Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Some Pictures

At the Lal Bagh Flower Show-

I have been to 2 flower shows at Lal Bagh, but it still thrills me to see that such beauties exist in the same world as us- surely there is a God somewhere and if there is then surely flowers are his messangers of hope and love!

Forlorn Mornings and Evenings Alone!

Well, Ma Baba left for Delhi last night leaving me pondering on my predicament! When the Ma Babas (ie my parents or in laws) come then I can enjoy the morning and evening cups of tea with a little bit of adda and a few biscuits. Now I do not make the morning cup at all and the evening tea is also very boring as there is no adult conversation! I am the person spending the most time with Ma Baba, somehow after the initial shedding of tears and whining the kids settle down well into their former routine but I can still feel the emptiness. It is true that I loved to do some independent house keeping in Bangalore after staying with my in-laws for 10 years but still, I basically like to have people around me, and I hated to see Ma Baba go. However it is a fact that this time I was able to take them around the city without the help of the Mr and they enjoyed thoroughly! We went to Bannerghata on our own, Ma and I went to Chikpete one afternoon, we also went for the Lal Bagh flower show and we also spent an evening at Brigade road.
The Mr took us for the Nandi Hill expedition and on Republic day we went to Shivasamudram and spent a day visiting the 'Gagan Chukki' and the 'Barra chukki' falls. It is not the right time of the year to visit these falls as there was hardly any water but whatever there was gave us a good idea of what the place is like during the monsoons- simply breathtaking!
At the burra chukki falls we could walk down 500 or so steps to the water. Ma Baba waited at the top while we got down to where the water was falling in several strands. We immersed our feet in the little pools that the water was making. However I noticed something alarming people were washing clothes in one of the pools and when one obnoxious character started scrubbing himself with a kitchen scrubber after lathering himself with a packet of clinic plus shampoo, I could not stand it any longer and left the place. Then I noticed that the stony bed of the pool that lay exposed due to the receding waters was full of such sachetes, the rocks also had socks, underwear, pieces of glass (from bottles of booze), baby diapers, items of clothing and even an ST ! I am sorry to say this but at this rate this beautiful spot is going to turn into a garbage dump. We hurried up the rocky steps, I nearly killed myself trying to clamber up at breakneck speed. The mite was hollering because we did not take the coracle boat ride there and the Mr climbed the steps with the bawling baby. There should be some laws against contaminating these beautiful places. I have taken photos of the washing and bathing that was going on and I seek your help in showing them to the proper authorities. Firstly no soap should be allowed here. The tea stall at the top of the hill was selling shampoo sachets! I have seen waterfalls like this in Malshej ghat in Maharashtra where people bathe in the gushing waters but they do not litter the place. Then there should at least be some sort of law and order authority to curb such filthy practices.
This morning I was pleasantly surprised to see how the Mudiwala lake has been cleaned and improved in today's Bangalore Mirror newspaper, I am sure that something can also be done for the glorious barra chukki!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Weekend Adventure of Dadubhai Thamma!

All we have to do to go to Bannerghata National Park is to turn the corner at Dairy Circle and wait for the grand volvo bus that comes along at regular intervals and so we did on Saturday morning with Ma Baba in tow! What followed was a nerve soothing ride in a volvo down Bannerghata road- past the Meenakshi Temple, past Apollo Hospital and sundry technical institutions and residential schools to the forest area. I planned the trip carefully- first was the Butterfly Park. After going for the safari and visiting the zoo one does not have the energy to loll at this quaint little enclosure teeming with butterflies of every hue. There are some exquisite flowers too. Then we went for the safari. To tell you the truth, I did not want to go for it because it is a bumpy ride on a cramped bus, I am rendered completely immobile because of the mite who sits on my lap and refuses to budge, if a lion is spotted on the opposite side of the bus I cannot stand up and get a good view of is because the mite is sitting put. Anyhow the Mr insisted that we go for it because it is a unique feature of this national park. Off we went for the 'Grand Safari' there was an insufferably 'naeka' (an untranslatable Bengali term which means stupid, silly, idiotic, foolish tiresome all rolled into one, in other words it has a pretty wide connotation and yet not fully explainable in any tongue other than Bengali) Bengali couple sitting behind Baba and my seat who said stuff like- "aami ei animalder shathe handshake korbo"( I want to shake hands with the animals), " aami bear ta ke biscuit debo" (I want to give a biscuit to this bear), -the girl. The boy says " aachha tumi ae animal gulor shathe ekhane thakte parbe?" (will you be able to live with these animals?)"haaaan" says the girl. The boy says " lion mane to shara jaigai doure barabe e gulo mone hoi oshustho" (lions should be running ferociously about the place, these look ill) The fool does not know that lions are very lazy and they are nocturnal hunters like all cats, and we were visiting the zoo in the middle of the afternoon when the animals are relaxing after a meal. " Aer por Corbett jabo, Kazhiranga jabo, Ranthambor jabo" says the boy announcing his intention of inflicting their noxious presence on almost all the national parks and sanctuaries in this country. May they never cross my path! I suffered silently because I did not want to get into unpleasantries. We spotted deer, wild buffaloes, black sloth bear, a lion and lioness, several tigers. Thereafter we had lunch in the zoo and took a short route around it and headed back home on the volvo- a day well spent.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Bangalore Palace

