silly is not your right to determine. Our constitution claims we are all equal.

And don't make faces when an elbow jabs you, oh was it mine?, unintentionally of course. It just means you are too close for my comfort and I need the space to access my purse - which really would help to finish what I am there for and for you to get your turn next. India is a big country - we have space. I am not asking for 5 feet of space but even a foot of space will be much appreciated.
  • Sis and I went out for dinner Saturday night. We went to a nice lounge. We were there late night. Sis warned me that at 11.30pm prompt a policeman will come to close down the place. Usually the owner will give him some money and send him on his way so no trouble is caused. I really had to see this. I had read about this when it was first implemented two years ago (? I am not sure). It's a Bangalore thing - to curb drinking and driving, and other immoral activities, or something to that effect. Luckily for us, we were right by the door. But sure enough I missed that whole scene. Sis tried to point it out to me without making it too obvious but I didn't get it. So, yes, most established places close down. We even noticed that they had turned off the front area lights (the restaurant was upstairs).
And as we went down the stairs, there was a police jeep and the policemen were making their rounds. Whatever started off as a scheme to curb whatever they wanted to curb turned into a great income boon to the policemen, who come on time for a change!

Dancing is not allowed really. Some places put them up. The bouncer usually keeps an eye out for the cop car and when it comes, everyone inside takes a seat. It sounds so much like a parent-state, with police parenting!

I found it amusing and laughed until I watched on the news what happened in Mangalore pub. It's really disgusting to do what they are doing under the name of God. In this case it was not the police. The police would usually make their arrests, make some money and go on with their lives. Here, it's just disgusting. Really these people have nothing better to do! We were molested in the name of God  
But I would live in Bangalore, compared to Mumbai and Hyderabad. I just wish that it get some good public transport. I like the city. You have people from all over the globe, you have cultural shows, it's a buzzing city that rushes when it needs to and relaxes as well. I just like the "speed" of the city. I can feel/hear the Mumbaikers snickering at the mention of speed and Bangalore! ;) 
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After a fabulous time at in-laws, we arrived home over the weekend! We took the train from Mumbai to Bangalore! It was a 24 hour train ride (that's around 998km!!) and hubby had a blast. One of these days will post some pics and write up what we have been up to. I find myself very lazy to share. Also, when I am in the mood to write something I don't have the comp time..and when I am not, I do now. one of these days....

Enjoying though time at home with parents. Will be venturing out to meet people the next few days! 
smittenbyu: (relaxed)
Before I went off on a rant, I was posting this..... Our garden beared its first flowers. The plants are so tiny and the flowers so big (hibiscus)!! The yellow shrub (behind the hibiscus) & the jasmine creeper will eventually grow to the height of the fence! oh the fragrance that will fill the place!! mmmmmmm


two more )


Aug. 20th, 2007 10:43 pm
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Sis, A (driver/PA), & I headed out this afternoon to run some errands. We stopped by at the post office to mail out the last of the few invitation cards. It's a small post office in the locality with three staff maning the hole-in-the-wall post office. We have been to this PO several times now, with the same lady attending. She attends to you when she is done with whatever she is doing. It probably doesn't matter if you are the royal blood. You wait until she is ready to help you. So, finally we got our stamps, we glued them on, and then A took them to put the cards in the postbox, sis makes a move to head to the car, and there I was picking up a few of the litter that came from the edges of the stamps. I looked around for a rubbish bin. I didn't really expect one, but Bangalore has given some surprises, so who knows. The trash was in my hand and I needed a place to place it in. I looked at my bag, and it was already filled with things. I then asked the royal-almighty if there was a rubbish bin to throw the trash. I believe no one in all her life working there has ever posed that question and so didn't get it. The other colleague got it and said in kannada, "just throw it down" (politely). And then I realised that was the common practice as I saw paper rubbish strewn around on the ground. I just couldn't let go of the rubbish to throw. With great difficulty I separated from the rubbish leaving it behind on the counter as that was the greatest extent of littering I was capable to do.

