Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Last Thursday: A well-milked day off from school

Last Thursday we had a holiday from school to observe Mahalaya Amavasya, a day on which Indians are supposed to offer oblations and appreciation to their ancestors. Of course I knew nothing of the specifics until just now, when I googled "October 7 holiday in Karnataka," but who's to blame me when there are so many holidays in India! (Okay, I should be more on top of things, you can say it!). We tried to go to the Modern Art Gallery, but the rickshaw driver attempted to take us on a shopping tour of stores at which he had arranged commission fees with the owners, and then dropped us off at the wrong museum when we refused to take part in the scheme.

This is the monumental, European-looking government museum he dropped us off at. It was closed, but outside our friends Eric and Matt found a sturdy chain to use to practice slacklining. Next door was the science museum, which we entered for a mere 20 rupees ($.50). There was a whole space filled with interactive activities that allowed us to nonchalantly interact with Indians; it was impressive how so many of them, even the older folks, really got into the games and tricks, as if they had never forgotten how to play! I also learned some cool facts in the non-interactive areas. 

Sunita Williams is the second woman of Indian origin to go up into outer space. The first was a passenger on the Columbia, the ship which exploded upon re-entering the atmosphere in 2003. Interesting to y'all Bostonians is that Williams spent some of her childhood in Needham. I wonder how strange it must have felt to run 26.2 miles in outer space. After the museum, a bunch of us walked to nearby Cubbon Park, the best kept park in Bangalore, to play games and stroll. It was a refreshing, little seen site, this couple with draped arms by this of the tree.

On the bus ride to the museum, I snapped a photo of a coiffed woman in front of me (she had no idea). Indian women, regardless of their economic levels, all seem to put great amounts of work into maintaining their hair and dress. Those in south India are especially fond of accumulating gold, too. 

On the walk home, I saw this adorable dog on the street, and he looked like he wanted me to take his photo. He is so dignified, gosh! (Sorry, Lucky, he might have one-upped you in this area.) "Wild" canines are a commonality on Indian streets, and most are harmless, even playful with us humans, but not all are as well-behaved as this gentleman. Behind him people are standing at one of the numerous stalls which line the main streets; this one is either a chat stall (a snack stall that doles out little dishes of peas, masala sauce, and crunchy potato bits in a bowl), or a religious offering spot. The religious offering spots are not usually open in the evenings, but maybe it is a happening spot because of the holiday.

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