Music to my eyes

When it comes to buildings India is probably best known for its grand structures that were whacked up when the Raj were here telling everyone what to do.  Bangalore has its share of those, although not that many, which is probably one reason why I've seen but a handful of tourists here. 

Last night was the inauguration ceremony for the conference I'm here attending.  I piled into a taxi with four fellow delegates from the Chech Republic and we spent an hour nosing through traffic, normal for getting anywhere here.  The event was held at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall which was built to commemorate a violin maestro called... Chowdiah.  The structure resembles a giant violin and is apparently the only building in the world that does.  Fair enough.  Construction started in 1973 and finished in 1980 and given how slowly wheels clearly turn in India, the design is circa early 1960's which is probably when the architect started drawing.  

Anyway, I loved it, such an elegant period of modernist design.  Hope you like it too.

We stood under this for high tea, who would have thought, a violin!

The auditorium is surrounded by a circular foyer, see the music notes on the ceiling.

How gorgeous are these seats!

Time to sit down, the chairs did a funny recline when sat in, quite comfy tho.

This was an Indian version of an Aussie Welcome to Country smoking ceremony, with incense.


Help Yourself

It's not often I get to post tales from travels in my life these days, but here I am in India having a welcome solo break from the grinding routine of domestic life to attend an oral history conference next week.  The joy of joys of being able to eat when I'm hungry, linger where I want and generally please myself, heaven.   I got off a plane in Bangalore, cranked up my phone and absorbed the Brexit news.  Thankfully I have no TV in my yoga-centre AirBnB (Yogi-stahn) so don't have to suffer the pain of watching the Barmy Army and their generals celebrating the victory of their nationaistic ignorance.

India, for those who have not been here is a shock to the senses: pollution, traffic, poverty etc.  But the colour, food and culture are incredible; which on balance makes it a worthwhile travel experience.  I love the everyday clothes that women wear here, leggings and a tunic; so flattering, so practical, so stylish.   You can get delicious cheap food everywhere, I could get seriously fat in India.  Here is some pretty instragram-ready pictures from Russel Market where I went to yesterday:

What you can't see here are the piles of rubbish and rubble that make walking anywhere a tactical challenge.  Or the people, most of whom are trying, in some way or another to earn a living.  There is no welfare here; if you are unemployed, disabled or old with no family, tough titties.  For the first group that means putting any shred of time or energy they have into earning a rupee. Most of them are travelling around on the road trying to earn those few rupee so the roads are solid, all the time.

I feel like I'm surrounded by people working - in one way or another everyone is on the job.  That might mean pushing a mop around the shop floor, if that's all you can do, that's what you do.  Otherwise you and your children starve.


Got no legs?  Got no money for a wheelchair/minibus with lift/home with ramps?  No problem!  Make a DIY transport device with roadside salvage... or if you are lucky, another disabled person's family might pass on their hand-operated bicycle.

Anyway, trying to draw comparisons with our privileged lives in Australia or England is a predictable and pointless pursuit.  You know where I'm coming from.    But in a week like this, it's a sage reminder of how much we have to be grateful for.  Ultimately our life experience is largely predetermined by the nation in which we are born; a life determinator in which we have no control.  All we can do as global citizen is aim to level that experience; something migration, welfare and good governments aim to achieve.  Namaste.