We had planned to go to the palace for a long time since our arrival in Bangalore but we finally made it yesterday with Ma Baba in tow! As soon as the family posed for a photo outside the palace we heard a shrill whistle and a cacophony of shouts! No photos unless you pay for the camera! When we entered we were greeted by a genial gentleman who gave a concession on the entry fee for Ma Baba as they are senior citizens although there was no such concession mentioned in the rule book! What a contrast from the whistleman outside! Then we were given an equally genial guide by him. Oh, I forgot to mention that the entry fee is a pretty high 100Rs per person above the age of 10! The camera fee is an even more astounding 500Rs! The two black stately cars parked outside the palace told us that the royal inmate is in town. And later so did the guide. The present king is an enterprising person and is making the most of his vast inheritance by leasing out the royal lawns and the marriage hall in the palace costs 2500,000 per night a sum that many are prepared to pay according to our guide. First we saw the royal conference room, then the head of the mad elephant that was killed by the king in the 1950s, the ancient lift, even the bedrooms of former kings. We had also visited the Mysore palace, it is grander and more well preserved, but this palace won our hearts because it looked lived in, and we were allowed to amble along and sit here and there. We did not pay for the camera but the group of young foreign girls with us clicked away merrily. The most striking was the meeting room with its original furniture, gold plated mirror, stained glass windows and beautiful paintings was wonderful. More wonderful were the photographs of the elephant hunt the dasara festival processions, of lions and one of two deer frolicking in the jungle grass. Some excellent chinese wall paper and kids furniture gifted by the Chinese. Many little things that are worth taking a look at. One suggestion to His Highness Mr Wodeyar- please reduce the camera money to Rs 200 then more people will pay and there will be more publicity for this lovely home of his that he has so kindly thrown open to the public.

A Few Glorious Hours With Ray's Apu!

The in-laws and I are on a major movie watching spree. The Mr has bought several of the Satyajit Ray classics on DVD and he encouraged us to see them. We watched 'Parah Pathor' after years, Baba said he is seeing it after 20years! It was wonderful! Then we embarked upon the Apu trilogy. 'Pather Pachali' is the all time classic with everyone from the kid who plays little Durga to the Pishima who looks about a 100 have put in sterling performances. I believe the book upon which the film is based has about a hundred characters. Ray has carefully selected the characters whom he wanted to give life- and what life he has breathed! Each expression of Durga and Apu's mother, pishima, the cruel jethima- the expressions of each child even if the camera focuses on him/her for a second is perfect. The little moments of hope amidst the misery- when Apu's father is speaking of the future to his mother, the children's games and their free jaunts into the countryside. The films speak of Apu's growth as a human being from the time of his birth to the time when he becomes mature enough to take the responsibility of his son. I can write reams and reams on the three films but still you can get the real feeling when you see them. I think it will hold a special feeling for Bengalis because of their background, I don't know, I would like to hear what a non-bengali person who has seen it thinks. Is any such person reading this post? Hello....?
We also watched 'Slumdog Millionaire' last night- its theme is also hope amidst abject poverty and destitution but its appeal is urban, something that city dwellers all over the world can identify with. It is fast paced and predictable- and gives a thrill. I am comparing Ray's film and SM because I saw them almost one after the other- so people who worship Ray please do not read anything into this!
Then the Brat, MIL and I watched 'Rab ne Banadi Jodi' the Mr thinks he is above such hogwash, and Baba has developed an allergy to SRK which a contagious infection from his friend and my ex-boss who has been talking about his affliction to Baba for years! Anyhow I liked the film and Ma was also happy to see whatever her grandchildren allowed her to see. It was good timepass.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Parents and Grandparents

