Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Day in Bangalore

Travelling the roads of India is always an adventure. In urban areas it involves navigating an obstacle course of potholes, blocked roads, one-way roads, myriad vehicle types, cows, carts, dogs, people. We don't drive here, leaving the navigation to cab and auto rickshaw drivers, and Srini's nephew who enjoys the challenge of the chaos. The rick and cab drivers don't always know where they are going so it is best to have a sense of the direction of your destination. There are signs along the major roads asking drivers to stick to their lanes, but there are no lanes, just maneuvering and weaving.
The sign reads: "Follow Lane Discipline"
A cycle rickshaw driver walks a tall cargo of cardboard boxes
Since fruits are grown year-round here, at least in some part of India, they always taste fresh and sweet. They are still grown for their taste, not looks or shelf life. Here are two of my favorites: small, sweet bananas and "loose jacket" oranges.
We are relishing homemade food including dosais and idlis, eaten with coconut chutney and sambar. I calculated that Srini's mother has probably made more than 100,000 dosais in her life, since it is a daily staple in south India. Both dosais and idlis are made from a batter of rice and split black lentils (urad dal); one is fried like a pancake, the other steamed.
Amma's dosai
The neighbors made us idlis, coconut chutney and sambar
As you can see, we are eating well. In the morning we read the Deccan Chronicle, the major, south Indian daily newspaper. The topics are similar to the U.S. but with a different flavor, and often with a curious focus. Yesterday this was on the front page--a well-known editor of a paper in the state of Goa was arrested for sexual assault. Note the caption under his picture: "The Tehelka editor shared his jail cell with four local men held on charges of poaching frogs and turtles, on the second night."
Other stories include political back and forth between the two major political parties, complaints about the poor state of infrastructure, especially roads and bridges, complaints about farm subsidies or the lack thereof, accident and police reports. Sound familiar? Everything except the frog poaching!

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