December 2005 in Bangalore through the eyes of an Englishman

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31/12/2005 - Busman's holiday

As of the 23rd, I've nominally been on holiday, having booked Christmas week and the first week of the new year as time off work. As it's turned out, I've been going in in the mornings, because I've got a lot of stuff to get finished on the new project I'm working on. This works fine for me. I wouldn't do much with the mornings anyway, and that way I can get out while it's the best of the sunshine, and be on holiday in the afternoons.

I forgot to mention that earlier in the month I saw Lavanya, who has been conspicuous by her absence for many months. She introduced me to this bar called Pecos, which has a splendid collection of rock and blues tapes from the 70s and 80s. Since then I've taken to spending odd hours there to listen to the likes of Zeppelin, Bob Marley , and the Doors. Lavanya said she was going to live in Chennai the next day, but the word is that she's still in Bangalore, in hospital again after another overdose of something.

So, it's the end of another year. Terry saw the prospective employer again, and actually saw his boss, who seemed to still want to go ahead with the job. But that of course is very much "we'll see". Tonight, TGIF are doing a New Year's Eve party for couples at RS 3000 a pair, so we'll probably give that a try. I'll catch you in the New Year.

The highlight of Christmas brunch.
25/12/2005 - Christmas Brunch

The Taj were doing a special brunch for Christmas day, so I had gone there on the Friday so see if Terry could get a dispensation to attend. The food and beverage manager assented, so we invited Nisha and her new flatmate, and turned up at the appointed time - one thirty. Neither of our two invitees turned up, so from that point of view I was out of pocket by RS 2200. Possibly we can use it later.

However this did not detract from the quality of the spread - eat your hearts out Nisha and Bindu. There was turkey, and barbecued beef steak, and chipolatas wrapped in bacon, and numerous forms of chicken and seafood, as well as the usual excellent selection of Indian vegetarian dishes. But the piece de resistance was the Bread and Butter Pudding. A slightly unusual choice as a Christmas dessert, but to die for. At the top it was crispy browned bread and butter pudding, and at the bottom it was like créme brulee. I stuffed myself, including three helpings of the pudding, and felt distinctly spherical for the rest of the day: but it was worth it.

We met an Indian woman - actually I think more a cosmopolitan woman - called Genevieve, who was there with her son, daughter in law, and grandchildren. She and Terry got on famously, and they were supposed to get together during the week.

Balbir & Terry.

The library at the Bowring Club.
17/12/2005 - - Another Year

Looks like I was right about Terry's prospective employer. We haven't seen hide or hair of him for about 10 days. Possibly not a bad thing, I'm not sure that the two of them were a good employer/employee fit.

Today was Balbir & Mona's 5th anniversary. Balbir has been honing these events down in successive years, from something approximating a corporate road show, in the general direction of "come in and have a drink - the food'll be ready in ten minutes". All that stood between this year and the final objective was a short video of their recent trip to England. It turned out they'd come back the day I flew out. We watched it once, then the drinks were served, and it was put on repeat as a soothing background. Thanks Balbir - way to go!

Margaret, the beauty parlor proprietor, and her husband were there, and they took us under their arm for the evening, to the Bowring Club and then on with some friends for dinner at the Tandoor restaurant on MG Road. The Bowring club is a relic of the British Raj. It's library, which I shot through a glass door - hence the glare - appears to be permanently locked up. You get the feeling that if you walked in there you might find a newspaper on the table from 1947. They do have some nice full-size snooker tables elsewhere though.

Balbir is probably right about Bangalore. The infrastructure is so fucked up now, and deteriorating so quickly, that the chances of recovering it are probably around zero. This is compounded by the usual facts of Indian political life. The majority of the people in Karnataka don't live in cities, so there's no electoral benefit to be had by the politicians from maintaining the state capital. It'll get a burst of cosmetic activity just before the next election, but by that time it will probably have fallen to pieces, and all the businesses will have moved to Hyderabad. One of these days I'll get on my byke and do a little pictorial "road to hell" feature.

Terry eating dal fry.

View of the sky.


Wow man!.

Smile please.
3/12/2005 - December Already

There's not a great deal to report. I'm giving 3 to 1 odds that Terry's potential new employer is a TGKO merchant. He came over to our apartment on Thursday night with beer and a bottle of whiskey, and got very drunk and distinctly out of order. Then the next day he phoned Terry like nothing had happened.

I don't know who the girl is, but I thought she looked pretty cute - at TGIF I think.
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