Monday, March 25, 2013

Watching me, watching you, watching him, watching me..........

Yesterday in the hot, hot weather of Bangers under the summer sun, a couple of friends and I headed to Varthur village, armed as always with our cameras. We met at one friend's house where we of course had to have a coffee and quick chat and also waste away any vestige of good photo light!

Varthur village is a typical village on the out skirts of Bangalore. The school bus bumps through it on it's daily trip to Indus. As there's nothing out of the norm by village standards about Varthur, four white ladies and their cameras are quite a curiosity and I'm never quite sure who is watching who.....

The colors and textures of India are once again vibrant and eye catching.

The boy peeping over his balcony and the guy, which you probably cant see as the pics here are so small has one eye slightly open, keeping a dozy eye on us!

And of course it's not always who's looking at you but sometimes what!!

And yes I do sometimes feel we are spying and impinging on people's privacy but if they do look as tho they are not happy to be immortalized on my blog or photo collection I don't take that pic.

And of course some folks positively want their pics taken.......Bollywood here they come.....

School kids, always ready with a smile, especially I guess on the way home from school!

And are you telling me, this beautiful lady did not dress to match her background......too good a match to be a co-incidence....

and she thought we were seriously funny!!

Of course Bollywood hero's and heroine's lurk behind every corner on every wall...

And these sisters were just too gorgeous not to put in...

One of many local photo trips I hope with the gang of four!!

Hoppy Easter!

Being proud of one, other or both of my brats is nothing new but usually for academics or sports..the usual stuff......

But not for being man enough to stand on stage wearing a pair of bunny ears.... I have to say...despite the fact I could have slapped my eldest for not learning his lines or even having got himself a script he rocked it big time!

This was BICF (our Church here in Bangers) Easter program last Sunday on Palm Sunday. Ads had a main role of the Easter Bunny at a sort of Walmart store, where he is tracked down by some kids he knows who explain to him the true meaning of Easter. He was not remotely embarrassed, entirely confident and played to his audience. In fact I think he enjoyed every minute of it!

Wills meantime was in the kids choir -seen at the back here wearing the hat (don't ask me why!)

Anyway the kids were all great and Ads, I was totally impressed, but please do just pretend to learn your lines next time if only for me!!

To everyone out there......Have a Hoppy Easter.........

Deepest but not darkest foot!

Yesterday evening as both kids were sleeping elsewhere Simon and I went for a walk. Not any old walk but a tour into an urban village. Behind Garuda Mall, a bright new shiny mall complete with a Marks and Sparks and multiple designer labels, lies what was Old Shoolay, now called Ashok Nagar.

Never more than here is Bangalore a juxtaposition of the old and the new, the young turks in their designer duds drinking latte and cappuccino only a few hundred yards from the tiny windy streets and alleyways hosting those hanging onto a by gone age.

This was the maiden voyage/walk of The Walking Co, led by Pramod. A group of some of his family and friends and us! This is India so we started in a tea stop. A really charming little tea stop. However
the chai was not forthcoming, so we enjoyed the ambience, sitting low on pallets covered with cushions, tables were upturned varnished crates and light provided by wonderful tea pot lamp shades, and then started  sans chai on our walk.

Its was almost like being in Dr Who's TARDIS. As we cross the busy street and are swept back in time. The entrance to the village is a temple which had twice been visited by Mahatma Ghandi. We saw the plack and faded yellowed newspaper articles to verify.

Bangalore was historically a collection of villages....the trade of this one was money lending, some of the original pawn shops are still in place today and creating floral........arrangements. Arrangements  seems too small a word.....for the huge creations made  on frames such as this for weddings.

Urban development is strong, powerful and unyielding  but some of the old trees, even the corporate developers circumnavigate. Have no idea what this tree was but just that it was humongous!!

And then into the village proper..........where life is conducted on the street and the ancient traditions prevail....



We walked exploring this hidden gem in down town Bangers until the twilight gave way to night. Then we bid our fellow walkers good night, confident we will join Pramod on another tour into a another hitherto undiscovered part of Bangalore. So cool to find these hidden parts of history off the beaten.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kate Bracks came to Bangers!

Our TV channels are a little strange here. It's a very all or nothing approach. We may have Greys Anatomy, every night Monday to Friday for months as we catch up from the very beginning to being not quite so behind but still 3 or 4 series out of date. As it was with Australian Master chef. We saw Kate Bracks achieve in several weeks, what it took her seven months and viewers in other countries a few months to do which was win series three.

The GM of the new Marriot here is an Aussie and with that connection who better than to get people in their thousands (yes it really was) through his doors than the now-celebrity chef, Kate Bracks. I'm not sure all the Indians who attended the session we did really knew who Kate was, but they knew she was famous and any potential photo op and they were there.

Ads was really keen to go and managed to manoeuvre himself directly behind Kate for the 'children's' photo op at the end. In fact there were quite a few other kids he knew at the event.

