Tonight is Divali here in Bangalore. There is no need for thunder and lightning here, as the sound of fireworks and crackers has been incessant (and loud!) since about 5.30 in the evening. The crackers are seriously large (and loud), some of them about 20 – 30cms in height and lasting for about 30 seconds. Last night the peak of the noise came about 11.00, so I doubt it will be an early night tonight. So much for the much-vaunted security team. They all went to watch a barrage of crackers at the hotel gate tonight as I slipped inside without being scanned…such a rebel! There is an enormous cloud of pollution around Bangalore tonight – I imagine it covers much of India!
This is a temple replica where people go – rather like Santa Claus – presumably to make their wishes etc. there are no candles in this replica– this is the ‘Festival of Lights’ and candles are burnt as offerings to the various godheads of the festival.
So back to Mysore last week. On my last day there, I finished work early enough to be able to look around the grounds of the Good Shepherd Convent, where I was working. It is ironically situated in a Muslim area of Mysore, with the large St Philomena’s Cathedral opposite. I was not permitted to go inside the convent grounds without a Sister to accompany me, though once I was inside, I was allowed to wander around a little – a lovely little church and beautiful garden for contemplation. I want a pink frangipani!! Unfortunately I can’t even get my white one to do more than merely survive at home… Mum’s is much better! I have no idea what the fruit is and when I asked people merely shook their heads. It looks like a round kiwi fruit but it is a harder shell/skin.
Almost opposite the Convent is the St Philomena Cathedral, with a few smaller shrines. I was entranced watching a class of children have races balancing books on their heads. Of the three races I watched, only one child actually managed to complete to course without losing their balancing books. The noise level the other children made cheering the athletes on was enormous. Probably one class of about 50 children….
The ride back to Bangalore was in a sleeper train – going on to other places after Bangalore. All the seats folded down to create a very hard bed, with a bunk bed above. I think I am glad I was not trying to sleep there! The two ladies here were my two ‘minders’ on this trip.
In the weekend I managed to walk all round Cubbons Park (also known by many as Cubbon Park – this is India, lots of places appear to have two names…e.g.Bangalore/Bengalaruru). It took me about two hours to walk all round the park and I took a few photos on the way. Part of this park looks like a smaller replica of the horse track at Hyde Park, London. The juxtaposition of the peace and tranquillity inside the park and traffic noise alongside the park brings the contrast even more into focus. I really enjoyed the small Bamboo Jungle walk. So many clarinet/saxophone reeds there waiting to be made….I would love to walk through a real Chinese Bamboo forest. It must be awe-inspiring. I saw some photos once and it looked so…serene. Notice that this street is clean and tidy. Not all pavements in India are full of rubbish and holes. there were lots of couples sitting in the park talking. Probably the only way they can get enough privacy to talk without people around them. I left them in their combined solitude
Tonight, I decided to brave the fireworks to find dinner at a price much less than the hotel charges and went to put on my sandals. as I was about to slide my foot in, I noticed a shadow on the upper sole. where I had been about to put my foot was this insect – Somebody here doesn’t like me? I can imagine some that don’t, but then they do not have results yet…..It gave me enough of a fright that I had to take this photo. My watch is quite large….Maybe I should close my windows and use the aircon instead….
My trip to Mysore was a break from Bangalore, but I was happy to be ‘back home’ again. For those of you wondering, Mangalore is a port in Karnataka. Mysore + Bangalore does NOT = Mangalore!