Monday, August 8, 2011


Last week in Times of India newspaper there was this buzz about the flower show in Bangalore.  Sitting at home the whole day my job is to read the paper and find out what interesting event is going on in the city. I read about the flower show and the replica of the Lotus temple which will be made out of flowers. I have never had the chance to visit any flower show. I was very excited to go and see the great show. On Saturday after many arguments everyone agreed we will go for the show.  Even before going my teenage  daughter claimed the show to be "Lame". This is  the feedback given to her by her friends.  What is ever interesting for a teenager I hardly understand.  Very easily everything becomes boring, lame, stupid at that age.  Anything we suggest is taken with a big "huh " and a sigh".  When I hear that sigh I loose my till -then controlled temper. That makes me even more adamant than her to hold on to my views and rules.  So this time I got my way through. My nine year old son had no other choice other than be a jing bang to his beloved sister.  All three of them tried to convince me to go to MG Road. First time in my house the majority did not win. The minority won. Yes, we all decided to go for the show. 

Usually on a Saturday my husband takes a nap after lunch. But last Saturday he sacrificed his sleep so that we can reach the flower show on time. It was in Lal Bagh.  We started around 2.45p.m. I read in the paper that the show will be open from 3p.m. I packed  some snack and water to have in the park.  It was quite sunny.  After driving for fifteen minutes the speed of the car started reducing. Bangalore traffic started to show its real face.  On our way we had to cross a few bridges which were under construction. Indians truly enjoy a lot of freedom while on road. They can drive however they like and where ever they like. No rules needed to be followed.  The liberty on road is amazing --right from humans to cattle everyone can use the road as if it is their private property. Since we have come back to our beautiful motherland after fifteen years we were feeling guilty  to enjoy that liberty. My husband was religiously driving with caution though scolding the intruders on and off. NO use of scolding them because with all the glasses raised and the AC on, what is the use of muttering inside the car when no one is going to hear you other than us? But you need to vent your frustrations right?no matter it reaches the target or not. So we were silent spectators of the happenings.  This is the main reason I don't drive in India. My blood pressure will shoot up if I happen to drive. The vehicles started to move inch by inch.  My son was starting to get restless along with his dad.  My daughter was enjoying her nap.  I couldn't complain because I was the one who suggested the idea of going for the flower show.  It was almost one and half hours and still we were on the road in the middle of nowhere.  The traffic on the opposite direction seemed to be free flowing. Adding fuel to the prevailing condition it started to rain.  Bangalore weather is so unpredictable.  It started raining cats and dogs.  The  traffic became even more slower. We felt cold inside the car with the AC on. So I asked my husband to switch off the AC. After five minutes we started to feel hot because there was no air circulation inside the car. I asked him to switch it on again. This was going on for sometime . After sometime he got frustrated and started to show his anger.  This time who else other than me will be the target? We moved so slowly that it took us almost two and a half hours to reach Lal Bagh.

 At last we reached the venue.  When we reached the place the main entry gate was  closed.  People were coming out through the exit gate.  Since it was raining heavily we were waiting inside the car for the gate to open.  Suddenly we could hear our car number being called out and it was followed by some Kanada words.  When we turned and saw, we saw a police jeep saying something in Kanada.  We lowered the glass and asked what it was. He asked us to move away from the place since we were not supposed to park our car in that spot. We told him that we had come to see the flower show and were waiting for the gate to open.  You know what he told? He told,"Madam flower show closed today because of rain. You go today and come tomorrow 9.a.m."  Yes a big full stop to the purpose of our visit.  There was no board intimating that the show was cancelled.  There were around six to seven cars waiting at the gate.  At least we came to know that it was cancelled through the police officer. Hats off to the tolerance level of our fellow Indians!  We took a U-Turn and started going towards our house.  All through the way my husband was sarcastic in blaming me for the whole episode.  I did not open my mouth so that I won't make him even more irritated.  This time when we were going back the traffic had moved along with us to this side I guess. The other side seemed to be free flowing now.Just like how the grass is always greener on the other side. I couldn't blame anyone other than myself for my bad luck. 

The children did not want to go back home. What else to do in that rain?  This time I just said I would go wherever they went. Now the majority won. Because of the cold weather my son had an urgent call from nature.  We couldn't stop anywhere in the middle.  Then we decided to go to the Forum Mall for using the restroom.  After that the kids  wanted to go to the Landmark bookstore.   I had no other choice other than nod to their wishes.  I just followed the three of them into the bookstore and grabbed a book for myself and started to read.  Though the woman in me wanted to go around the mall for shopping , I kept her under my control and sat there and read. We spent almost one hour in the bookstore and then hunger bell started ringing.  We took the kids to the food court.  I had no mood to eat anything there. I took a few bites from the chat they had ordered.  My mind was wandering around the mall .  After food we decided to head back home .  It took us another one hour plus to reach home due to the heavy traffic. At last we reached home at 9.p.m. I felt we had spent almost six hours without any purpose.  Kids were happy because they got to buy a few books from landmark. How can any shopping be interesting when you get home without any shopping bags.I didn't want to stay home after all this. I wanted to share my experience with someone before I went to sleep. I went to my friend's house and told her the whole story of our expedition to the flower show. After hearing it they asked me "Have you booked your tickets back to Singapore?"  A sensible question to contemplate. There ends our journey to the flower show. Though upsetting we all took it as an experience--a first hand experience of Bangalore traffic and to decide faster about our prolonged stay in India..  At the brighter side we felt happy that we were not living in the hustle and bustle of the city.  Imagine the plight of the people for whom this is an everyday ordeal!! Each experience adds to our perseverance.  Lesson learnt is "Grass is NEVER green on the other side". Jai Hind!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Survival skill

