Bangalore day 19

Thursday 20th August.

Today I sat with nothing to do again all day. The newspaper world in India is clearly more relaxing with no one worrying about deadlines.

Eventually at 3.30 after sitting for 6 hours with no work I was given a story on nude yoga. Yes a great topic of conversation in India so great that everyone I rang hung up on me. Eventually I managed to get it done and rushed home to pack for hampi.

After dinner we left nice and early so to be at the train station on time. Arriving in the station we were shocked by the sight. People lying down all over the ground, people begging, kids starving it was definitely the poorest place we had visited so far.

There were no boards telling us train platforms so we queued up at general enquiries to ask. There was no such thing as a queue really but scream at the guy behind the counter and whoever is loudest gets the answer. He told us to go to platform 8 where we went and queued. We were there at about 20.20 and our train was not due till 10pm so we sat down on the ground and waited. It was not long before a rat scurried my way. YUCK!

Trains came and went and eventually the hampi train came. We looked and looked for s9 but no one could help us. The Indian people ignored us and others gave out for asking. We kept walking past a ginger guy whilst Indian guys stared out from their carriage. He came to the conclusion we were on the wrong platform. With less than ten minutes to go we ran and asked for help. This time we were told platform 10. We got there and waited and we assured it was the right train. Then a guy asked if I wanted some chai tea I replied no and he asked where we were going. After replying hampi he pointed to platform 9 and said that was our train. Rushing over to the then moving train we were shouted at to jump on whereas others told us no. We didn’t know what to do and were too scared to jump on a moving train so we just watched as it left.

With nothing else to do we left the station and decided to go home. Outside the station we stood by some sandbags deciding what to do. We were quickly ushered away after which we realised we were directly in front of the firing line of two guns!

We quickly hopped in an auto which demanded 250 to get back. Way overcharged we decided to just pay it and get home.
Arriving back he looked at the 250 and demanded an extra 100. Already ripped off we refused as he began muttering abuse. We ran up the street and went a long way home so he would not know where we lived.

Getting back no one could believe what had happened

So no hampi for the weekend but we still did have an adventure.

Bangalore day 18

Today was yet another boring day at the office where I sat for 8 hours and was given no work to do. Thankfully i had my laptop with me so started on a story about deaf education in India versus Ireland.

It was easy enough to find sources and speaking to teachers at SKID I got plenty of quotes I just need to talk to Asha (our coordinator) next week about it as she is on the board of management so she will help me more.

We finally got our dresses from the tailors. Despite having ordered Saturday one of mine was ready the other not. The one that is ready wouldn’t fit over my shoulders so was way too small. The ones the others ordered are all too small also. Its not like we told them our measurements they did that themselves. Will definitely be bringing them back on Sunday.

That night we went to the beach again. It reminded me why it is so good that they have a smoking ban in Ireland. Also the annoucement ‘if you are drunk, drive home safely’ proved pretty scary.

Bangalore day 17

Tuesday 18th August

Today I managed to work the phone in work for the first time. After trying and trying for the previous weeks it never ever worked it just talked to me. The other intern in his 4 weeks never figured it out either.

I had to contact DJ Rob acid for an interview. Contacting Rashita the person in charge of his Bangalore premiere I was told a phone interview would not be possible and an email interview was the only option. Sending her off the questions I avaited a reply but that was obiviously not going to happen so I had to search for information on the internet about him and write an article based on that. He is not that well known so this was challenging.

That night we faced the first of our rationed dinners at the katary house. For some reason she provided not nearly enough to feed 5 of us so we had to go hungry. Then we settled in for an early night at 8.30.

Apparently Mrs Katary was looking for us and did not believe we were asleep. The next day she wanted to know why we were asleep so early and what had made us so tired. Questions, questions, questions she is not happy if we go out, she is not happy if we stay in.

Bangalore day 16

Monday August 17

Today we went for dinner with Asha (the coordinator) at AJ international hotel. The purpose of this dinner was for us to meet the new volunteers. The meal was lovely and a lot nicer than the place we were brought on our first day. After that we headed to commercial street as the new people all needed new clothes because like us on our first day they were told that their clothes were inappropriate.

The traffic was really bad and it took us over an hour and a half to get home. Yes I was sitting on the bar in the auto so couldn’t feel my feet or other parts after that length of time.

We just about made it back for dinner before heading off to buy Indian sweets. After two weeks we still had no tried them so we thought it might be the right time. Getting a kilo (120rupees) we tried one each before concluding that all they really tasted like was uncooked biscuits. That is all they really were just some raw dough. Not as nice as we had expected.

Bangalore day 15

Sunday August 16

Today we decided to take it easy and have lunch in Leela palace. It was a good experience but by far the most expensive meal we had eaten in Bangalore (920rupees each for 1 main course) .

The experience was good and it did mean we got the chance to see another way of life and I would recommend it but it is something that we will not be repeating. Afterwards we wandered around the palace looking at all the expensive things we could not afford.
Later that evening we returning home and said goodbye to all the volunteers who were leaving before meeting the new ones that had arrived.

Bangalore day 14

Saturday August 15

Today was independence day so we went to a production at SKID. It was amazing how the kids all danced and moved and played instruments on time when they all had some hearing loss.

After that we went into commercial street where we ordered some dresses at the tailors and also saw a temple. After that we had lunch in café day where we met a guy who we had met the previous weekend in kerala. What is the change in a city of over 7 million people of meeting the same person twice.

After that we headed back and moved all our stuff around in the rooms to make space for the new volunteers arrival. Then we went to a farewell dinner for all the volunteers who would be leaving the next day.

Bangalore day 13

Friday August 14

Today we went to Mysore. A three hour bus journey required yet another early start. Arriving there we quickly found some place to eat. The choice of eating places in mysore is pretty poor and so many are really not clean. We finally settled for some Mallinge Idli is a really dirty place. Luckily neither of us got sick.

