Hello again! So, there are lots of cool little things about India and Bangalore. Like these. These are little bananas. I know that they have a variety name but I can't remember it and I didn't write it down. They are very tasty and just really cute!
So, as you know we are not allowed to drive here. Company policy. Fine by me. Driving here is best left to professionals. Or so we thought. Last week our new car arrived on Friday morning. It had a new stereo and had newly tinted windows (mostly to offer Anna a non fishbowl experience while driving around). With our new car came our new driver, Manju. Friday was fine and our new car was decked out with garlands and a new little statue of Gansha or Vinayaka. (sorry the pic didn't come out better) But, more on Manju later...
After we dropped off Bryan and took Anna to school I decided that I wanted to explore the Malleswaram area. We are not going to be living there, but it isn't too far from our area. As we were driving into the area we passed by a temple that looked as if it was dedicated to Hanuman, more widely known as the monkey god. This is a very cool looking temple and as I was checking it out I noticed that there were monkeys crawling over the face of the temple! Unfortunately I did not get any pictures since we were just driving by and I had no idea it was there. I will try to go back another time though. It is a very interesting temple and the monkeys make it a must see!
Once we reached the market area I got out at 8th cross and Sampige Road and just started walking around and exploring. It was still early and many of the stores and carts were just starting to open up- but it was really nice to just wander around and look at everyday life here. I did see this temple and later heard the priest chanting over the neighborhood loudspeakers...
If you look at the above picture you can see Hanuman (the monkey god) and Vishnu (the blue one with four arms). Sorry that I can't tell you more about the Hindu gods at this time! But I can share this detail of the temple. I just really love all of the designs and decorations!
You also see the modern world coming into this area. As I walked down Sampige Road I came across this. This is where the metro is going to be coming into the area. If I remember correctly this is the line that will go down to MG Road, where Bryan works. (By the way, I think every city in India has an "MG", Mahatma Gandhi, Road.) Watching these types of construction sites, that are everywhere in this city!, is really fascinating.
In the west these types of sites would be filled with many large, loud heavy machines as well as a good amount of large, loud heavy men! Here it is so, so different! Much of the work, for good or bad, is done by hand. There are many more people than machines and there are also many women. At this site there were women who were wearing "hard hats" although the hats had a flat top with a little rim. This is because they were there to carry dirt and such that was being excavated from one place to another. They would line up, receive their bit to carry- loaded onto a cloth or flat surface on their head, and then they would carry it off and come back and wait their turn again. There was one woman in particular who kept looking at me as I was looking at their whole system of working. She was incredibly striking. She was small, but stood tall. She had a very strong and proud face and I would have loved to have sit down and talk with her. If she would have been willing. She in no way flinched from my gaze. She was beautiful.
I later wandered back up Sampige to the market area. Here there are many fruit and vegetable vendors, as well as the flowers you see here. A little ways up the street there was an elderly woman who was making up the little white flowered garlands (Jasmine?) like the one that was in a car in the earlier picture. I stood there and watched her work, her fingers moving so quickly and nimbly as she grabbed two flowers, wrapped the thread around one and then made a loop and slipped it over the second flower. You see these women, and occasionally men, on streets everywhere making these and selling them. It seems that vehicles are very commonly garlanded in some way. Small ones for smaller cars and really large ones for trucks and buses!
I also had a real "not in Kansas anymore" experience while sitting down and drinking a bottle of water. I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye and looked up to see
walking down the sidewalk.
No owner. No harness or rope of any kind. Just a donkey walking down the sidewalk.
So I'll finish with the bad news about our driver. On Saturday Manju arrived and our new car was a bit worse for wear. He had apparently gotten into an accident on the way to get us. Okay. Great. Well, these things happen. Then we went about our errands and were headed back to the apartment and he got into another accident! It was totally his fault too. sigh. So, now he is no longer our driver. I feel a little bad as yesterday he was telling me about his wife and how they have been married for one year and such. But we just felt like we couldn't trust his driving. I think he just wasn't used to driving a car like ours. I do wish him well and hope that he can find good work with someone else. I also hope that we can find a good driver without too much trouble.
Well, I will leave you with another shot from the Malleswaram area for now I am off to meet Anna at her school bus stop! Till next time!