February 2007 in Bangalore through the eyes of an Englishman

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28/2/2007 - Another Month Blown Away

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, so it should be in pretty good order now as another month slips by.

Really, the reality is that most people's lives are pretty boring most of the time. Maybe if one could get down to the nitty gritty of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, it could be made to be closer to a soap opera. However, since mine lacks the drugs - alcohol excepted of course, and the rock and roll, there are bound to be gaps. But shut up, you old fart. This line of reasoning does not lead anywhere useful.

Eleanor in the US.

21/2/2007 - Good Things in Life

Today I got an email from my ex-wife Lynn in New Jersey. I had asked her if she happened to have my birth certificate lying around anywhere, and as it happens she does. She sent me the picture of Eleanor in the US on one of those quad motorcycle vehicles (I'm tempted to pronounce that as 'vee-hic-als') with her subsequent husband Leo. I've never seen a picture of him before - he looks like a really nice guy.

Eleanor had been to visit with Rachel and her husband's mum Joan. Rachel and Lynn are still good friends, and Rachel has been there several times since Lynn and I parted. Apparently it was mortally cold, and they had an exciting takeoff from Newark on the way back because of the snow, but a good time was had by all.

Very busy at work at the moment, but that's good - the work day flies by. Unfortunately, so do the evenings. Time flies when you're enjoying yourself. My pleasures are relatively simple these days. Work early; go for a couple of pints at the Night Watchman - usually with Adia, who can now give me a ride home on her scooter; go home and make something to eat; watch the TV for an hour: then off to bed.

I've been off the bicycle for about a week as I've had another bout of the allergic bronchitis caused by Bangalore's wonderful atmosphere. I went to see the man yesterday, and he's given me the usual cocktail of drugs, so I should be getting exercise again soon. Nonetheless, it will be good for me to get away from it next year and get into the cleaner air of Tanzania.

Eleanor's parcel.

20/2/2007 - Even Worse

It appears from more recent news that the poor buggers on the train were not only confined behind bars, but also behind locked doors. Whoever locked them in or ordered them to be locked in should do time in prison. That amounts to gross negligence which caused deaths, which I believe is very close to manslaughter. You can call it security precautions till you're blue in the face, but I'm not buying it!

The picture is nothing to do with that. It's the parcel I sent to Eleanor for Christmas that they would not let me take a picture of at the Bangalore Post Office. Rachel took a picture of it at the other end. Looks a bit like a piece of meat wrapped up in a cloth and leaking. That's actually the sealing wax. Anyway the main thing is that it arrived, albeit well after Christmas, while the things I sent there by snail mail arrived in good time. As the Americans say, go figure.

Condemned to death.

19/2/2007 - Fire Regulations?

The train bombing in India today points out a broader issue about security and safety in India. To a British person coming here, the Indian obsession with security is quite surprising. One of the worst features of this is that it seems to obscure simple safety precautions that would be held as sacrosanct in many other countries.

Anyone viewing the pictures from today's tragedy will have seen that the burned out coaches had bars across their windows. It follows that once a fire got started inside, most of the occupants would have no choice but to fry. Given that Indian 'express' trains don't travel particularly quickly, this is a travesty. Many of the occupants would have been able to kick out the windows and jump with a good chance of survival.

This situation is not limited to the railways. Most blocks of flats (apartment blocks) also have bars on all the windows, presumably to deter unauthorized access. In our apartment, if a serious fire were to break out in the kitchen or the living room area while we were in one of the bedrooms, we would have to fry too. You don't even have the old WW1 airmans choice of jump or burn, and jump it would have to be because there are no fire escapes.

In New York, or probably any city in Europe, the place would be shut down by the fire department, as should be the railway system in India until they take the bars away.

A mobile Adia.

10/2/2007 - A New Toy.

Yes, I've been dilatory again. Much the same excuse as most of January; lots of work and competing activities at the weekends. Since our visit, Adia's dad seems to view Adia as the best thing since sliced bread, and I think she has now assumed the mantle of first-born son. Knowing that she was having a hard time getting to her classes in Bangalore because of the uncooperative and fickle nature of Bangalore's auto drivers, he has come up with the money for her to get a scooter. Consequently we've spent quite a bit of time looking at the various models, the technicalities of getting a two-wheeler driver's license, and so on.

Last weekend, the deed was done. The license should not be a problem, she's got a two-wheeler learners license, and will have to take a test 30 days from when she got it. That should not be difficult though, since she already has a license to drive a car.

She got a Honda Dio because it is a little lighter then the Activa, and, by all accounts, it seems likely that the Hondas hold their value better than any of the other models. She's not exactly breaking speed limits yet, but she's delighted that she can now get to her classes in the morning in about 15 minutes, without the preliminary wait while half a dozen auto drivers decline the trip.

Of course, I now feel even more of a second class citizen going to work on my bike, but I'm going to persist with it. I still need the exercise.

African night at TGIF.

3/2/2007 - February.

Friday night in TGIF was like being back in Tanzania. Largely by coincidence quite a large number of East Africans turned up. My friend Thierry Braham from New York also flew in this week to spend some time teaching here, so the evening was quite a party.

February looks like being a repeat of January. I'm still very busy at work, and it does not look like it will slack up in a hurry. But plenty of work is a lot better than none.
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