When I went to see the American President

While New Delhi gets ready to receive President Obama, it takes me back 15 years… to when we lived in Hyderabad.

March 24, 2000 was a big day in Hyderabad. Bill Clinton was visiting the city, the first time ever that an American President was visiting a city in South India.

Many of the roads were going to be blocked so I had taken the day off from work. The President’s convoy was scheduled to pass by one of the main circles on Banjara Hills Road No.1 enroute to Hi-tech City. That this was very close to where we lived was an incentive to catch a glimpse of the world’s most powerful man. So I went, Canon camera in hand. Film camera, and no zoom to get close ups. I took position where I thought I would get a good view, electricity and telephone poles not withstanding. The six pictures I took turned out well, and I swore I caught a glimpse of a fair smiling face and a fair hand waving as the cars sped by. Continue reading

Christmas trees in Bangalore

Walking around the streets of Richmond Town, one cannot but notice the tall Christmas trees that poke out into the sky, often towering above the concrete. Unlike the Christmas trees of Europe and America that are generally pines, the ones in Bangalore are conifers, with the binomial name Araucaria heterophylla. Continue reading

The little brown tombstone in Tranquebar

Our visit to Tranquebar in the summer of 2014 took us to every corner of the small historical town. Our ‘My Danish India’ research team picked up lots of interesting information on the life of the people during time of the Danish in India (1620-1845) and even after. We had many memories to carry back, but there was one that I had mentally bookmarked to revisit sometime. This was a little brown tombstone in the compound of the 18th century Zion Church on King Street.

Zion Church

Continue reading

Bangalore Cantonment land 4 paisa/sq ft in 1861

This hand-written document traces the early ownership of a 6000 sq ft plot of land in Bangalore Cantonment. The land was given to a pensioner, as a grant from the British Government in November 1850. In November 1861, the plot (must be with house also, because the land had to be built upon) was sold for Rs 250/-. Note the crosses (X) instead of signatures at certain places, indicating the inability of the sellers to sign.

The decorative cursive writing is difficult to follow in places, but the transcribed text (after the pictures) gives the story. Continue reading

Holy cow! The best business model

The three cows occupy the space of one roadside car park and the adjoining yet-to-be concreted footpath. Shielded from the scorching sun by a natural canopy, they are tied to tree trunks and grills, wherever the rope goes around, lest they wander off. It is past 11:30 a.m. and Sangita and her twelve year old daughter Pooja are packing up for the day. Pooja studies in Std 7 and soon it will be time for her to go to school. This has been her daily routine for the past couple of years. Mornings on the road with mom and the cows, home for lunch and then off to school. Continue reading

Garbage burning and science

While clearing up one of the shelves at home, I stumbled upon my son Gautam’s “Composite Science” worksheet of Std 3, done in March 2011. After looking through it, I realised why I had saved it.

Q7 Give reasons – The gardener was burning garbage and my mother got angry with him.
Answer: The garbage could have been put in a compost pit and be made into manure. Continue reading

What’s inside the shaving gel can?


My husband was quite happy on finding this forgotten can of shaving gel, received some years ago during a company off-site meeting. The joy was short lived though, because the gel refused to come out. This should not have been surprising, considering that the product was manufactured in 06/2006, best before 06/2009. The propellant (gas) had all escaped!

I’ve always been curious to see what lies inside these “black boxes”, so after taking off the actuator, I cut off the top of the can using a good can opener. It didn’t take much effort. Continue reading

December scenes at Puttenahalli Lake

Ever since my family moved from Bangalore, it goes without saying that a trip to Bangalore would include several visits to our dear Puttenahalli Lake. My boys love the idea, not because of the lake, but because it gets them to Brigade Millennium where they always look forward to meeting up with old friends. Though reasonably well updated on the happenings at the lake (I need to be, to manage the PNLIT website, blog, facebook page, twitter account and other online activity), there is nothing like being there and seeing the trees, flowers, birds and lake for myself. And a reasonably good camera helps to keep the memories till the next visit! Continue reading

The Rain Trees of Nanjappa Circle

There are three of them. Survivors among the many that probably marked the periphery of Akkithimanahalli Tank in Richmond Town. The oldest living natives from the locality, who are closing in on a century, remember these rain trees (Albizia saman/ Samanea saman) of their growing years, not much different from the way they are today. So it would be safe to assume that these giants at the Rhenius Street-Langford Road junction at Nanjappa Circle (where a circle does not actually now exist) could have been planted more than 150 years ago.

The rain tree is not really “Indian”, but originally from Latin/ Central America. Still, it has grown to become an intrinsic part of Bangalore’s heritage. It is called Bhagaya mara in Kannada. Continue reading