After a long time I am back to my world of writing.  We successfully did our R2I.  It took almost three months to accept the fact that we are back in our homeland.  Many of my friends have asked me to share my experiences  in India.  So for a few months from now it is going to be about my first hand experience .  We have a mixed feelings about our coming back. Lets wait and see how it is going to work out.

 After coming to India we went to Chennai for a couple of days.  We started from Tanjore to Chennai in Rockfort train.  It was a night train.  Since we had to book it in the last minute we got tickets in 3rd AC.  The train leaves Tanjore at 8 P.M.  My dad got us our dinner packed.. Since my son Rishi loves Egg parota (minced one) he got each one us a packet of the same.  We got a bottle of  mineral water too.  Though the train would wait for 15 mins in Tanjore station everybody was running to get into it so that they could  find place to keep their luggage .  We also joined the race.  Here started our race.We went into the train and kept our luggage under the seats and sat in our places.  After the train started moving we started eating our dinner.  The parota was yummy. Once we finished it we wanted to throw the trash.  Near the washbasin there was something called trashcan which was already overflowing.  I didnt feel like leaving the trash outside the can so I was standing there thinking what to do.  An old man in his sixties came to my rescue.. He said , "You can throw it through the gap between the two compartments. It will fall on the track."  Reluctantly I did it because I had no other choice.  Then after washing my hands in the dirty washbasin I returned to my seat.  After a while we decided to sleep.  We were assigned  the middle and the lower berths .  I made the children sleep in the lower berth and my husband and me slept on the middle berths.  After ten minutes my son started screaming. "Mama there are cockroaches in the seat."  Hearing hin scream my daughter also got up.  I took a news paper and brushed the cockroach away.  I asked him to go to bed .  He reluctantly laid down to sleep. After two minutes he started again. "Mamma there are more cockroaches. I can't sleep in this train."  Then my daughter also started ,"Even I see many cockroaches crawling mama, I can't sleep too."  They both sat with the heads bent because it was the middle berth. I got them down  and made them to sit in my seat.  They both were very scared that the whole night I was sitting with both of them resting their heads on my laps , while my husband was happily snoring.  Atlast we reached Chennai the next morning.

After staying in Chennai for two days we had to return to Tanjore.  This time we decided to travel in a day train.  Since my husband had some work he stayed back.  He came to drop us in the station along with my brother-in-law.  My co-sister also joined us to Tanjore.  They got us newspapers, books, titbits etc.  we were waiting outside the train  for the compartment to open.  Meanwhile the stench was sooo strong from the train and tracks that we had to close our mouth and nose.  My husband and children were complaining about the cleanliness and they wanted to go back to Singapore.  I didn't complain because I didn't want to open my mouth and talk in that stench filled surrounding otherwise all the air will go into my mouth and fill my stomach.  I felt like throwing up.  I felt that back then when I was small the trains didn't stink so much.  Does this mean that people were much cleaner those days or is it because of the growing  population and their needs that you find so much dirtiness around everywhere?  How can people survive in such poor hygienic conditions?? Do they have any nose to smell?  My children couldn't take up the fowl smell that they refused to get into the train.

Now coming to the point, since it was a day train we could only sit  and travel.  I asked the kids to go inside and sit in the seat while I was standing outside.  We were given only 2 seats and were asked to adjust and sit. The TTR told if the next two seats were vacant we could use them too.  All this because of the last minute booking.  After forcing them to go and sit Rishi went and sat inside with a book in his hand.  I told Rishi to sit in his seat without moving orelse someone might occupy the seat.  Initially he didn't want to sit there alone .  Since I told him about someone else taking up the seat he became cautious.  All this while he was sitting in one seat . Seeing the increasing crowd he understood the situation. Now he spread his legs and was occupying three seats so that no one else would come and sit.  The thought of the dirty smell was off from his mind now. Occupying a seat became the top priority . I was watching all this from outside.  Two men came and asked him to move and sit. They spoke in Tamil.  Rishi replied to them in English saying he can't.  Those two men couldn't understand English.  They said "Yeh this boy is saying something in English I don't think we can make him understand. Let us move to the next compartment and see whether there are any seats available."  Rishi didn't mind what they were saying but was sitting there with legs spread apart till we joined him.  Then the train started to move. From this started my son's journey of "survival of the fittest".

  I always felt that he was not smart enough to deal with the outside world. This train trip enlightened me that if there is a need he will waken up... India taught him the first lesson of survival. Our journey will continue hereafter .......Let us see how we try to fit in...