mungbean in india

Category Archives: City Life

School Run

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

  Today is a big, big holiday in the South and West of India–it’s Ganesh Chaturthi, the festival (and birthday) of Lord Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati, who is instantly recognisable as the Hindu deity with the elephant’s head. For the last week or so street vendors have been setting up roadside camps selling Ganesh idols, and temporary outdoor stages, kitchens and shrines have been constructed in random places (often completely obstructing the road) in preparation for this big […]

Small Things #3

Walking through Koramangala as I head home from work, I slip down a quiet residential side-street away from the traffic.  Round the corner, out of the almost-darkness comes a small herd of around 8 or 9 grey-haired buffalo calves, their huge ears flapping as their heads bob from side to side.  The smallest are only the size of a large dog, and the biggest about twice this size. Every face has the same expression, something like a contented grin. Sticking […]


I went to Mumbai last week–mainly because we had finally got through the madness of our graduation, exhibition and fashion show at college and I wanted to get away for a few days, but also because I was really curious to see what the city is like. Everyone told me that it would be crazy and crowded and noisy, but I really liked the place.  Admittedly though, I did spend the first day or two in the slightly more well-heeled […]

Small Things #2

In a hotel room in Mumbai, Sunday morning about 9am.  I suddenly notice that it’s really quiet… all I can hear is the clock ticking and crows cawing outside.  A tap-tap on the window turns out to be a dragonfly looking in.  It must have been like this for at least half an hour. I’m pondering how peace and quiet is such a rare commodity in Indian cities, and how you could run special holidays to quiet places for city-dwellers. […]


Here in Bangalore the traffic is legendary, but in particular the motorbikes and scooters — or “two wheelers” as they’re collectively known — are what makes the difference. Usually occupied by at least two people (and up to 5), the 2-wheelers make up a huge proportion of the traffic here. In a congested city with poor roads, the advantages are obvious: you can weave through gaps in the otherwise-gridlocked roads, you can go up on the pavement to overtake (and […]


  The world’s biggest democracy just had the world’s biggest power-cut. According to the Times of India, 684 million people across 21 States and Union Territories in the North and East of India were without electricity yesterday, when 3 power grids failed. That’s more than half the population here, and pretty close to a tenth of the people on the planet.  It was the biggest electrical power failure in history. 300 coal miners were trapped underground, the Delhi metro was […]

Small Things #1

A weekday evening, about an hour before sunset. On a busy street a muslim woman emerges from a trendy ice cream parlour, dressed head to foot in a black Niqaab, and carrying a fancy leather handbag. She pauses at the door and looks around furtively, as if checking to see that nobody has spotted her. It’s Ramadan.


  One of the things you first notice when arriving in a supposedly hi-tech, cosmopolitan, “top-tier metro” city like Bangalore is just how quasi-rural bits of it are, particularly animals roaming the streets full of the notorious traffic.   (This bull, above, was sitting happily on the pavement next to a very busy intersection, when I was on my way to the supermarket a few days ago. There wasn’t much pavement left after he’d sat down, so we were all […]

Tropical Diseases

I had my first brush with Tropical Diseases recently. As I’ve moaned about regularly since arriving in Bangalore 17 months ago, I’ve been mildly sick  quite often here… I mainly put this down to a combination of unfamiliar cold-like viruses and the terrible air pollution here, along with large amounts of dust during the dry parts of the year.   (Whereas local people often seem to blame any sickness on “the change in the weather”.)  But up to now, I’d […]