January 2004 in Bangalore through the eyes of an Englishman -  Contact  Current Month  Previous  Next  Index  Software


Terry and Lavanya with the doorman outside Hypnos

Terry, Lavanya, and doorman.

The courtyard at the Good Earth

The courtyard.

1/2004 - January in a nutshell

You might have thought that by January I would have got my act together again, but no. I didn't get the laptop back until about the 8th, and since we were moving, I'd done nothing about an Internet connection. Excuses, excuses.

As I said, the real estate agent, generally known as KJ (Es'status - kanayajethani@hotmail.com - visitors to Bangalore please note), had found us a place pretty promptly. By the New Year, it was clear that, barring accidents, a deal would be done at the same price we'd been paying before, and in time for our ritual kicking-out date. The new place is closer to the city centre, not very far away from the east end of MG Road. It's a much smaller apartment block, maybe 40 apartments in all, and KG assured us that our strange foreign ways would be better tolerated here than at our current abode.

The software testing began in earnest at work with the New Year. It was very hectic to start with, since I had not only to keep up with the test script reviews, but also to sort out numerous configuration problems in the lab, and to help the QA engineers with the more arcane parts of the scripts. However they are a good team, and the work got started at a decent pace, and has progressed well.

Lavanya was told that by the time we moved, she'd have to find somewhere else to live. This was partly because I was leery about a repeat of the Raheja experience - I didn't think we had any lives left. It was also because both Terry and I felt to varying degrees that our space had been invaded. So a long string of potential male apartment-mates, and one female, were examined for suitability. All were found wanting, and as the time for the move drew near, it was far from clear where Lavanya was going to go.

Terry extended our options by discovering that "The Ham Shop" on MG road dispensed quite decent spare ribs. We'd tried pork chops from there before, but they'd been tough as old boots, but the spare ribs, cooked slowly, were good. This provided a usefull extension to the previous diet of chicken, chicken, chicken, and prawns. I've heard since that there's a butcher who sells decent beef somewhere near the Sacred Heat church, but I have yet to find him. Lavanya didn't eat pork, but she does now. She and I discovered that we have a food obsession in common - we're both mashed potato addicts.

After a couple of false starts, the lease for the new apartment was signed on the 9th, and we moved in on the 10th, which was the last available weekend. Terry had arranged with the guy who sold us the furniture we'd bought to send his delivery men round to move us at 11AM. We were ready to go by then, but it took us until about 2PM to track them down and get them there - dear old India. All our worldly goods were then loaded into a small truck, and we waved goodbye to them and caught an auto to Cambridge Road. Lavanya had gone off to her mystery destination with one of her bags. She wasn't back before we left so we took the remaining bag with us.

Of course, when we got there, there was no sign of the delivery truck. We sat there for an hour, inevitably worrying that everything we possesed was now on it's way elsewhere. The apartment block is called "The Good Earth". It's a nice piece of architecture. You enter through the front gate, up some gentle steps through the front coutyard past an old gnarled Sleeping Beauty tree that stands in a circular retaining wall like a big pot plant. Then there's no actual door, you simply come in to the ground floor corridor which is open to the courtyards. The upper corridors have similar exposure to the open air above the courtyard. The apartment floors are all light marble with some black inlays, and the built-in furnishings are in a light coloured hardwood. The place has a great feel, and the people there seemed friendly

The entrance to the Good Earth

The entrance.

The pool at the Good Earth
The pool.

Terry and Nisha meet at the Watchman

Terry and Nisha.

An earnest conversation

An earnest conversation.

Krishna and Nisha - all smiles

Krishna and Nisha.

Still friends.

Still friends.
The truck turned up after a couple of phone calls to the furniture store. They'd got lost, and couldn't find the place. They moved the stuff into the apartment in no time - 3rd floor as opposed to 6th, and better availability of the lift/elevator. The move cost us Rs 900, which I thought was a deal, so I gave each of the three men a decent tip. By evening we were well enough established to last until the next day, so we repaired to the Watchman for some supper, and to report progress to the gang. Some new English lads turned up - Rob, Richard, Paul, and Mark - more software nerds fresh in from the UK. Terry told them they'd found the right place and introduced them to everyone.

