mungbean in india

Category Archives: Bangalore

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 […]

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. […]


It’s Independence Day in India today, my second one since arriving here, and a national holiday.   I’ve now been here for 1 year and 8 months. Assimilation is probably too strong a word, but I joked that I was fully assimilated when I bought a pressure cooker for my maid to use a few weeks ago.  I had never used one before, but the communal hissing of pressure cookers joins the sound of grass or twig brooms sweeping tiled floors […]


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 […]

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.

A Little Bit of Progress

The doorbell rang at 7.50 this morning, and there at the door was a woman I didn’t recognize.   She said she had come to work, which puzzled me, but I pointed at the number on the door and suggested she had come to the wrong apartment.  She didn’t seem convinced, and asked if I needed any work doing.  “Not here”, I told her.  She asked again, and I told her the same thing.  After a few minutes of back and […]


You can see why people say one of the best things about Bangalore is the weather.   Although we’ve been into monsoon season for 2-3 weeks now it hasn’t really rained much — just a few afternoon showers.  But the skies are now quite often grey, and there’s a cool breeze blowing most days.  It was even so cool yesterday morning that I could walk to work instead of catching an auto — normally infeasible because I would arrive dripping […]

One and a Half

It’s 18 months ago today that I arrived in India, for the first time ever.  Three jet-lagged days later I started my new job. I’ve been trying to avoid “Robinson Crusoe” accounts of living here — notching up the days — but this feels like a bit of a landmark and anyway I’ve not really been counting since it was 1 year.  What I’m really interested in is documenting how it feels to become an ex-pat for the first time, […]


  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 […]

Monsoon Come

So, the monsoon is upon us again — almost. The newspapers here had been talking over the past week about how it would be “late”… it’s supposed to arrive in Kerala (first place of landfall) on 1st June. It’s now 5th June and you can see from the map that the actual (green) is 4-5 days behind the predicted time in red dotted lines. According to the map it’s coming in from the South-West, as expected, and has arrived at […]