January 2005 in Bangalore through the eyes of an Englishman -  Contact  Current Month  Previous  Next  Feedback   Index  Software

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For whatever reason, this is the second most popular of the BEV archive pages, coming in just behind June 2003. I have to confess that I'm curious about this, particularly since many of the readers who get to it don't appear to have visited the BEV Home Page recently.

If you can spare a couple of minutes, please give some feedback - how did you get to this page, and what, if anything, is interesting about it?


Blue on blue - more signs of spring
Blue on blue.

31/1/2005 - Grovel

Yes, I know. I've been idle. Since I'd read and enjoyed Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code", Terry bought the rest of his books, so I was obliged to munge my way through them, "Angels and Demons", "Deception Point", and "Digital Fortress". As is often the case, the books form a downward progression. On the other hand, I've seen enough copies of them around to conclude that if he invests his royalties carefully, Dan Brown will probably never need to write another word in his life. Perhaps he'll take a few years off, and then do something else really good.

The picture is the second in my spring series. This blue blossom is usually the first thing to appear.

An interesting flower arrangement
An interesting flower arrangement.

26/1/2005 - Republic Day

Yesterday I got the final cap glued on to the bottom right wisdom tooth. Our dentist, Rupali, is now switching roles, and she's supposed to phone us at the weekend to arrange for us to go out. She's going to take us to Cosmo Village, which is a bar/restaurant that we've often heard of, but never got round to going to.

Today is Republic Day. There are two related holidays, this one, and Independence Day in August. Independence was gained in 1947, but the constitution of the Indian state was not ratified until Jan 26 1950. For some reason I don't remember having this as a day off last year, but I guess we probably did. It seems a somewhat odd day for a holiday, a Wednesday, but I guess it breaks up the working week into manageable chunks. In some states, it's a dry day, as in the bars are closed, but apparently this does not apply in Karnataka. I don't know what it will be like shopping-wise, not that I've got any money until the end of the month anyway. I dare say we'll go into town later, and find out.

Lavanya is around today, and wants me to play aa game of Jenga. So more later.

Our dentist
Our dentist

22/1/2005 - Prosthodontics

This week I had three sessions at the dentist, Terry went twice. On Monday, we got our teeth cleaned, which wasn't a big event, and quite quick, since we'd both had them done in June. Then on Tuesday we went again to get the offending teeth ground down. In my case this involved the bottom-right molar, and the first three top left molars. It was originally only going to be two, but the dentist - Rupali, who's really nice - decided that I'd probably do better with the third capped too. It was mostly filling, and there was a gap between it and the one next to it that attracted bits of food like a magnet. The bottom-right molar had been root-canalled some time ago, and Rupali assured me it was thus devoid of sensation, so I only got an injection for the ones at the top. I have to say I was a little skeptical about the lack of anaesthetic for the bottom one to start with, but she was quite right.

After she'd ground the teeth down, she took a mould of both top and bottom teeth with some blue gunk that resembled Play Dough. When she'd finished, eating was a little restricted for the rest of the week. I had to go back Thursday to get another mould made - apparently the first one wasn't up to snuff.

Today I had the crown, all one piece, glued on to the three top-left molars. The other cap was too high, and didn't let me bite properly on the right. apparently that tooth is at rather a funny angle. She's going to get another one made and fix it on during the week.

Other than that, I spent much of my spare time during the week reading "The Da Vinci Code". This is one of those books that's difficult to put down, and thus I was significantly anti-social for several days, for which I apologize to all concerned.

16/1/2005 - Alexander the Incompetent?

We went to see 'Alexander' during the week. I was not impressed. It seemed to me that it trivialized the life of a man who was regarded in his time as exceptional - Alexander the Great. The homosexuality thing was grossly overdone, nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Can't see any reason why, no plot really hung on it, and it was not a big deal in Alexander's time. Also the Oedipus complex thing with his mother did not appear to relate to his later life as portrayed in the movie.

While I realize that all battles viewed at a local level must look like complete chaos, I think Oliver Stone might have made some effort to get across the fact that Alexander was a very accomplished military commander, and not just someone who could talk his troops into a fight. Read a view from closer to the time here. Fair enough, he was inclined to mix it to a degree that often endangered his own life.

The last battle scene - the one with the elephants - which gave the impression that he was fatally wounded, was particularly misleading. It made it look as if Alexander's army had blundered into a disaster, and were defenceless against the monster beasts. In fact, assuming that it was a portrayal of the battle at the Hydaspes river, Alexander skillfully outmaneuvered King Porus, utilizing decoy manoeuvres and an upstream crossing. His infantry, with their 16' pikes, successfully attacked and panicked the elephants, who then proceeded to trample their own infantry. It wasn't the first time they'd dealt with them, Darius had elephants at Gaugamela when Alexander defeated him a couple of years earlier.

Alexander was wounded by an arrow through his breastplate in a later skirmish, and had to be rescued by his senior officers. But he made it back to Babylon in one piece, and in fact married after he got back. I was not until a couple of years later that he died of malaria.


Battle of Issus - Alexander confronts Darius
Battle of Issus.


Spring here?
Spring here?

Pongal sugar cane
Pongal sugar cane.

14/1/2005 - Pongal

Today is one of the numerous Indian religious festivals. It's supposed to be a Sun God thing, but I think that depends on exactly what religion you belong to. Most of these festivals appear to be shared. Incidentally, it's also a harvest festival, even though it does not seem a likely time of year. In fact, it's pushing spring, as you can detect from the spurt of leaf growth on the tree in the picture.

