Oct 3 2009

About 8 hours after leaving Frankfurt, Saarland touched down at Bangalore 35 mins past midnight on the 3rd. The swanky new airport is awesome. There was an all-female team of H1N1 screeners wearing surgical masks just prior to the immigration queue. I timed the process from stepping off the plane to the baggage claim area at just under 6 minutes! … and bags were already on our carousel from the Lufthansa plane! Of course, my bag took forever to arrive – but that’s the roll of the dice with 400+ pax.

I headed outside the terminal and greeted Mum and my cousin Nagu who lives in Bangalore and who very graciously put us up for the night. The next day, I met my 94 year old aunt (my mum’s much older sister – she has children my mum’s age!) and then we departed for the quainter confines of Mysore. Mum’s driver has some phenomenal road skills although I must confess that he unnerved even me on occasion! Traffic on the Bangalore-Mysore road is unbelievable. I will be back in Bangalore on the 11th and plan to visit some of the city’s supposedly exotic spots. So until then, I’ll be blogging about Mysore (pronounced “Maisoor”)

Mysore is a charming if somewhat decrepit city and I suspect that part of its charm is its stubborn if futile determination to remain unchanged over the times. I went to high school and university here at a college with the somewhat inflated name of the National Institute of Engineering” (Yes, they even have a wiki entry!) I always thought of Mysore as a bedroom community and while that remains true today, the city is starting to acquire some of Bangalore’s worst traits in terms of urban sprawl, traffic, congestion and lack of zoning. Having said that, there are some precious vestiges of the cities royal and colonial past.

I had lunch at my cousins’ place. They just lost their mum 10 ago, and in a couple of days, there is going to be a ceremony of some sort to signify her “entry into heaven” which according to the Hindus takes 14 days. I wonder if this is plausible seeing as how it took me about a day to get from Dallas to Bangalore alone. I would imagine Nirvana to be a heck of a lot more than 14 times that distance, but I’ve decided not to press the faithful on this point especially under the circumstances.

Its been an uneventful day otherwise. I plan to potter around town tomorrow and report on anything that I find interesting. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to head to the Pelican pub down the street from my mum’s flat and nurse a pint of Kingfisher and maybe a plate of Chicken Manchurian.

Cheers!

Update: the Pelican Pub

This place is still the same wacky little tavern that it was 2006, albeit with a smoking ban, thanks to some belated postmodern enlightenment. I just love the fact that its a 5 minute walk from my mum’s. Shyam the friendly bartender brought me up to speed on 20/20 cricket and the English Premier League. I have decided to forgive him for being a Manchester United fan (I’m a die-hard Liverpool man). I had 3 half-pints (for some reason they only serve pitchers or half pints) along with some INSANELY spicy Chicken Manchurian bar bites! Chicken Manchurian is not unlike the delicious Chicken McNuggets of yore that used to be made from all the left-over parts of the chicken – beak, feet, gizzard, liver, and in the case of Manchurian, all minced together with garlic, chillies, spices and LOTS of paprika and cayenne and chilli powder and deep fried. I had to almost chug the last half-pint to fight the inferno building up in my mouth and the mini volcanic eruptions on my scalp.

Note to self: Might want to check into the availability of the “Mild” option on the Manchurian at the risk of losing all street-cred (said ship might have sailed anyway)

Will post some pics tomorrow.

Over and Out for the night. Strangely not jet-lagged.

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