|Adventures in India||
September 20th (second day of Ganesh Chathurti) was also a National bandh (strike) against a bunch of policies suddenly (it seemed to me) decreed by the government.
View from our window: Kekai with friends -- all schools were closed
Bangalore was essentially shut down with all businesses and most transportation shuttered. It was amazingly quiet in our apartment without the usual background noise of revving engines and frantic horns that usually pours in our open windows. I'd been told by multiple people that it was best not to venture out during the bandh in case things got ugly, but the papers said that it remained peaceful in Bangalore (not so much in some of the other cities). Everyone in our complex seemed to be staying in and since all schools had been canceled (they're holding classes this Saturday instead) all the kids were there running around and Kalani and Kekai really enjoyed the free time. We went down to the pool (I braved it in my one-piece suit and surf trunks. All the females here wear these lycra dress things in the pool and I was worried about how much attention I'd attract but it wasn't any worse than I usually attract so I guess I'm off the hook for buying a long-sleeved lycra swim-dress). Brrr! The sun was shining on it but the water was still really cold.
We also had our first invitation from neighbors to stop by for coffee which was nice. It was good getting to know some of our neighbors and Geeta was really helpful in explaining some of the things I didn't understand about Hinduism and the Ganesh celebrations.
Girls getting ready to perform
Last night there was again a big to-do in the tent near the temple. Residents performed dances and sang songs on stage. They asked us to perform something but we chickened out. I doubt we'll be able to get off the hook so easily for the next big holidays in the first week of October. We'd better start practicing now. They again had prasad, but since it was already after 9pm and we hadn't fed the kids dinner yet, we slipped out as they were giving the food to Ganesh.
Today (9/21, Friday) we have train tickets to go to Mysore for the weekend. Mysore is South-west of Bangalore and supposed to be a beautiful city. Tipu Sultan had palaces there (kids have extracted a promise that this time we will find the armory) and the area is famous for silk and sandalwood. There is also a bird sanctuary outside town that's supposed to be really nice. We should get back to Bangalore just in time to see the Mantri Greens Ganesha off for his immersion in the nearest reservoir (2 teenagers drowned yesterday while immersing a Ganesh idol, it seems to be very common this time of year).
Click Title (or "Read More") to read the full text