WE’RE BACK in Ole Bengalure, in the Defence Colony in Indiranagar, a very pleasant tree lined place, with lovely birds singing and butterflies dancing like flowers in the breeze. We note that the developers are beginning to knock down perfectly serviceable houses, no doubt to replace them with offices, and we fear for the future of Bangalore if this trend continues.
Our apartment has a little garden and we’re graced with a couple of banana trees and several papaya trees too. These little bananas, when they ripen, are very tasty and put to shame the standard Euro banana which all seem to be of one variety, tasteless. So without much more ado, here’s the papaya, followed by our little banana tree. ♣
LAST TIME I was in Ole Bengaluru, I went to one of the many ATMs (cash points) in the city – cos Bangalore is a very modern city you know, and it refused my debit card, despite the “international” logos on it.
I found a number, I believe it is a call centre in Scotland, 0131-339-7609, and using Skype Out, which is very cheap everywhere in the world, complained bitterly. To no avail.
So at the end of this week I go out to Bangalore again, and as a matter of courtesy called the Natwest to tell them to liberate my debit card. Oh no, said the lassie, “there is a lot of fraud abroad, we cannae let you use your debit card outside this country.”
Oh. And I thought cash was international. I will not tell you much more than I’ve already told you in this posting, but I am considering decking my 35 year old Natwest current and savings account. Because all they tried to do was ask me if I’d consider saving more money with them.
Of course, using a credit card, you can get money out of an ATM anywhere in the world, but at a premium.
Bhar me jaiye, National Westminster Bank, if you don’t mind me saying so. And we’re supposed to love banks? Perhaps, like George Soros, I should speculate in currencies. And do a run on your bank for Indian rupees. ♥
STICKS AND STONES can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
In the light of today’s meltdown on stock exchanges, it’s incumbent on all of us to remember the Chinese lighter we bought in Old Bangalore during the Beijing Olympics which lasted a whole day.
I have to add that in the space of my nearly 60 years on this planet I have seen meltdowns before. The ingenuity of human beings knows no bounds. But that’s because we’re more dextrous than chimpanzees, bonobo apes or orang utangs. These apes don’t care about stocks and shares, but about food, shelter and love. And drink. ♥
IT’S BEEN A COUPLE of weeks since we’ve been to The Examiner office in Ole Bangalore. Last time we were there, we were interested that “progress” had not decked the coconut tree plus the local lore goes that if someone chops one of these trees, there will be a death in the family.
Last time we were there, the coconut tree was intact. The building site had its own postbox. There was a shrine to Vishnu in his form as Tulsi (Basil) right next to the tree, which was home to little gilhari (squirrels) and other creatures like, er, birds, as well as butterflies and stuff.
How things have changed. And they aren’t for the better. A source sent us this picture showing sheer wanton destruction on a grand scale. The building site appears to have turned into a cesspool. And the coconut is one of the dear departed. ♦
TODAY IS Indian Independence Day, marked in most cities in India by formal celebrations.
But while the banks, the civil servants and the fortunate have the day off, and so a long weekend, life here in Bengaluru seems to be throbbing normally. A quick walk down 100 Feet Road demonstrated that this afternoon. And crossing the 100 Feet was as fraught as any normal day in India.
At the Examiner, the hacks have today off, so the site is being kept up to date by yours truly and the assorted stringers we have. I’m packing, ready to fry out to San Francisco for the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, so quaffing my last Haywards 5000 for about a week before I return to Bengaluru.
I’ll be close to 12 hours behind my Indian hacks next week, so will be dislocated in time, space and culture. I will also be competing to some extent against the previous two plaices – the INQUIRER and The Register. I am sure to meet Charlie Demerjian and some other old pals.
See you on the other side of the bigger Pacific pond! ♦
I FRY OUT of Ole Bengaluru tomorrow, via Singapore, to the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) which is being held next week at the Moscone, a beggar of a place.
It will be a long fright, but I am up against the challenge to end all challenges. I will be competing with three or possibly four hacks from the INQster to bring news from IDF to our global readership.
Goodness knows how many Rogister people will be there. That rag is now, thankfully, a very distant memory of 14 years ago. The INQ has whitewashed me out of existence. So has the Rogister. I don’t mind, ‘cos Wikipedia continues to tell its own version of history.