On the Sunday we explored the area. A little to the north, there's a shopping and market area similar to a mini City Market, and to the east there's another shopping street with A FoodWorld supermarket. Right at the end of our road there's a decent pharmacy, an ATM machine that takes my card and usually has money, and a liquor store. Fait accomplit! On Manday, with some trepidation, I tried the new trip to work on my bike, which now has its own reserved parking space, where it looks a bit lost. To my pleasant surprise, the trip only took about 20 minutes. However, I got the impression that going there it was mostly downhill, and it might be tougher on the way back. This turned out to be largely an illusion, and by the time I got home I knew the bike trip was just fine - a little more aerobic, but that's no bad thing. We heard nothing from Lavanya.

That Wednesday there was an amusing incident at the Watchman. I was sitting at the usual side of the bar next to Mick. Terry was standing between Mick and the other Steve, having a conversation. A woman came in, and sat at the bar opposite, which is quite unusual. Terry is usually the only woman you see sitting at the bar. We sat there, idly giving each other the eye, like you do, then after a while, the woman, who was quite attractive, wrote something on a napkin, and gave it to the barman Daroo, who promptly passed it me. It contained her name and telephone number. Terry had, of course been watching all this, so I passed the note on - I was rumbled - and she sent a note back. After some communication by notes, the woman came round and talked to Terry and the other Steve. The other Steve reported later that she apparently came at a price - Rs 6000 for the night, but I could have had it for free. Such is life! But it was good for the ego. Another girl - Nisha - that we'd seen there before appeared later, and I was telling her the story. She laughed and gave me a hug.

Nisha became a regular visitor to the Watchman over the next couple of days. She'd usually turn up on her own, but was invariably followed later by a this guy she knew - relationship indeterminate. That Saturday night when we arrived she was engaged in a conversation with a man we hadn't seen before. Later she spoke to Terry. Two things seemed to be going on. Firstly the new man was definitely interested in Nisha, and vice versa, and second there was gossip to the effect that her usual shadow had taken it upon himself to act as more of a 'minder' than she cared for. It became clear at this point that Nisha was definitely hooked up with the shadow, whose name was Deepak, but that this situation was not going to last long. She asked Terry if she could come and stay with us for a few days to escape. I was consulted on this, and having had a few beers, I thought what the hell, and said OK. The new place seemed much more relaxed than Raheja.

The new man - Krishna - took us on from the Watchman initially in the direction of Spin, but that was mobbed, so we went to a place Terry and I hadn't been before on the roof of some tower block, called Zero-G. Deepak duly appeared there, and he and Krishna had an earnest conversation. I get the impresion that Krishna has considerable clout around here. He seemed to be able to make a phone call and find out everything he needed to know about Deepak, and I think he may have made Deepak some kind of offer that he would not wish to refuse.

So having banished Lavanya, we now found ourselves with yet another adopted daughter. Krishna became a regular visitor, and he and Nisha are now an article. He is a great guy. He got his graduate education at Cornell, so he's spent some time in the states too, and his chosen occupation at present is as a scrap metal dealer. His quantities are in the hundreds of thousands of tons. As a proxy father, I think I approve of him as a potential proxy son-in-law.

Lavanya eventually re-appeared, though it is still a mystery where she's living. She told me she's living in a hostel, but others say she's back at her mother's. She calls round pretty regularly with her friends and goes out with us, though I did get a ticking off for chucking her out and moving a new girl in.

So now already, it's the end of January. We've made quite a few new friends. After a couple of week of nagging we're back to having a phone, cable TV, and an Internet connection of some kind - not brilliant. This last week I finally got to the point where I felt I was reasonably on top of the testing program at work, and things were progressing well. This is just as well, since El Supremo is coming over from NJ next week. Can you hear that little thought ticking inside my head - OK, what's going to go wrong next. Damn it, be positive man - life is what you make it.
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