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

Revisited - It's a while since we've seen Gaitri
28/6/2005 - Another Hiatus

The date is a lie. When I got home on the 28th, the laptop had magically got itself back into the state where it was sitting there requesting a diskette to update the BIOS - press any key. No keys had any effect as also did shaking it, taking all the removable parts out and replacing them, kicking it, etc. I'd seen this before when we were living down in Koramangala, when it was the result of someone spilling some fluid on the keyboard.

That time the culprit was either Nisha or Terry, and in a while it dried out some and started booting up again, and eventually all the keys worked. Surprise, surprise, this time the candidates were, yes, Nisha and Terry. However, this time it showed no signs of improvement over time. Consequently I'm typing this on a new black keyboard attached to a new black tower PC complete with a new black UPC. The laptop is at the repair shop waiting for a new keyboard.
This is something I had to do anyway, since I had no means of backing anything up - a fact that the demise of the laptop reminded me of forcibly. Fortunately I'll get away with it this time.

Gaitri reappears here because she persuaded us to take her with us to TGIF on Monday. It's some time since we've seen her, and her face has changed some, she's prettier now than before.

Arghh - the shame of it!
Arghh - the shame of it!

23/6/2005 - Six for Three

I watched half of the England .v. Australia ODI on Thursday evening, and thought that things looked OK at bedtime when the Aussies were limited to two sixty something. Doable I thought, going by the last match.

Things looked a lot different in the morning. Strauss, Trescothick, and Collingwood, out for 6 runs. What a cock-up!

Another birthday celebration
Another birthday celebration.

A birthday to be
A birthday to be.
22/6/2005 - Other Birthday News

The day after the party, as we were out for brunch, it dawned on us that we could have selected 20 of Terry's friends, and invited them to come with us as the birthday party for around RS 17500. They have a genuine open bar there, serving champagne, beer, generic vodka, and mixers. Also, the food is more varied. I imagine if I had suggested that a month or so ago, I might have been accused of being penny-pinching, but with hindsight, it seemed to both of us that it would have been a damn good idea.

Today, as often on Wednesday evenings, we decided to have dinner at The Only Place, and went for a beer at the Watchman first. Kirin and his wife were there celebrating her birthday in a way that also seemed appealingly sensible to me. Many happy returns.

When we got home, I checked my e-mail, and found the other image attached to a message from my son. The message didn't say much, but I guess I am to presume that I shall be a grandfather again in the not too distant future. I presume more news will be forthcoming in due course.

As an aside, how do the ultrasound technicians make anything of these images. If I didn't know what it was, having seen similar images before, I could take it for some feature on the surface of Mars. But these people, can point to them and say "there, look, you can see his little willie" - or not, as the case might be. I have to suppose that they make more sense when you can move the probe about, and thus get some sort of 3D impression. Either that, or they spend lot of time examining ink blots and patterns in the bottoms of tea cups.

Terry with the Tiger Bay staff before the event - you probably won't be seeing this again!
Terry with the Tiger Bay staff before the event.

Focus - somewhere in the middle distance, but no light
Focus - somewhere in the middle distance, but no light.
18/6/2005 - A Birthday Party

It's Terry's birthday tomorrow. My birthday present was a party at Tiger Bay, to which Terry had, I think, invited everybody she knows in Bangalore.

I'd paid the place RS 10000 a month ago, and this lunchtime I went in, paid the balance, a further RS 10000, and dumped a case of Indian champagne in their cooler. It was Terry's understanding - she had done the negotiating - that this included copious food, and an open bar. She asked again while we were there, and this was confirmed.

People started arriving at about 8:30, and Terry got quite a good turnout. The food was good and plentiful, and everyone appeared to have a good time. I sat in a corner and had a few beers - not many actually - and talked to people who came in my direction; Krishna, Nisha, Olive, and Esther's husband.

At about 11:30 I took myself off for a leak, and to look for Terry who seemed to have disappeared. The manager was standing outside, and told me that the bar bill was getting rather large, and should he close it. I said he probably should. Detecting overtones of a change in pricing policy, I stepped round the corner, and caught the lift down to floor level, thinking that in this case, presence was nine tenths of the law. They can't present you with a supplementary bill if you're not there. Terry was outside, on some mission with Danny. I told her about the conversation, and suggested that it might be a good time to go elsewhere. However Terry felt she had to go back in.

She got stuck with a bar bill for RS 25000 - roughly what we'd already paid if you include the champagne. Of course she didn't have any way of paying it, and I was not about to volunteer, since I was firmly of the view that it was a rip-off. If they'd had problems with the cost of the open bar, they should have come to us much sooner.

Fortunately, or possibly unfortunately, one of Terry's pals from the Night Watchman produced a credit card, and ate the bill. I say possibly unfortunately, because I'd have preferred to see them whistle for it. Terry won't accept the payoff as a gift, and will pay the friend back. So it's going to be a massively expensive birthday party.