I sold my shares in the Reg back to an adsales geezer, flogged the INQster to VNU, and seem to have generated loads of jobs in the process. It was something of a coup hiring Paul Hales at the INQster to work for VNU again, we’re sure you will agree.
In America, I will be 11 and a half hours behind Ole Bengaluru. My loyal team of hacks in India will no doubt pick up the slack and deliver stories to the world that the INQster and the ROGster can only dream about, the little bunnies that they both are.
Lest you think I am in the slightest bit bitter about the Register and the INQUIRER, I’m not. Far from it. I am satisfied at a good job well done. And I am looking forward to challenging them both at IDF! ♥
THERE IS ONE PERSON at the www.itexaminer.com who helps to keep things moving and without whom our entire infrastructure would grind to a halt.
This is Madhu, really a force of nature, who works behind the scenes in a consistently positive way and who could, quite rightly, be called the VP of Operations at our Bengaluru magazine in Ole Indiranagar.
Madhu, pictured below, has just delivered yours truly to my apartment on the back of his motorcycle, and has made sure the wi-fi works, despite the “copper” from Airtel we described before. It is an interesting ride from the Examiner office to the Examiner apartment, but we had no fears of accidents on the way.
His Suzuki motorbike has more than enough power to outpace the crazy drivers veering in all directions on the now rightly famous 100 Feet Road. Plus Madhu is as safe as houses. We dunno who the bloke behind the scooter is. ♦
OUR APARTMENT is just behind the strangely named 100 Feet Road in Indiranagar, Bangalore and is a haven of peace and quiet, with sweetly singing wrens and that.
The 100 Feet Road is much much longer than 100 feet. Just like the equally strangely named 80 Feet Road is much much longer than 80 feet.
Walk a little way to the crossroads pictured in this video below, and you can’t hear yourself scream. As you can hear. ♥
FOR A CITY that claims to be the pub capital of India, you cannot escape Kingfisher anywhere. Hic! The firm obviously has a very sound channel – it dominates the Bengaluru world. Chip giant Intel should take note, but sometimes you fancy a change.
And this Haywards 5000 stuff is something else. For Rs 75 you can have a taste of Haywards “Super Strong Beer”. At around eight percent it’s got a fine kick and according to one end user, “it’s strong but it’s smooth”, a bit like Indian Gold Flake fags.
Obviously, this beer is exported worldwide and is apparently a big thing in Tasmania. It’s pictured below against the background of a Bengaluru magazine that rivals Time Out and the incredible book “Enter from Backside Only” – an Indian phrase that sometimes is changed to “Backside being Beautified, do not Enter”. Cough. The juxtaposition of Hidden Bang, Haywards 5000 and Entry from the Backside only is purely coincidental. The official site is here. ♦
HECK, that was a hairy day here in Ole Bengaluru. First C.Shanti gets boasting about Eva Glass, then our domain name www.itexaminer.com mysteriously enters a parking lot in Texas and starts to migrate East.
We managed to get it out of the parking lot and the DNS started seeing double for a few hours, but we’re up and running again now.
So what’s happening in Bengaluru? Plenty. It’s cool here, unlike Mumbai yesterday. The building next to our office was demolished by a team of people with their bare hands in the space of two weeks. The little squirrels who used to entertain us by moving from the Gulmohar to the building have been unceremoniously thrown out on the street although we did spot one on a far off building, earlier.
Pretty soon, the empty space next door will be occupied by a nightwatchman, and then by a man with a uniform and a hat, and by boys unbending iron bars to provide the shuttering for the continuing concreting of Bengaluru.
My folk in the editorial office look bemused as I show them a copy of the Daily Mail, and amused to read the Mick Jagger feature about his “65” girlfriends now he’s 65.
They have heard of the Rolling Stones.
Bengaluru has festooned itself with signs saying that Bangalore is in your DNA. Is it? The metro – “our metro” continues to make the congested streets of the city even more congested and so life goes on as normal, despite the bombs of last week.
Oh, I am out of the Hotel of Laundry Excellence and in a quiet apartment in Ole Bengaluru. A couple of lads come in every day to tidy things up. Yes, I left some items of laundry on the floor in my room and they vanished when I got home tonight. Bengaluru Launderers obviously have vendetta or drishti against me. Please…….. ♥