After that we headed to the palace. As usual the auto guy tried to rip us off bringing us to the wrong entrance and convincing us that the palace was closed for lunch and asking if we wanted to go to see “his friends shop”. Puzzled by this and the fact our guide did not mention a lunch closing we quickly escaped and eventually found our way around to the right entrance.

The grounds of the palace were amazing. After paying entry (20 for Indians, 200 for tourists) going through security, deposting our shoes and handing over our camera (all for a fee of course).

Once inside we were greated with rooms full of vibrant mosaics, pillars and stain glass windows.

It was possible to imagine the turn back time seeing ladies in pretty dresses dancing in the wedding room.

After this we went into a fruit market. It was not as impressive as the lonely planet guide suggested but still worth visiting. Then we were chased by two street sellers who couldn’t seem to understand that 4 bracelets for 100 or 2 for 50 was the same thing and that 2 for 50 was not a better deal.

Then we went into yet another dodgy restaurant for some masala dosa. The conditions were the worst yet and the toilet not a safe place to go. After this we headed back to the palace to see the lights being turned on. We attracted Indian families and single guys each wanting their photos taken with us.

After waiting and waiting we had to abort the idea of the palace lights being turned on when there was a thunderstorm and the palace closed.

Instead we made our way back to the station and got on the first bus. It was an a/c bus this time so did cost twice as much but we were glad to get out of the city and back to Bangalore.

Arriving in bangalore we got an auto where the guy charged us double since it was after 10pm. The guide says an extra 10% is added after 10pm and not that it is double. We were also never charged double. And also the guy somehow made 87×2 into 190 yes that made sense. He also hurled abuse when we told him he was wrong.

That night there was a massive thunderstorm that lasted hours.

Bangalore day 12

Thursday August 13

Today work was slow again. I was given a story to do on a new book on short stories by M Koshy which didn’t take long.
I also attempted to buy an Indian sim card. A process which I found to be impossible and the sales guide was not in the slightest bit helpful.

That night we went to cooking class where we learnt how to make.            

Lemon Rice

  1. Put pan on gas with sunflower oil. Add mustard seeds.
  2. Add ½ teaspoon of black gram dal and same of Bengal gram dal.
  3. Add 1 tsp of ground nuts.
  4. Add one hand of cashew nuts.
  5. Mix with spoon
  6. Add curry leaves
  7. Add green chillies
  8. Add ½ tsp of tumanic powder
  9. Add cold rice.
  10. Add 1 tsp of lemon juice

Channa masala

  1. Fry ½ cup of desiccated coconut in oil.
  2. Mince 1 onion
  3. Crush garlic and ginger in blender
  4. Add garlic and ginger paste.
  5. Cut up 2 tomatoes
  6. Let the coconut go golden borwn.
  7. Add the tomatoes to the onion mix.
  8. Boil potatoes
  9. Add ½ tsp paprika and some coriander to the mix.
  10. Add chickpeas
  11. Add salt according to taste.
  12. Bring to poil then add coconut paste.
  13. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
  14. Add ½ tsp of green masala powder and pepper powder.

North Indian dosa.

  1. ¼ kg of wheat powder.
  2. Add a little salt.
  3. Add 3-4 tsp of oil.
  4. Add a pinch of sugar.
  5. Mix it all up
  6. Add water and make a dough.
  7. Add onions
  8. Add tsp of chopped coriander leaves.
  9. Add 1 inch of grated ginger.
  10. Add above to potatoes.
  11. Add salt to taste
  12. Add a pinch of green masala powder.
  13. Add ½ tsp of chilli powder
  14. Add 1 tsp lemon juice.
  15. Mix together with fingers
  16. Roll out dough
  17. Put oil and flour on the dough.
  18. Add the filling
  19. Wrap the dough around the filling and roll again.
  20. Fry in pan.

Bangalore day 11

Wednesday August 12th

This morning we woke up to burnt toast after Mrs Katary described the toaster as “a moody teenager”,

Today was a long day. Having completed my Josh Kornbluth story I waited for hours for my next story. I got one on the launch of a planetarium which turned out to not be too great a story. Then I left and went home for a much nicer dinner.

After dinner we went for a walk to get saris for Independence day. Then decided on another early night. At about 11.30 we woke up to Mrs Katary screaming at the top of her voice. Apparently the people who went out to the beach brought strangers back and she was not to happy. Phrases such as “you hooligans”, “Shirleys people are not welcome” and “get out of my house” were screamed and those of us who were ignorant to the goings on were convinced there were robbers. The next morning we learnt the story and while Asha and Neena and Shirley and Mrs Katary lay into the others we were lucky to be on the good side of Mrs Katary who apologized for waking us up.

It will be some time before she forgets about it and for now we aren’t allowed have volunteers from Shirley’s house over so no more games nights.

Bangalore day 10

Tuesday August 11th

Waking up tired from the weekend I dragged myself to work where I waited and waited for a story to do. Eventually I was given a preview to do on Josh Kornbluth’s play Citizen Josh which will premiere in Bangalore next week. Attempts to contact Josh failed miserably so I did my research and headed back to Thippasandra to type it up. It was good to have time to myself to work without being sat at a desk.

I ate my toasted cabbage sandwiches and also some mango juice and Cadbury chocolate. Both of which I soon realized were months out of date. A later inspection of Bangalore shops proved that it is not possible to get anything in date. Everything from a bottle of coke to a packet of biscuits are all out of date.

Before I knew it it was time for dinner and today was the most surprising dinner. Mac and cheese with some weird curry sauce. Not the most pleasant to be honest.

 After that we went to the internet café before having a quite night in with top trumps and guess who.