Remember the First to Visit India contest? You were all entered but didn’t realize it. Here is the contest winner, Barbara (with Tom). I’m sure you’re all panting to know what she won. Besides a great tour of town, she got a manicure and pedicure at the lovely Vanity Fayre Day Spa here in Palm Meadows. She said she hadn’t had one for 30 years, but that can’t be right because 5 year olds don’t go to spas; she had to be exaggerating.
So what did we do? Well, we did quite a lot.
Poor Babu worked 20 hours of overtime while she was here. He was so tired, we caught him in a weak moment and made him adopt a kitten. He’s named her Bunny, for some reason known only to himself.
Bangalore is known for being a food city. You can find amazing, wonderful restaurants for almost every cuisine on the planet. We love to go out to brunch. The Grand Ashok Hotel has one of the most lavish buffets I have ever seen.
This is just one row of food, there are three more buffet tables. Did I say unlimited champagne and beer are included? Here’s a couple women who need another helping.
Another night, we went to a South Indian Restaurant called Karavalli. Because we are complete sports dunces, we didn’t realize that India was playing Pakistan in the World Cup Cricket Final that very night AND that the match was being played in Bangalore. We had just finished our meal when we heard a lot of cheering and roaring. “What the heck is that?” said Barbara. “Oh, I don’t know. These guys are always excited about something.” I said. We didn’t find out what was going on until Babu came to pick us up. He’d gone to watch the match with friends that live close to the restaurant.
“We won the match, Ma’am!” He was pretty excited. So was everybody else. The noise was tremendous, there was dancing in the streets.I got these shots through the car window. Babu wouldn’t let me get out of the car. Humpf. He didn’t like it when I rolled down the window either. Humpf again. “These people are crazy Ma’am. You can never tell what they’ll do.” He should know! I was trying to get some of the action on video, but I just had my little camera. Click on this movie to get an idea of the enormous fervor and excitement of the evening. You can’t really see anything, but the movie is of the fellow above.
I hate to think what might have happened if India had lost. There would have been riots. Last year, a favorite much-loved actor died of natural causes. People were so upset they lit tires on fire and tipped over busses. Barbara and I would have had to check into the hotel. Based on the cricket mania here, we’d probably still be there.
The next day, we met with Aruna Sunderlal, founder of the Bangalore School of Music (www.thebsm.org). Naturally, being musicians and food lovers, we went out for lunch. Aruna took us to The Bangalore Club, where all the fine and distinguished classy people love to meet. It is a members only club; we were very pleased to be invited.
The Bangalore Club, one of the oldest clubs in the country, in the best traditions of English country clubs, has a recorded history of a century and a score. Sir Winston Churchill was among the many distinguished members of the Club.
Bangalore Club has affiliations with numerous clubs of its type and class, at home and abroad. In pursuit of excellence in club life, the torch of tradition has been passed on, down the years. The years have added to this heritage.
Here we are plotting a new piece for the San Jose Chamber Orchestra and the BSM Chamber Orchestra. The new music will continue the BSM’s East-West Encounters.
Year 1987- Three friends, all musicians, were traveling to Madras; Aruna Sunderlal, Founder of the Bangalore School of Music and two eminent German Artistes, Singer Margarita Schack & Prof. H.J. Koelreutter, conductor & composer. The topic- music & cultural collaborations between the East & West, to bring art and artistes together in closed understanding. Within an hour ideas were put together & the first Encounter organized in 1990, bringing nearly 300 artistes & scholars together from India & around the globe. Concerts, seminars, and workshops drew students & music lovers together, over a ten day period.
The interest generated encouraged the BSM to continue the music dialogue & since, nine exciting encounters have been organized in which great artistes from 30 countries have participated.
Take a look at the beautiful Salwar Kameez Barbara is wearing. Besides eating at every restaurant in Bangalore, we also went to every shop in town. I just love to take my friends shopping! Helping people spend their money. Am I gracious or what? Barbara bought, in addition to this ensemble, a saree and two lovely custom-tailored conducting outfits. On one of our many trips to town, we sat for ages in a traffic jam because of the camels. We were just outside a wedding hall. The camels must have been hired for a wedding, because you don’t often see them in Bangalore as work animals.
Just now I talked about “going to town”. Anybody “going to town” is either going shopping or out for a meal, concert, or movie. You can live right smack in the middle of one of the business or shopping districts and still “go to town”. We went to town almost every day of Barbara’s visit.
I should also explain about wedding halls. In the West, we typically get married at a church or City office. The ceremony itself is calm and the big reception party takes place somewhere else. Here in India we have huge halls dedicated almost exclusively to hosting marriages. The ceremony and celebrations are wild! “Party till you die” as one unnamed family member put it. There are so many young people in India, the halls operate 24/7. Here’s a wedding hall from the outside.
Speaking of “Party till you die”, we got caught up in one of the many Ganesha parades on our way to town to eat out AGAIN. You can read about the god Ganesha in the very first blog entry. This Ganesha is especially attractive. It is a very big one; the bigger the better and more important. Here’s a view from the back so you can get an idea of the scale.
We did take some time to explore the city beyond food and the shops. One of our most enjoyable jaunts took us to Lalbagh Botanical Gardens. They are charming and so relaxing after the hubbub of Bangalore traffic.
Where would you rather be, in the preceding picture with the 2-wheelers or right here?
Barbara’s visit was over all too soon. I wish she could have stayed a month! Here she is on our last evening together:
A new way to eat breadsticks!
Cuties in Sarees
After Dinner Mouth Fresheners
Bye!!! Come again soon!