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


The last of the spring blossom outbursts
The last of the spring blossom outbursts.
31/3/2005 - Another Month

So another month sneaks by, and the last of the spring blossom is breaking out. Unfortunately I don't know what the tree is called. No two people that you ask give you the same answer, and there don't seem to be any books in the shops here that describe the country's trees. If you know, please let me in on the secret. Nonetheless, it's very common, so through April there will be a blaze of these red flowers everywhere.

At work, I'm trying to get a piece of software finished. This is one of those things that's something of a paradox. When developers are asked when a piece of software will be finished, they like to answer "when it's finished". Managers, of course are expected to give a more deterministic answer, and not one that is infinitely distant in time. So on some date, it is supposed to be finished. When the day arrives, the developers are often proved to be right. Consequently my life will be hectic over the next week or so.

Inzamam Ul Haq - captain of the Pakistan cricket team
Inzamam Ul Haq.
28/3/2005 - Incongruities

India and Pakistan have been at war a couple of times since the British pulled out in 1947, and at the best of times are barely speaking. However both countries have cricket as a major religion. Today, in the third test match (that's a cricket match that goes on for up to five days) of the current round, Pakistan thrashed India on the fifth day at Bangalore to draw the three match series.

So you might think that at this point, the Pakistan team would be whisked away in a high security convoy to a secret destination. But no. Terry and I went to TGIF for a nightcap, and who was sitting at a corner table in the back room getting something to eat with his wife and daughter? The Pakistan captain - and the staff at the place were thrilled. My nosiness got the better of me, and I went round to see the man. We had an extensive conversation. I said "Congratulations", he said "Thanks", and I said "Great Match". I felt that was more than a sufficient intrusion into his evening. He doesn't look as fierce without the green cap, but I liked his style.

Perhaps TGIF was an economy measure - he'd lost a good chunk of his match fee for arguing with Billy Bowden, the idiosyncratic New Zealand umpire, over what he thought was a catch. Arguing with an umpire is a cardinal sin in cricket, but somehow I just can't see that stopping him from doing the same thing again if the occasion arises.

Lavanya, not particularly happy about a 'Sari Day' at work
Lavanya, not particularly happy.
22/3/2005 - Bits and Pieces

I don't really have that much to comment on. Thierry went back to New York, leaving me even busier at work. To go with that, I got some sort of viral thing that I'm just now recovering from. I went to work on my bike today for the first time in almost two weeks. Not a lot in the way of symptoms - a runny nose and a bit of a cough, but pole-axed tired all the time. So I've been going to bed early and sleeping as much as possible. Nisha has been conspicuous by her absence since Thierry went back. Terry, with the exception of one incident last weekend when she rubbed someone up the wrong way and nearly got her arse kicked, has been her usual volatile self.

Terry took quite a few pictures, but they're all out of focus and pretty much useless. So don't expect a masterpiece.

Lavanya's work declared a Sari Day, and Terry made her do it. She wasn't particularly happy about it, though I reckon she must have made as good an impression as any of the others. She brought a new friend - Christine - to visit us last week.

On Saturday night we went to Taika, which now appears to be the in place. It's at the other end of Church street relative to the Night Watchman, and it was jammed. The dance floor has large steps like bleachers around it. Terry was dancing at the top level wiggling her arse with some other girl until her knee started to play up. After that she and the girl were propositioned by half the gay girls in the club, and probably by some who weren't. Take the publicity about India with a pinch of salt. There are plenty of gays of both sexes here.

On Sunday Lavanya, Christine, Terry, and me went for brunch at the Taj again. They've started to do complementary champagne as well as beer now. This works for me, it goes with the food they provide much better than beer.

The weather's getting pretty hot, so after eating we all went and vegetated in the pool. We've still had nothing to speak of in the way of rain, and the last of the spring flowers on the trees, the bright orange-red ones, have started to bloom.

Christine at the Taj, with a small star in the background
Christine at the Taj.

A corporate event
A corporate event.

12/3/2005 - An Expedition

We have an HR person - Roopa - at work now, and we now have corporate events. Today we went to a place that caters for such things called Eagle Ridge, to the south of Bangalore.

The braver souls got up early and went on a bus that did a circular tour of Bangalore picking people up. I wasn't up for that, and Terry wasn't up for the event at all. So at 11:30 I summoned a taxi, which was supposed to turn up at 12:00. I stood at the end of our road, by the hospital for 40 minutes after noon. The taxi driver phoned me a couple of times to tell me he'd be there in 5 minutes, and eventually arrived. He did not seem phased by the fact that neither of us knew where the place was. Roopa had given me a little map, and the driver seemed to be able to relate to it.

So we set off and made our way down through Koramangala to get to the southbound Hosur Road. I haven't been down that way much since we moved offices. The year before they'd had the 80ft Peripheral Road down there up to install a major sewer. Now they are digging the same road up again, and in some stretches it's just about destroyed. So we crawled down that stretch, with me expecting things to be better after that. But in fact it seems that a large section of south east Bangalore is in the same state. Hosur road was better, but fortunately we were only on that for about a kilometre. I say fortunately because it was like a car park. We'd sit there for five minutes then move for two. After that we turned off to the south west down another section of road in the close-to-destroyed state.

Roopa was accurate. The trip took the hour she had predicted. When I got there my colleagues were playing charades under the early afternoon sun. Apparently it isn't only mad dogs and Englishmen who do this sort of thing. Mercifully, lunch was due, and there was beer. After lunch Sajimon lent me a pair of swimming shorts so I could cool off in the pool. Thierry was there, and we snook off together at about 4:00, coming back with the same taxi driver but by a different route, which cut all of five minutes off the trip.

Bangalore sisters
Bangalore sisters.

Censored
Censored.
11/3/2005 - Yes, Still Alive

I'm still pretty head down in a software project at the weekends, and very busy at work. The software is progressing. I've actually got a client talking to a server, and getting sensible responses over plain-old stardard RPC (that's Remote Procedure Calls - OK, it's technical). I'll have to bite the bullet soon and get a new Linux box to run the server on. In consequence, the web page is still suffering.

Photographically you'll see that I'm back to one of my favourite topics. We hadn't met them before, but I got talking to them at TGIF, and the three of them were bright and charming. Their brother was there too, but photographically, he missed out. Funny how that happens!

Nisha is back in town. In fact as far as I can determine she was never elsewhere, but rather just dropped out of sight for a while to reorganize her life. Thierry, from the NY company is over again to lend a hand. The pair of them are quite a contrast size-wise.

Nisha has started a business doing catering for corporates. Giving your employees lunch is quite common in India. It mitigates against long lunch breaks. In many cases it's traditional vegetarian Indian stuff, but Nisha is specializing in sandwiches and such in the style of a western brought-in lunch. She's found a nice apartment out by the ring road, and seems a lot happier now she's her own boss.

Somewhere I found the time to read another couple of books. "The Rule of Four", which was promoted as something you'd like if you enjoyed Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. That was OK, but rambled on a bit at times for my taste, and didn't have what I felt to be a satisfactory ending. It just sort of petered out. More enjoyable was an alternative (to Harry Potter that is) wizard book called "The Amulet of Samarkand". I recommend that. The book has two principal characters, a demon, or as I should say, a Jhinn, and believe it or not, a twelve year old boy. I liked the Jhinn. Five thousand years would build some character.

A Terry snap - all smiles

A Terry snap - all smiles.
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