A Year in India

Concert, Bengaluru Style
October 18, 2008, 1:32 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags: , , , ,
Pre-concert sunset

Pre-concert sunset

Last night was one of my best nights in Bangalore yet.  I went with my coworker Chandan and his friends to watch a famous Bollywood film singer, Shankar Mahadevan, perform at the free Times of India music festival.  We arrived at the concert at sunset and staked out a spot in the venue’s overgrown field.  As the band went through its sound-check, I met and mingled with Chandan’s friends.

Shortly after, Mahadevan appeared and sang several high-profile Bollywood songs (including an Indian version of “Pretty Woman,” a few songs from India’s current favorite “Rock On,” and an amazing back-and-forth voice/drum imitation between him and his percussionists).  The crowd surrounding me sang along the entire time, yelling, whistling, and dancing all over the place.  There was a sense of energy, star idolatry, and community (the audience ranged from age five to sixty-ish).

The crowd

The fans

As the concert came to a close, rain began pouring down.  It was magical.  Drenched, we all jumped the barrier separating us from the VIP section, something Mahadevan had been requesting security to allow since the very beginning of the show.  The music took an odd turn from Bollywood to techno, and we rushed towards the stage, climbed onto plastic chairs, threw our arms to the sky, danced like crazy, and chanted through our laughter “where’s the party tonight?” and – yes – “Hindustani! Hindustani!” along with the music.  It was a funny, random, memorable night.


“Back when dancing in B’lore was allowed …”
October 16, 2008, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Culture | Tags: ,

Shocking: the Bangalore dance ban

A Story From Chandan
October 6, 2008, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Day to Day | Tags: ,

A video of Chandan (my coworker and friend) talking about Bangalore’s contrasts.  Pls ignore the background giggling, though it’s pretty indicative of the laughing fits that C & I have just about every day together.

Actually Cooking
October 4, 2008, 3:02 pm
Filed under: Day to Day | Tags: ,
Latha giving me a cooking lesson

Latha giving me a cooking lesson

Inspired by the amazing food I’ve eaten here in India, I finally decided to change my tendency towards PB&J, microwave dinners, and take out.  Latha, a woman who works as a maid and cook in my neighborhood, offered to teach me to make a few simple Indian dishes.  This afternoon, we made palak paneer and bhaji, both of which were great.  Just as exciting was the fact that we spent the entire time chatting and getting to know one another.  She told me all about her family, her very early marriage, and the struggles she faces affording private education for her kids (she has four children; the three boys are in school while her daughter remains uneducated).  She also spent ample time laughing at how naïve I am when it comes to all things domestic …

Evening in My Neighborhood
September 30, 2008, 4:03 pm
Filed under: Day to Day | Tags: ,

Umm … Identity Crisis?
September 29, 2008, 5:43 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags: , ,

For those of you reading this who know me well, you’ll agree that I can be a bit of a music snob – which is why it’s surprising that in the past week, I’ve been listening to a disturbing amount of music akin to this:

… Not only Bollywood music, but westernized Bollywood music at that.  Don’t even know.

A Home
September 27, 2008, 1:34 pm
Filed under: Day to Day | Tags: ,

After three weeks of living out of a suitcase, I found an apartment!  I’m renting a room from an American, Josh, who has been working in Bangalore since he graduated from college five years ago.  The lovely 3-bedroom place is furnished and equipped with anything I might need.  Josh has already helped in acclimating me to this crazy city – he’s been my Google Maps replacement (barely a street in Bangalore is marked let alone recorded on a map), he’s recommended restaurants to go to (and to avoid), and he’s introduced me to his friends.

My roomie from Chicago is actually indirectly responsible for getting me in touch with Josh – he’s friends with a former coworker of hers.  And it turns out he’s also from Chicago’s north shore … a small world it is.

For you curious people, here are some apartment pics: