Oct 5 2009

Woke up at 6 AM and upon firing up the “internets” (as good old Ted Stevens put it) was delighted to find out that the Giants beat the Chiefs 27-16, Manning’s 4th quarter injury and some late sloppy defense by the G-men notwithstanding. When I yelled forth this news from the balcony, the city lit up in a profusion of excitement and joy! The mayor of Mysore has declared today New York Giants Day and a ticker tape parade is planned for their bye weekend. I hope they can make it.

I attended to some banking matters at the ICICI (”Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India” acc to wikipedia). They have a lone uniformed guard outside the building armed with what appeared to be a musket from the Third Anglo-Mysore War . Tempted as I was to take a picture, the “Delhi Metro incident of 2007″ (Took pics of swanky new Delhi underground metro/ Accosted by 3 armed guards with machine guns / Forced to delete pics from camera) is still fresh in my memory and so I moved on.

We’re headed to see the interior of the Mysore Palace and I’ll (hopefully) be able to post some pics later in the day. There is some question as to whether photography is allowed inside the palace. I’m about to find out.

I took Varun (he’s from out of town – from the port city of Mangalore, yes with an M, not a B) to see the Palace during the day – you might recall my semi-botched attempt at capturing it illuminated last night.

Facade
The palace seen here from the main gate was built in 1912 by the Wodeyars. It is a spectacular if somewhat indifferently maintained example of Indo-Saracenic (Hindu, Muslim and Gothic) architecture. Photography as my mother had surmised, is not allowed inside the palace, which pretty much eliminates capturing some of its most breathtakingly beautiful features. The oft-cited explanation for this by laypersons is “terrorism”, but if so, this is very selectively applied in India. Neither the Jaisalmer Fort nor the Jodhpur Palace has a ban on photography, as I observed during my visit to Rajasthan in 2007. Moreover for some bizarre reason, shoes are not allowed inside the palace! So, in a nutshell, you’ll just have to either take my word for the fact that much of the interior is awe-inspiring, but if not, you’ll have to be the judge of that yourself, if you chose to visit Mysore sometime in the future.



Dome
A close-up of the central marble domes. The middle one is gold-plated.


Corner A view of one of the corners of the palace which incidentally was designed by an Englishman named Henry Irwin on commission by the Queen Regent at the time (The heir to the throne was 4 years old) Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhna after the old palace was destroyed in a fire. Irwin Road (strangely pronounced “Eerwin Road” by many Mysoreans) is one of Mysore’s landmarks.



GateThe ornate main gate as seen from inside the palace.



Temple AOne of the 12 temples in the palace courtyard. The Wodeyars were obviously very devout Hindus.



Temple BA close up of the edifice known as the Gopuram.



Had lunch at a large gathering to commemorate the 14th day of my aunt’s passing. Today, she is supposedly at the “entrance to heaven”. It apparently takes a whole year to actually get in. No word on whether its a paperwork or a backlog issue! At lunch, I bumped into Gopal an old classmate, who runs his own IT company and who is doing phenomenally well! He, his wife and I are going to meet for a round of drinks later tonight along with another common friend Shivkumar who took the lion’s share of the impact from our 2005 motorcycle accident in Mysore and was knocked out cold. Mercifully he’s made a complete recovery.

Before that, I’m going to take my niece Shruti and a host of nephews out for ice cream. Shruti is a very sweet, charming young journalist, not the least of which is on account of her putting up with my mercilessly ragging, especially when I remind her that I first saw her when she was 4 hours old (true!).

Back from Ice cream. Shiv had a conflict so we’re going to hook up for some beers tomorrow instead. Lazy evening otherwise. Made plans to visit the Kabini Lodge and Resort at Bandipur National Forest Park.

Tomorrow I’m off with my cousin Indira’s husband Babu to visit my Alma Mater – He’s now on the Board of Directors.

Late Update: I forgot to mention that I met last evening with a gentlemen Mr Nagaraj Rao who retired as the Director-General of the Archeological Survey of India. He gave me a neat explanation of how and when manuscripts evolved out of the oral tradition in Greek and Indian mythology. He appears to have been pulled out of retirement to oversee a couple of projects involving the digitisation of ancient manuscripts on palm leaves! He’s also a faculty adjunct at the University of Mysore and his current class consists of a group of students from Humboldt University. He said that they’re the most impressive batch of students he’s had in the dozen years or so that he’s been teaching.

Oh and by the way, when I asked him about why photography wasn’t allowed inside the Mysore Palace, he said “because they’re a bunch of stupid people”. So I feel vindicated, even if deprived of some glorious pictures.

HPIM1880

A platoon of India’s next generation stopping en route to the future for an ice cream break! From left to right –

  • My nephew Shashank (my cousin Pratibha’s son) who’s sprained an ankle ligament playing soccer which explains the blue taped up foot. He’s going to graduate as a chemical engineer in a year.
  • My nephew Aalaap (my cousin Indira’s son) who’s golf skills have won him several trophies. He’s just about to enter college. The little twerp who’s a Man-U fan has been giving me endless grief about Liverpool losing to Chelsea! Kids these days …
  • My niece Shruti (Aalaap’s older sister) who’s a journalist and covers fashion and tourism. Like her mother, she’s one of the sweetest people on the planet and puts up with my constant teasing, especially when I play the role of elder statesman and remind her of how tough things were when I was her age ( we didn’t or at least I didn’t have cell phones). The look of resignation on Shruti’s face is probably because her prankster of a brother has piled up all the ice cream cups in front of her, which may also explain that goofy grin on his face!
  • My grand-nephew Varun (who I introduced earlier in this blog and is my niece Rashmi’s son) a Karate black belt and video game enthusiast. He’s cracked “Assassin’s Creed”, something still on my to-do list. He’s also an inveterate cell phone artist.

“Shruti” and “Aalaap” are musical terms. Their parents met while they were both on the board of a musical society in the early 80s.

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