She was really good and came over just like she did on the TV show. Down to earth, personable and very friendly.

She cooked chocolate, raspberry, hazelnut muffins which we are going to try at the weekend. Though rasps being in short supply and when they can be found are expensive and not so good, we are going to sub strawbs as they are in season and quite yummy. She also made her retro coffee cake which I remember her making on the show.

We got samples of both, which to be quite honest were OK, but being made in bulk by the hotel staff, I think something may have been lost in translation and the sheer scale of the cooking.

Anyway it was another of those events one would never have thought we'd have been doing in India. Ads now thinks he is getting quite cultured as in a matter of weeks he has been of a photo exhibition and a cooking demo!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

All for a game of tennis!!!

Poor Purander is running late.....a dog ate his bike seat....yes sounds a tad far fetched but the proof of the in what the stray dog has eaten..... The plastic carrier bag is filled with foam the dog had chewed off and Purander collected from the ground to make his journey more comfortable.

So no ride to tennis so I head for the bus but the traffic is soooo backed up, yes worse than usual, so a rick it will be. We move very slowly, when we move at all. Crossing Maratathalli bridge at a slow snails pace I have time read the murals on the walls of the bridge all very eco, expounding the necessity of saving our planet.

This would be all for the good if I were not currently sitting in a midst of ricks, motorbikes and buses leaving mega size carbon footprints as they belch out vast quantities of dirty, smelly, pollutants.

Having been negotiated down to a reasonable rate for his services rick driver is not finding this slow crawl along the jam packed road particularly financially lucrative so he changes without warning to t'other side of the tracks and into on coming traffic......and we are not talking small on coming traffic, we are talking big....

Anyway I get to tennis, shaken and stirred but in one piece. And after a couple of hours of sweating it out in the sun with my tennis buddies conclude it was worth it!

I then proceed to the mall by car,  Purander having caught up with me by now, where they are having a sort of flea market including a stall of Fedora's. The boys have a bit of a Neill Caffrey, White Collar thing going on. So with the wonders of modern technology I can take pics and email Ads...
so he can make his selection.

Move over Neill Caffrey.....the Towers boys are in town!!

Lastly - the fruit and veggies - City Market.

Have been on a blog hiatus for a few weeks - both been busy and technical issues!

But back to city market - First to prove I was really there:

Of course no market is complete without the fruit and veggies, and being India -spices and color!!

The jaggary in all shapes and sizes...

 Rows upon rows of fiery chilly competing for redness with the pomegranates

And of course in amongst the hustle and bustle.....there's always time to pooja!!

Going to a dog show???

For a variety of reasons there have been a flurry of emails concerning 'grooming requirements' for school. As my sadly no longer resident in Bangers friend C commented "Are they going to school or to compete at Crufts"

A sample:

"The students need to come in Formal uniform and have to be properly groomed. Please support us in checking their grooming at home especially the hair cut for boys, hair neatly tied back for girls and polished shoes"

     "This is to convey that, the uniform schedule and grooming requirements need to be  strictly adhered to. For this purpose, we look forward to your support in ensuring that your child comes to school properly attired. The uniform schedule is once again enclosed for your ready reference. In addition, the grooming requirements are given below;

          1.      Hair not to be all over the face, needs to be pinned back neatly (girls), no     coloured clips only Black hair bands/clips.
        Hair to be cut (boys) -  no hair colour for both boys and girls.
            2.     Skirt to be one inch above the knee not above that.
3.     Shirt to be tucked in and  top button in place.
4.    Belt and tie to be worn appropriately.
5.    School socks to be worn four inches above the ankle with polished shoes.
6.   No nail enamel, multiple earrings, jewellery,  make up.
7.   Only sweaters / jackets provided by the school to be worn.
8.   Uniforms worn should be washed and neatly ironed.

Referring to number 5. the only thing that poor Wills has that are four inches above the ankle are his formal pants that were fitted last August. Now not only dorkily short but very tight around the waist!! His shirts are all set to do an incredible hulk thing as they strain at the seams. 

Ads' pants that were too loose last August are still loose as he seems to get taller and thiner, a bit  like stretching a piece of play dough. For some reason his got made extra long last summer - maybe the Indus tailor for saw the upcoming growth spurt.

At the bus stop in the early morn a decidedly raggedy group of street urchins - top buttons undone, shirts untucked, ties askew, shoe laces undone, shoes backs trodden down clamber wearily onboard. On return the same motley crew disembark, ties round heads like red indians, shirts all grubby with dust, paint and pen and once again untucked. Somehow there must be a transformation at the other end of the journey on Indus property!!

The past two years, once Bangers gets hot and toasty formal uniforms are abandoned and its PE uniform everyday - that's tee-shirt and shorts. Still the ghastly socks and regulation hair cut but a tad easier in the mornings.