On Sunday, we drove down to Mysore. We ate lunch at The Metropole, which was a former guest house for the Wodeyar family’s special guests and is now a Royal Orchid property. Then, we drove up Chamundi Hill. Both of us have seen all the ‘sights’ before so we were just trying to hang out somewhere other than Koshy’s. It made for a nice change. We saw a surprised mongoose who gazed at us solemnly before scooting into the bushes. We also spent a great deal of time contemplating three extraordinary beehives at the church later. Pictures below.
The city is gearing up for Dassera and after 6.30 pm, the lights came on. Now, what I mean by that is not only the palace, which is illuminated every evening during the week up to Dassera, but almost every other public building, many shops, and most roads were glittering. It was quite overwhelming.
At the palace, there were hordes of enthusiastic people. There were also lots of red, heart-shaped balloons, which I could see bobbing over the silhouettes of a million heads or so. My pictures of the illuminated palace were taken from a moving car so they haven’t come out so well but there are plenty of images online.
Traffic management was impressive — they had these policemen and policewomen (in equal numbers) dressed nattily and wearing red feathers in their hats, and they had policemen on horses at major traffic junctions like Devraj Urs Market. It was the first time I had seen mounted policemen so I giggled and gasped, and fumed at unimportant things like moving traffic getting in the way of my camera. We also saw four elephants rehearsing their march for the parade on the final day. It’s sad that the fear of bombs have scared people off from the celebrations this year. Apparently, apart from foreigners and tourists, even locals are staying away.
Chamundi Hills, Mysore
Hotel Metropole, Mysore
St Philomena’s Church, Mysore.
Aravind Adiga’s White Tiger. So far. Despite the tense straining of muscles I generally feel against things hyped and vulgarly in the news.
I’m trying to get over this perversity of not being able to watch, read, enjoy things when other people tell me they are so-very-enjoyable. Sometimes they really are.
Anyway, I’ve just started and I like the gritty texture, the grime that Adiga unabashedly describes. Mud, lizards, buffaloes, black oozing rivers. I have a fondness for the unpretty image done well.
Also, Eavan Boland‘s poem Love. Here’s an extract:
And yet I want to return to you
on the bridge of the Iowa river as you were,
with snow on the shoulders of your coat
and a car passing with its headlights on:
I see you as a hero in a text —
the image blazing and the edges gilded —
and I long to cry out the epic question
my dear companion:
Will we ever live so intensely again?
Read the full poem here.
my trusty camera. There is a dilemma attached to this one. I like photographing people more than things, or even places. But I feel uncomfortable doing it. Voyeuristic. Violative, like Sontag said. Especially since I usually like faces with something unusual about them — some sadness, quirk or peculiarity. And this is natural for someone who considers herself sad, quirky and peculiar, I suppose. But am I responding to the person or to some hidden quality in the person that I am trying to unearth? And how separate are the two things? And how much of it is about recognition of something familiar, emotional kindred?
So I’m one of those people who love taking pictures of people but will never ask. Unless I’m really drunk or really sure that they don’t mind. Which makes me a lousy, cowardly sort of photographer. I intend to get over this hangup soon but tonight, I was in no mood to make a big effort towards “springing from the platonic conception” of myself so I photographed Dobby, and lamps and things.
The Helix aspersa or garden snail is edible. But since A and I have not got around to eating snails yet (or at least not killing them ourselves and then eating them), it thrives in my garden. Wikipedia tells me it is a chief ingredient in skin creams and gels sold within the Latino community and used for wrinkles, scars, dry skin, and acne. It is also served as escargot. In gender talk, it is a hermaphrodite.
In coastal Andhra Pradesh, I visited a number of villages where the project is doing some work on environmental rehabilitation, specifically mangrove forest restoration. At Polatithippa, we took a boat into the creek to take a closer look at the forest. Our boat was small, wooden but motor-powered unlike some of the others that roam these waters where the strength of arms is all that makes them move. Continue reading
Recently, I traveled on work to the villages around Machilipatnam in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. I usually enjoy driving through the countryside and this trip involved plenty of that (about three hours back and forth from my hotel in Vijaywada to the villages). Perhaps, the landscape failed to move me because I found the relentless paddy fields (muddy yellow in harvest rather than the fabled gold) dreary, or thought the thin clusters of palm trees rising up at intervals like many-handed gods had something grim about them. Perhaps, my visits to the villages and the relentless stories of poverty, AIDS, domestic violence left me tired. Perhaps, the grey miles of ruined aquaculture farms hardened me. Or maybe, I was just having a bad week. I don’t know what it is but somehow, this particular part of coastal Andhra left a memory of bleakness.
Yet, there were some pleasant moments — pristine white heron speckling the fields, interesting birds near the shrimp farms, cotton trees in bloom, brilliant sunsets and sudden rain. Much of this was witnessed en route and I couldn’t bear to stop Rambhav, the driver, to take pictures every time. Here are some I did manage. Continue reading
Last month, we took a drive down to East Coast Road. As a day trip. Yes, I am aware it sounds faintly ridiculous that we drove all the way from Bangalore to ECR and came back the same day but there were extenuating circumstances. It was one of those spur-of-the-moment urges to hit the road and keep driving. I had a longing for the sea. And there was nowhere we could leave our dog at such short notice. So we decided to pile into the car and drive towards Mahabalipuram and drive back when we were done with the drive and the road and the sea. Continue reading