|Adventures in India||
Looks like Coca Cola, tastes like.....
I don't know what it tastes like. Ling hing mui is the closest I can get, you know, that sweet, salty taste in your mouth after it's gone? Especially if you were sucking it in a lemon. But it's kinda like saying a plum tastes like a peach. It's closer than anything else I can come up with but not very close.
But hey! Now I can say I've tried spiced cumin soda!
It all started Wednesday night. We'd heard good things about the movie The Reluctant Fundamentalist and so took an autorickshaw all the way across town to the only theater where it was still showing. When we got there we were told that it wasn't showing (error on its webpage) and since Wednesday night was Rs100 night, the place was crowded and the next show of any film that wasn't sold out wasn't until 9:40pm. Reluctantly, we ate a rather lackluster mall dinner and went outside to bargain our way back to Nitin's house (where we're staying these last few weeks).
Of, course, that was only the beginning of how crazy everything suddenly got.
We were in the northeast for three weeks and during that time the sky changed. We left to a city crowned by deep blue skies traversed by the occasional wispy thread of white languidly floating by. Today on my way back from the Foreigners' Regional Registration office (always an ordeal), I stared up at a sky in which grey and white dominated with light blue only taking up about a third of the vista. Although some of the clouds were cotton candy-soft, the majority were crisp outlines of grey and white cumulonimbus and nimbostratus in stark contrast to the blue behind. Today's newspaper reported three rain-related deaths: two by lightning strikes and one by "flying asbestos panels." It also reports that the monsoon should arrive ahead of season, possibly hitting Kerala as early as next week. My laundry still dried in a matter of hours, however, so I guess it's not here yet...
Misty Darjeeling forest
We are just back from a three-week trip to Darjeeling (to visit ATREE fieldsites) and Sikkim (for a family trek).
The visit north was fantastic and just what we all needed after so much time in the city. May is peak tourist-season in the hills because it's right before the monsoon rains start and most Indians are on summer holidays. Somewhat unfortunately for us, the rains (tho not the monsoons) came early this year and although we saw a bit of sun we didn't see much while there. No worries. We've been in the sun and heat for months on end now and no Volcano-raised person can be entirely comfortable without feeling the rain every now-and-then.
Waking up on his first morning at Fortis Hospital
You gotta hand it to my dad. There is nothing he does in half-measures. All out or nothing.
So, I should have expected that things wouldn't go as planned when they arrived. Back in November we worked out dates (arriving just after kids' vacation started), then earlier this year we made the plan: Ajanta and Ellora caves (supposed to be some of the coolest temples in India) followed by some time in a S. India hill station. It was going to be great!
U.S. playgrounds are for sissies. Seriously. Yesterday I went to two of the best playgrounds I've ever been to. One was part of the Nehru Planetarium, the other near-by. Both were science and inquiry based. Most of the equipment in both of them would probably be illegal in the US.
Today's paper had a story about a woman who was beaten up and raped by a man from her village who was known to be a "local criminal" and knew that she lived alone. After the act he passed out (he'd been drinking heavily) and she prepared to self-immolate due to the shame. Something stopped her though and instead she threw the the kerosine-soaked sari on him and burnt him alive. A rape case was registered by the police against the deceased, and on request from the widow, a murder case against the rape victim.
So, I wonder: If your spouse brutally raped a neighbor who turned around and killed him, would you press charges?
After walking thru the area where they were "playing Holi"
Holi, Festival of Spring and of Colours is here. It seems to be the most secular of the Hindu festivals and is all about drenching your friends (and strangers!) in color and water. It, apparently, isn't celebrated in the South as much as in the North, but Bangalore is the exception. Our apartment put on a festival with a dinner and concert Tuesday night and colour play and lunch on Wednesday. We listened to the concert, and had tickets for lunch. On the way to lunch Tim and I got waylaid (see pics). We let the kids join in when they got home from school (5pm). Pictures below:
Kekai as captain
After the Fulbright conference we traveled down the coast by bus, boat, and train until we reached the southern-most tip of India. A very holy as well as a pretty-darn-cool place-to-have-been. You can see three oceans come together and watch the sun rise in the Bay of Bengal, travel over the Indian Ocean, and set in the Arabian Sea. Cool.
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