A Trip Across Town, Photos from India

Sunday July 17th, 2011

The sixth installment of images from my 2 week trip to Bangalore, India. The following were taken Friday, November 12, 2010 (day 6). (My D90 was still set to PST so the EXIF date is a bit behind.)

Since I had yet to visit my company’s Bangalore office, Gopi and I decided to take Friday to do just that. It was a whole day trip as the two offices were on either sides of the city. Even though it was a mere 12 miles, I remember the trip taking roughly 1.5-2 hours.

Afterwards, we went to a local mall to see if there were any deals to be had. I’d been told that goods were significantly cheaper than what I was used to in the US. This may true in the right place, but this mall was not one of those places, at least for men’s clothing. The other factor was that my sleeve length and waist size were simply not stocked. The last men’s store I walked into, the salesman, without a word, immediately measured my sleeve and waist, looked up at me with a regretful smile and slowly did the head bobble. From that point I decided that focusing on shopping for Elizabeth would be more successful.

Since Gopi was roughly Elizabeth’s same height, he generously volunteered to hold up potential purchases so I could determine the fit. Not a scene you’d easily find with a couple of straight dudes in America, but, as I’m sure Elizabeth will corroborate, it worked out great. I ended up buying a few nice kurtas and a sari as the prices for women’s clothes were definitely cheaper.

So on with the pics, 24 in total and mostly from the road.

1 I know I keep posting shots of these commercial trucks, but it’s details like the top of the passenger window and the sprite where the bed of the truck meets the cab that I find so interesting. I think this one is the last.

2 After touring the Bangalore office, we passed this fruit vendor while walking to a nearby restaurant. I was fully saturated with Indian food at this point and was hoping the restaurant had something vaguely American (bland). I remember it distinctly because he was at the intersection of an alley and Whitefield road (the main thoroughfare). As I stepped into the alleyway, which was more like a wind tunnel, I was overwhelmed with the stench of raw sewage. It truly almost knocked me on my ass. No one else seemed to notice the smell. The restaurant was directly across the alley and needless to say, nothing on the menu sounded appetizing. On a side note, notice the “Gents” posting? These were all over. They’re notices of rooms for let. Even though I knew better, I kept thinking they were something totally different (this ad was a lot more specific than most). Gopi eventually set me straight.

3 You’ll find tender coconuts everywhere. The tops are lopped off and sold with a straw. Nature’s juice box.

4 Whitefield road had lots of vendors. This one supplied the cigarettes. When I got a little closer, I didn’t recognized any of the brands. Not only that, the graphic design on the packaging had the feel of the 1950’s or 60’s. This was a trend I saw often, even major brands were still using early versions of their product’s branding.

5 Gopi posing for a demonstration on “depth of field”. This is also where we ended up eating, a little outdoor coffee place within the business park where my company’s office was located. I had a plain, microwaved veggie burger with cheese. Meh.

6 The sun was going down and the light was starting to get golden. We were at this intersection for about 10-15 minutes, so I snapped a few pedestrians. This women stood out as I saw very few women wearing business suits.

7 You’re not going to find one of these old Fila bags in the US these days.

8 A Gentleman taking a quick snooze. I felt the same way at this point. It didn’t help that we’d been sitting at this intersection for so long. In general, I feel time spent at intersections has a similarity with the math used to calculate dog years.

9 I found this to be an interesting arrangement of shape and color.

10 As you’ll see in the next installment, wild dogs were everywhere.

11 A vendor pushing her cart the opposite direction of traffic. I saw a similar cart being pushed down the slow lane of a majorly packed highway. It was pretty standard.

12 A moldy water tower. The thought of climbing up that ladder gives me the tinglies.

13 Sandbags waiting in line for a piece of the action.

14 One of the many impromptu food vendors. As Gopi points out in the comments, panipuri is the food being sold.

15 Not sure I could’ve shot this picture if it wasn’t from a passing car. Their looks of suspicion are exactly what I find hard to ignore when shooting candid pictures of people.

16 With the sun close to setting, this image of a man adjusting his bike seat is one of my favorites.

17 Boy texting (I think) while selling tender coconuts. These are much larger and require a machete (top of the pile) to slice open. Nothing about that blade looks sanitary enough to come into contact with food.

18 Women stringing up what looks to be flower garlands (Gajra). Notice that the man sitting to her right is caked in a pink color. Not sure what’s going on there. Gopi has identified that the man is suffering from leukoderma. The color is actually a lack of pigmentation. I’ve seen similar afflictions, but never as broad as this man’s leg.

19 Whoops. I lied. One more truck. But this one is just because I liked the hand painted branding.

20 Apparently, steel poles are not the standard when constructing scaffolding. More tinglies…

21 A hand-painted license plate. I also saw hand-painted declarations on the sides of commercial vehicles such as license to haul in the state of Karnataka in general. I wonder if these are enforced, anyone could paint these on their vehicles as there didn’t seem to be any specific, hard-to-reproduce aspect of the application.

22 The sun’s angle highlighting the large amount of pollution. We were almost to the mall and I was getting sleepy.

23 So was this guy. (Remember, the steering wheel is on the other side of the car)

24 The sari store. This was a unique experience. The process of buying a sari involves sitting at one of the tables and explaining to the salesperson what your looking for. They then proceed to pull down a bunch to choose from. Those choices are then modeled by one of the female employees. I had no understanding of the difference between a wedding sari and an average everyday sari. They were all simply bright and decorative fabrics to my eye. I ended up with a mustard yellow and maroon sari. It’s way too big for Elizabeth but a friend has offered to do the fitting when E’s ready to wear it.