mungbean in india

Category Archives: Nature


It’s another holiday!  Today is Gandhi Jayanti, celebrating the mahatma’s birthday. After a very long wait between Good Friday (6th April) and Independence Day (15th August) we’re now into the best season with 3 holidays in October and 2 in November this year.   It’s pretty disruptive to the teaching–our 4th term of the year starts in college this week–but very welcome nonetheless. One of the big surprises about moving out to India is that I’ve become a morning person. […]

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 […]


  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 […]

Festive 50 Part 1: 50-41

It’s almost the end of the year, which as everyone knows is when you’re supposed to make lists. So, in loving memory of one of my all-time heroes, the late and very-much missed John Peel, I’m going to write up my own “Festive 50” — in my case a list of 50 notable things about India — over the next few days.  Unlike Peel’s 50, these aren’t really in any particular order… Anyway, 50-41 are Birds. I’m a big nature-lover […]

Moving On

So, after being in my current apartment for nearly 11 months, I’m going to have to move again — or “shift” in the local vernacular — partly because the landlord wanted to put the rent up, and partly because I’ve realised I need to move somewhere cheaper anyway. The place I’m in now has been great, but it’s huge and I only use half of it. It’s also way more expensive than what I’d been budgeting for, but I was […]


Today is the September Equinox, and back home this would be considered the start of Autumn. September makes me think of long shadows, bright but cooler days, and the evenings starting to shorten quite noticeably.  Leaves are changing colour, and there’s a melancholic feel in the air. It’s almost the start of another academic year. Not so here in Bangalore… I think we’re coming to the end of the Monsoon. The lack of recognisable seasons is one of the things […]

The Wasp Factory

I spotted this tiny pot-like thing on my kitchen window-sill yesterday, about 1.5cm across. As soon as I saw it I thought “wasp!” — not sure why. The entrance with the lip around it is amazing. Shortly after noticing this, sure enough a wasp or a hornet-type thing appeared and went to the entrance. Strange-looking, with loads of green bits hanging underneath…. It went away and came back after a few minutes. It was only then that I realised the […]

…and Rain

OK so my last post was titled “A place in the sun” and I ended by talking about the Monsoon. I might’ve known that would bring the rain… It’s 9pm, pitch black, and it’s bouncing down just now — a proper tropical downpour. Apart from a few drops once in January, this is the first time it’s rained since I arrived over 2 months ago. Not only is it throwing it down, but the electricity went off around 7.30 so […]