Hello to ya all :)
Looks like there were few gaps between my mails and
now there's so much info to share, I don't even know
where to begin and end. And all this because
something new happens every single day. I guess,
that's what I love so much about my life in India : it
never becomes boring. For example, today I decided to
take a bus to the office (instead of walking), and
although it wasn't my first bus ride ever in
Bangalore, it was my first bus ride that I did on my
own, and third ride overall. I've noticed that there
are 2 separate entrances: front entrance is for women
and back is for men and even the space inside the bus,
including seats is divided in the middle, so that back
of the bus is for men and front of the bus is for
women and so opposite sexes never intermix. There is
no formal division in the bus as such. Just women
occupy roughly half of seats and space adjacant to
them, and the back part goes for men. There's a
conductor on bus, he walks around and sells tickets.
Price of the tickets depends on the distance and so my
ride to the office (which is not too far from my home)
costed me 4 Rs (or 10 c). If you go really far the
price can rise as high as 25c :) But you can buy a
monthly card which costs about 300Rs (~$7) and then
you can take unlimited rides.
> Are majority of your co workers married?
Hard to say...I really don't know majority yet.
Majority of my team-members are still single, but
situation is going to change in January when 2 of them
are going to get married (on the same day by the
way...like everything else, weddings have to happen on
certain dates, based on astrologers advices, so that
marriages will be successfull).
> In one of your e-mails you mentioned pollution. What
> is the source (cars, factories, cows :))
With so many cows around, of course once in a while
you step into something warm, soft and smelly
(especially if you're like me and walk looking around
and not down at the ground). However, I don't
consider this as a pollution. There's a lot of
garbage piles...well, everything is relative and
whatever is garbage for us, is a dining hall for stray
dogs and cows. I've seen stray monkeys in other
cities, but haven't met them in Bangalore yet.
Sometimes you see people coming for a meal at the
garbage pile...So, we won't consider this to be
There are 3 things which I consider a real pollution.
First, exhaust from cars, autorikshaws, bikes,
trucks...anything moving here produces an enourmous
amount of air-pollution. It's really bad. When bus
(or anything its size) passes by I usually hold my
breath as long as I can. Riding in auto-rikshaw also
exposes you to all the exhaust available on the roads
since the rikshaw doesn't have doors, and by the way,
only 3 wheels (that's why it's commonly knownw here as
The other thing that I consider to be pollution is
rather a mental one. This country is pagan to the
core. Idolworshipping goes as far as worshipping
computers (that's because computers are sources of
income). They buy a new house and first thing that
enters the house is a cow, because cow is holier then
a human being. At the same time I never stop to be
amazed by comparing different traditions of hinduism
and judaism, because they're strikingly similar, be it
wedding ceremony, laws that apply to married women
(vs. single), essense of prayers, or even idea of
monotheism (which somehow doesn't create any conflicts
with idol-worshiping work)
Third thing. I'm a little uncertain as to whether I
can add it to my list of polutions, but it bothers me,
so here it is. Lots of poor, hungry, sick, awfuly
skinny people on the streets begging for food. I hope
you all still remember my impressions of traffic here.
No laws, no lanes, many intersections don't have
traffic lights, million of all types of vehicles
driving everywhere...now to make the picture complete,
add scaringly skinny ladies holding their babies in
hands and walking among this traffic bedlam asking
everybody for food. Often you see sick and/or
terribly skinny people just sitting/laying on streets.
Yesterday I almost stepped on a lady who decided to
take an afternoon nap in the middle of the street.
Unlike her other "colleagues" she even had a
pillow...well, nothing else to make her nap more
comfortable. (such picture even I haven't seen up
> In your estimate what percentage of the population
> practices yoga?
Minority, although you would think this is the place
where yoga comes as natural as brushing teeth in the
morning. Out of my coworkers only one practices yoga
(somewhat), which is about 10%. I think even 10% is
too big for an estimate...None of my indirect
co-workers, acquaintances, hosts, people who I get in
contact with, do it. At the same time, there are yoga
classes everywhere. I bumped into a group of people
practicing yoga in the park, and they welcome
mewcomers. I saw an add in the newspaper that
ayurvedic hospital gives free yoga classes. Ashrams
(temples) usually have yoga classes in the mornings.
Maybe I am just dealing with boring programmers who
aren't very health-conscious...
> Are there a lot of smokers?
No. Again, small percentage. Less then in US, and I
consider US to be pretty good in terms of number of
> Have you met other non Indians who came to work in
Yes. We have one guy in Thomson who came to work here
from London. He's been here for 3 months already, he
is going home for Christmas vacations and planning to
come back for another 3-4 months. Once you come and
acclimatize, you start to fall in love with this
place...it's pretty innevitable. So I am not
surprised at all.
Looks like this mail has grown to be too long to add
anything to it. Stay tuned for my holiday trip
reports and more pictures.