The mite has decided to move to Delhi with his dadubhai thamma! He ofcourse thinks that I am going with him as a package deal. He says " aami kaal Delhi jachhi", "aamar Delhi bhalo laage" (Iam going to Delhi tomorrow, I like Delhi). Actually he likes his grandparents- getting up in the morning and having someone to run to. being fed biscuits lovingly broken into small pieces, to help him eat it, going off to the terrece for a short stroll at the drop of the hat, playing silly games which his parents will never play with him. Always having his way, at any cost, getting whatever he points at in the neighbourhood bakery...the list is endless. The child can sense this flow of unending, unconditional, overwhelming love that flows from the grandparents. Nm, dear, that is the reason for this attachment. Even though I have had several disagreements with the inlaws, I have tried to keep the kids away from it and let the love flow. But that does not mean that the kids do not adore me, and I will never put them in a situation where they have to choose between us. There is place enough in their little hearts for all of us! Look, we can never feel the feeling of overwhelming love for our inlaws and neither they for us but why should that affect the relationship with their grandchildren. I was very close to my grandmom, but she was a lady with a lot of personality- basically, on her worst days she could be termed a control freak with an acid tongue. My mom was a silent sufferer, she forgave everything. In spite of being close to Amma (my grandmom) I would stand up for Ma and ask her to rebel, as I most often did. I think both these women my Amma and my Ma shaped my character, I have learnt a great deal from both and I would nevr be the person I am if I had not encountered my grandmother. So I do not want to deprive my children from the company of their grandparents and I am glad that all four of their grandparents are around and willing to spend their time with them.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dadubhai Thamma Goes to Nandi Hills

View from bus window while starting the climb.

The Brat and her 'fairy God thamma' inside the bus.
The family starting their climb on foot from the bus stop.

Dadubhai plucks huge datura flowers from the side of the tank.

Near Nehru Nilaya almost at the top.

Taking a break from the climb.

Small tuft on the temple wall.

Inside the Shiva temple.

At the top of the hill.

View from the top.

Waiting for the bus that will take us back to Bangalore.

Monkeys galore.

A last look at the hills from the bus window.

The hills turn to plains.

Dadubhai Thamma at Lal Bagh

Under the bougainvillea tree near the entrance
Waiting for the electric bus
Riding around the garden
At the lake
Sitting on the 300year old tree
The Brat clicks mumma on the oldest tree
The 'fossilized' tree
The floral clock
Resting after the trip

Thamma Dadubhai Comes to Town!

The kids are going about with a ear to ear grin permanently fixed on their faces as their grandparents have arrived from Delhi, and its almost like having Santa Claus coming to stay,specially for the brat for she is perpetually saying.."..and I also want a scooty and a Barbie and lots of ballons etc etc etc". Scarcely are these words out of her mouth than Thamma (grandma) says " ekhani scooty-tutty kothai paoa jai, aami poisha diye jabo tomra kine dio" (where do you get scooties here, I'll leave money with you and you can buy it for her). I won't be surprised if the Brat hands her a list of things that she would like to have soon! The mite, oblivious to the fact that Dadubhai-Thamma are actually Santa in disguise, only wants to play- all the time! The grandparents endure all kinds of torture in his hands- he likes to comb thamma's hair- I can't bear to see this as he makes an impossible mess of it and the poor lady calmly bears the brunt! He climbs up and down grandpa and uses his feet as a see saw!

New Year Party Pictures

Getting into the party mode

The Brat learns a few tricks of the trade from the magician

My Babies Showing off their tattoos
The kids At the new year party

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year to one and all!

May 2009 bring peace and love may we find an answer to all the arguments in favour of hatred and may we preserve this planet in its beauty and purity for those who will come after us. Since the new year comes so close after Christmas, it can never stand for anything else than love and hope and brotherhood. It seems that a British television channel invited the Iranian President to deliver an 'alternative' Christmas Day message sending the entire British political fraternity into a tizzy! Finally nothing untoward happened and the President delivered a non-controversial message saying that if Christ were here today he would be in favour of justice and love for humanity and opposed to "warmongers, occupiers,terrorists and bullies the world over". Television channels have been accused of going to great lenths to increase their viewership including such highly politically incorrect things. However this time I thought they have been successful in showing the world that there can be dialogue between two kinds of opinions if each side wants the same and that even an Islamic leader who symbolizes a force against the Christian world understands the basic tenets of Christianity and has nothing against them. Does the Christian world know what Islam in essence stands for? I doubt whether any of the leaders of the Christian world can answer that correctly. Ideas can only be exchanged if there is a dialogue between the two different parties, and one dialogue begins it will be found that we all want to live in peace in this planet of ours and make it safe and beautiful for our children everything else is redundant 'superstructure'.
We enjoyed a quiet new year at a restaurant the buffet dinner was delicious and the children were entertained by a magician and a tatto artist. We came back at 11 and spent the last hour of 2008 watching the various celebrations on TV. Today I took the kids to watch 'Jumbo' it was good fun! The new year pics are not loaded in computer so I leave you with some Christmas pics. The brats personal tree looks exactly like nm's Betu's tree, doesn't it nm? And please say how you liked the Humpi pics dear nm, I put them up in a hurry specially because you asked for them, otherwise I would be still procrastinating!