In the course of the evening I learned some things about the capabilities of the new camera. It has one of those red focus lamps, and consequently will focus on something at quite a distance even in pitch darkness. However if you than take the picture, it comes out all grainy and dark, because the tiny flash is simply not up to providing enough illumination for the space. You have to take a photo of something specific and reasonably close. Just about everything I took came out in the dark and grainy category, as you can see. Ah well, you live and learn.

Cali on the way to the vet
Cali on the way to the vet.
17/6/2005 - Cat Wars

Last night our cat Cali got locked out on the balcony. The next thing I knew there was a loud outburst of angry cat noises. I went out, and Cali streaked out from under the dreaded black sofa into the apartment. Another cat - one I hadn't seen before - streaked out from the other end and disappeared on the ledges that surround the building. Cali took herself off under the spare bed.

I looked around the floor for cat blood, and not finding any, thought it would be judicious to let sleeping cats lie rather than venturing after her.

In the morning I get up to find she's walking on three legs, so it's off to the vet with her again. Terry and Nisha took her this morning. She goes to the vet in the largest of Terry's handbags, zipped up so that just her head is poking out. This routine is familiar by now, and she seems to go along with it quite happily. Clearly she trusts the vet, since you can remove her from the bag and put her on his bench, and calmness continues.

The vet said she had a dislocated thigh bone, and had lost another two back claws. At this rate she'll soon be clawless. He gave her shots of antibiotic and pain killer, and put the joint back. Now she has to go back every day for physiotherapy and more shots.

This is the second fight, and clearly the whole scenario is going to become a problem. We really need to have the balcony doors and windows open during the day to get the cooler morning air in, and generally air out the place. Cali behaves OK in this respect. She'll occasionally wander round the ledge from the balcony round to the spare bedroom window, and back in though there. But she doesn't go off. Unfortunately, the local tom cats now know that she's here, and even more unfortunately, at her previous visit to the vet, he determined that when she got spayed by the ASPCA, they left her with one ovary. So she still has heats, and calls out to them at night.

Not a happy camper
Not a happy camper.
6/6/2005 - Alienated

Today I finally managed to get a half day out of work to go to the Bangalore Foreigners Registration Office - FRO - to see what I'd have to do to leave India and get back in.

The answer was monumentally depressing - but first, the history. September last year, we went there, with a lawyer provided by the company to make sure everything got done right, to get my employment visa extended. We filled in all the forms, and after a couple of days I received a tatty piece of paper stating that I had applied for an extension. The documentation indicated that the process could take up to 90 days.

So here I am 9 months later, no further forward. The application is stuck in the Interior Ministry in Delhi, and I remain in a state of semi-legality.

The answer to my question was as follows. At least five days before I wanted to leave the country, I'd have to go back there and get an exit permit. Then I'd have to make sure I had all the required paperwork with me, and when I got to England, I'd have to go to the Indian Consulate in Birmingham, and apply for a new employment visa. They assured me that I would get one there - so why the fuck, I thought, can't I get one here. Of course it also followed that once I left the country, Terry would have no status in India, so she'd have to leave too and go with me to get a new visa. So there we'd be in England, with no visible means of support, and dependent entirely on the whim of some official at the consulate to be able to return to our home, and my job - hmmm!

So reluctantly, I've written to my mother to tell her I won't be attending her 90th birthday celebration. I'll have to wait until the notification comes through from Delhi - hoping that it says yes, and go then. It's not a comfortable feeling.

The next significant date is Thursday, when in theory I should apply for the extension of my employment visa for the next year, before the previous one has been approved. And so ad infinitum perhaps?

The replacement - photographed by its predecessor
The Replacement.
4/6/2005 - Capital Expenditure

June - the monsoon should be here by now. The traditional date is June 1, but the weather forecasters say it will be a week late. We're getting the precursors though. Most days this last week there's been a thunderstorm in the late afternoon or evening. Looking out of the window now, I see it is already starting to cloud up.

It's the weekend again - so far uneventful. Neither Terry or I slept well last night. She got up at about six, and has now gone back to sleep. I eventually dozed off and got up at nine.

The old Olympus C50 that has served this page pretty well so far, is on its last legs. Most times now when you open the lens cover nothing happens. Other times the lens emerges, and then immediately retracts. This is not good when you're wanting to capture anything spontaneous. So today it got replaced by a Sony Cyber-shot - sad but true. Needless to say when I opened it to take a picture of the replacement, it worked first time.

I'm not consigning it to the knackers yard. It will go and get repaired, and Terry can keep it in her handbag, for which it's a suitable size. The new one though, while occupying about the same area, is about one third of the thickness, and much more pocket friendly at about 14mm thick. It has the same resolution, same zoom, a smaller lens (3.5 rather than 2.8), but to compensate for that, an auto-focus lamp for dark conditions. It's also supposed to take passable movies, so you'll be getting samples of that in due course.
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