Tag: Palm Meadows
Bulbuls, Coucals and Doves
This is my last month in India. My husband’s job in Bangalore finishes soon, and we are moving back to the UK. I need to squeeze in a few more posts before we leave. Let’s start with one of my favourite places in Bangalore – my own garden.
The garden has palm trees, bananas, mangoes, bamboo, bougainvillea, hibiscus, jasmine and plumeria. There are butterflies, bats, ants, lizards, at least one snake, stick insects, giant snails and, of course, birds, like koels, purple-rumpled sunbirds, bulbuls, and shikras, with kites hovering overhead, too high for my camera, and parakeets flying past at dusk. Here is a round-up of the recent bird activity.
This pair of spotted doves spend a lot of time perched on the roof of our house, but they often come down to ground-level, and peck at the dirt.
I don’t know if this is a seasonal thing, but the local bulbuls are getting boisterous. They fly in to the garden, land heavily on a branch, making it bounce up and down, then fly off again. They do sing, and they do eat, but everything happens too fast for me to capture it. One bird paused for a moment on the corner of the house, just long enough for me to show you why it is called a “red-whiskered” bulbul.
And yes, there are red whiskers on the other side of its face too.
The next bird is the Greater Coucal. I never see it flying gracefully. I just hear its booming “cooop-cooop-cooop” call and see it crash-landing in the garden. After parading once around the lawn, it then jumps up into the trees, and clatters around in the branches.
There is a good detailed description of the Greater Coucal on Krishna Mohan’s photography website.
Living in an Expat Bubble
Life as a trailing spouse can be hard. I get sympathy from my friends, family and fellow bloggers on the homesick days, the visa frustration days, the powercut days, the house-maintenance-argument days, the language-barrier days, the culture-shock days, the “help, there’s a snake in my garden!” days, and the days when everything goes wrong and you just sigh and say resignedly, “TIC” (This is China) or “Incredible India”. So now I’m about to throw away all the sympathy. I’m having one of those days when life in the Expat Bubble is good.
I woke to sunshine in India, instead of a dark November morning in the UK.
Our home in Bangalore is bigger than our home in London, and today our water, electricity and internet have all been pretty reliable.
I am in India because of my husband’s job, so I am prevented from working, by both laziness and the rules of my visa. The only thing in my diary was an 0830 meeting on the tennis court, and that only took a couple of minutes free-wheeling down the hill on my bike. The tennis group is relaxed and welcoming, and pretty international. It is rare to have more than one or two players from the same country on court at the same time.
I can stay in this expat bubble all day. No need to go to work; no need to shop for groceries (I sent my driver off to the shops with a list); no need to water the plants or cut the lawn (we employ a gardener).
I do usually cook my own meals, but today’s tennis was followed by an impromptu birthday brunch for an American friend at the sports club.
In the afternoon I went back to the club for a swim.
Now I’m ready for some tea in the garden. Funny how my “comfort drink” has changed in my expat years – now it’s Japanese tea in a Chinese teacup with an Indian jug on a Japanese tray on a Thai tablecloth.
When my husband gets home, we may open a bottle of wine (Australian chardonnay bought at the airport leaving London) and sit out on our terrace. Where’s your sympathy now?
Dussehra – At Home
Our driver, Dayalan, celebrated the Hindu festival of Dussehra this week by performing a ritual for the vehicles and tools in our household, i.e. our car, my bicycle, the driver’s own motorcycle, and – for the first time – my camera.
Here are two photos of Dayalan performing the ritual. In the first he is holding a pumpkin. At the end of the ceremony he threw the pumpkin to the ground to break it in half, and then placed the two halves at the entrance to our driveway.
In the second photo he is holding a coconut, which smashed beautifully at the end, more easily than the pumpkin. Can you see the banana leaves on the front of the car? This year we used leaves from our own garden, instead of buying them.
We have a beautiful garland of roses on the car now.
Performing the ritual on Friday afternoon at 4.30pm served two purposes – it was an auspicious time, and it was late in the week, so the prices of flowers had dropped by 40 per cent.
We placed lemons under the wheels of the vehicles. The final part of the ritual was driving over the lemons to smash them. Almost impossible with my bicycle; tricky with the Suzuki motorbike; but dead easy with the big Toyota Fortuner. Now we are ready for anything on the roads of Bangalore.
Related posts from 2012 and 2013:
2012 Dussehra – part 1 – the car
2012 Dussehra – part 2 my bike
2012 Dussehra – part 3 the offerings
2013 Dussehra – the Prequel
2013 Dussehra – On the Streets
We have bananas in the garden again. One banana tree gave us fruit in January, as reported here and here. A second tree is now holding green bananas and a banana flower. This is how they looked on Wednesday.
These bananas look smaller than January’s crop.
For the first time in my life, I have paid attention to the banana flower.
Banana flowers are edible – here are some on sale in Bangalore’s Hypercity supermarket.
They cost 20 rupees per kilo. At least they did two months ago. I took this photo before our own banana flower appeared, and food prices have been rising in India.
P.S. For anyone interested in ladybirds, I updated my post “Is there any country that doesn’t have ladybirds” this week, after spotting something spotty in the garden.
Visible and Invisible Cricketers
It’s great to see children in Bangalore playing cricket.
Even when there isn’t much grass around, boys in Bangalore will find somewhere to play.
This was true in Palm Meadows too, but then the players were called up suddenly to join teams in next month’s Champions League T20. Or maybe they just went home for tea.
Am I safe on my evening walks inside Palm Meadows? We have good security, so the biggest danger is stepping on an unsuspecting frog. I narrowly avoided this one, and then scared him again by taking a photograph with my phone, which is why he is trying to climb up the lamp post.
There are lots of frogs around on rainy days. They make a surprising amount of noise for such small creatures, just not enough to alert me to their presence on the path in front of me. This is my public apology to the frogs for nearly stamping on them. I just can’t hear you through my headphones when I’m listening to my Three Dog Night playlist.
I think this was an Indian Bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus) but am happy to be corrected by any frog experts. I got my information from this article by Vikram Nanjappa at Bangalore.citizenmatters.in. I also learned that I really shouldn’t trample on bullfrogs because their tadpoles eat mosquito larvae. Any creature that attacks mosquitoes is worth keeping.
Beating the drum for Ganesha
So I’m still blogging about the Ganesha procession around Palm Meadows on Friday afternoon. This photo shows the drummers leading the procession. Not quite the same as a Lambeg drum.