The last one I commented on was an occasion for banana tree fronds. This one features sugar cane. There was a big heap of it down on Bazaar Street on Wednesday night which had all disappeared by yesterday evening. The street vendors at the end of our road have more of it today. Anyway, it's one of the major festivals, so today I have a day off. It's a gorgeous one too. There's not a cloud in the sky, and the sun is shining fit to bust, but at the same time there's a cool breeze. It reminded me of somewhere - maybe a hot day in Seattle or San Fransisco, or a good late-summer day on the Atlantic coast of Portugal.

As it happens, I had yesterday off as well. I'd had a tooth plaguing me for a couple of days, so I got an appointment yesterday with a dentist who is Apurva's cousin. I took the day off just to be on the safe side.

As it turns out, it was gum rather than tooth. I have a couple of teeth that are mostly epoxy resin, and they've got rather undercut near the gum. As a result, I'm constantly getting food stuck in there which is a pain to get out. So I have to use a mouthwash for a week, and rub some paste on the effected area. Then in a weeks time she's going to cap them, which will hopefully fix the problem.

Apparently the rest of my gnashers look OK, which is always good news. When I was a kid it was more or less expected that by the time you got to my current age, you'd have lost most of your teeth. That was before the days of decent toothpaste, and fluoride in the drinking water, and it was at a time when most working class people could not afford to visit the dentist except in an emergency. It was a prospect I used to dread - false teeth seemed somehow so degrading to me then. Not that I find them particularly appealing now!

We're trapped in the apartment today. The building carpenters have been busy refurbishing all the doors in the block recently. They've done our internal ones already, so today they've taken the entrance door. We're supposed to have it back by 18:00 hrs. In the meantime somebody needs to stay here all the time. It's a very peaceful place, but still not to the point where you can walk away and leave the place with no door on. I guess we'll take it in shifts to go out.

There are three of us to split the shifts. Lavanya has returned to stay with us for a while. I don't know the full story, but she was staying at her mother's place, and I think they must have had a big row. On the other hand, she's not going to be a very good house-sitter. She works nights, so she's prone to going to sleep during the day.

Typically, having four days off, I've incubated a case of the common cold. However I've got some pills that seem to deal with the worst of the symptoms, so we'll see how the weekend works out once we've escaped.

7/1/2005 - Rumours of my Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

After my little outburst, I have to say that the bedroom improved dramatically, although we still have the black futon blocking the balcony doors. However, it appears that yesterday, the Morris family read Sunday's entry, since Terry got a number of phone calls.

So I'd just like to confirm that we are still all in one piece. Terry hasn't done me in, and despite the fact that we argue from time to time, we do love each other, and we have a really nice home here in India that for the most part, we enjoy.

The title quote, incidentally, is a paraphrase of one by the famous American author, Mark Twain, after reading his own obituary on 2nd June 1897.

A housewife's work is never done
A housewife's work is never done.

2/1/2005 - Lost It?

I'm beginning to think Terry is phasing me out. Yesterday, the day after the party, X turns up with Z, and the next thing I know, I go into the spare bedroom to get something, and they're in there behind a closed door smoking. I thought that was a bit much given that I've just lost the balcony for the benefit of the smokers, so I took myself off on my bike, and kept myself to myself for the day, and today. I can't think why this should have surprised me. Terry and X pollute the apartment with smoke the instant my back is turned. She knows I can't tell because my sense of smell is totally destroyed, and the prospect of me with emphysema doesn't seem to bother her. The night before, our bedroom had been tidy, presumably for the benefit of the party guests. Yesterday it reverted to being trashed, to the point where I wasn't prepared to clear a space to go to bed, and slept in the spare room.

Maybe I'm a bit slow, but even to a dimwit, it occurs sometimes that I just get crumbs thrown to me occasionally to keep me quiet, but otherwise my main purpose in life is to provide the apartment, and pay the drink bills.

Street daughter - another Asha
Street daughter.

1/1/2005

So here it is, 2005. Terry had a New Years Eve party last night, and about 20 people turned up - mostly men. Given the congested access to the balcony, and to preserve the grass, I gave way to the smokers, and told them they could do their own thing for the evening.

Consequently, I spent much of the time outside reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I've read it before, but Terry bought it for me for Christmas, so I figured I'd give it another go so I'm up to speed when the new book comes out, which according to JK's web page is in July. Since I wasn't there much, I can't tell you what happened, if anything, and no pictures were taken. I can report in retrospect that they cleared off most of the booze we had in the house, which was a not inconsiderable achievement.

Night-life in India is primarily a male province. The female attendees were X, Apoorva, Terry, and yet another Asha who we originally met about a year ago, and who seems to have reappeared on the scene.

I paid our part-time maid Shanti a couple of hundred rupees extra this morning to fix up the mess, which she did most expiditiously. It's a real luxury to be able to avoid that side of throwing a party.

We've had various visitations from neighbors in the block this morning. First-footing seems to be something of a tradition in India also.

The Asha in the picture is the one who lives in the street somewhere by the Watchman, the one with the insatiable appetite for chickens. Obviously the family have now determined that this is a good spot, because they've moved in some of their relatives recently. Asha clearly doesn't like the competition, and stresses to Terry that she should be buying chicken for her, not for them!
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