It was quite hilarious scene. They were probably wondering what planet we fell from. I was just baffled with my sister laughing her head off!
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we journeyed again today to Chikkapet/Sultanapet to get the invitation cards finalised. We walked over a block and entered the long stretch of shops selling nothing but sarees from the whole country and it seemed anyway. we ventured into one of the stores that is quite well known and has been frequented by my aunts and their circles of people. And spent nearly 3 hours looking at sarees. Sarees for me, for mom, for the important ladies and the rest of the bunch coming. 4 kanchipuram silk sarees for me, 3 for mom (these are the minimum needed they say), 5 nice kanchipuram sarees for 5 aunts who have taken care of me and known me since birth. 2 for grandmothers who are close to us and about 45 normal silk-looking sarees. 

I am overloaded with colours that radiate. One is enough to radiate the room with its bright colours & jerri border (borders with designs interlaced with threads of gold 18k or 20k gold), imagine going through 40! I will miss the amazing colours that India enjoys, whether it's on a saree or paint on the walls. 

I went in a bit hesitant as I didn't want to spend too much. And we kept in our budget and got some very nice colours! These four are from parents' side. The in-laws to be will also be buying some, but mother-in-law to-be is understanding and will only get 3 more sarees, 1 ghagra & choli (will wear for reception) & 1 salwar kameez. Let me see if I can bargain and reduce at least 1 saree... seems during the ceremony I will have to change into sarees given by them. 

Yes, in matter of 2 days, I would have worn the four sarees we got today, plus at least 2 they give from their side!! fun fun .... right...i guess in previous times each thing happened on a different day so different it's combined into 1.5 days but that tradition still continues. 

My hubby-to-be will also dorn an Indian garment. I have made a deal with him that whenever I wear an Indian dress, so will he. (it's quite common and in-fashion that for reception the guy wear a western suit; i never get that; suit is nice compliment with a dress; when the bride will be wearing such colourful sarees the groom will look so sombre in his black suit. and i like consistency! :P). no bargaining. He happily agreed! 

tomorrow will be day at home. Chikkapet/sultanapet is the heart of Bangalore. It's a completely different world that works on its own rules. The narrow roads packed with people, cars, autos, bicycles, motorbikes, trucks, horse carriages that pass through buildings that are over 100 years old (some of them) it creates such a vibrating feel. For the packedness that is the area it is relatively clean, and the aromas were not of sewage as is often in certain areas of cities but of fresh fried bondas, pakodas, samosas - Indian snacks. oh delicious! The calories consumed were burnt in calories used to walk around. It is not for the faint-hearted, it is not for those who like roads/sidewalks to glimmer in cleanliness, but if you want to, as they say here, hear the city's heartbeat you go there!

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observed in Bangalore...

  • They said women follow each other to the bathrooms together or something. Well, here I see boys/men go around in pairs every where. No complaints :P
  • It's "Please cooperate" not "sorry for the inconvenience caused"
  • Anytime anyone says, "will get done by tomorrow" add 2 days to it
  • Traffic lights are for show. Take seriously only when traffic police is under it directing flow accordingly
  • Enjoying the full moon & the stars.... cause no electricity
  • When host says, "serve you just a little bit" expect a full meal!
  • Toilet paper costs a bundle! Visiting India? Bring your own!!
  • Mangos are so cheap!! I enjoyed 5 mangos for price of US$0.75. I wouldn't even get 1 for that in KL.
  • People are friendly. You could engage in a friendly conversation with about anyone on the street. All it needs is a common language & a smile, being lost also helps
  • There's 80% chance that the shopkeeper speaks Telugu! So, they don't have to jump off the building hearing my broken Kannada! (Almost 99% that they speak English....but I try Kannada & Telugu so much fun!)
  • My head unconscioussly wobbles along with everyone I meet!
  • There's always room for a mango!


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