23 February 2007

Breezing through India

We visited India for a lightning fast trip that lasted about 8 days earlier this month. It was fun, and a little frantic. At Delhi, I really wanted to visit Humanyun's tomb.

This is the gateway to the actual tomb. As we were walking toward it, Steph noticed something that I'd always taken for granted: the six pointed stars. While we might be most familiar with the incarnation used in Jewish symbolism, it is interesting to note that many faiths including Islam have long histories with the same symbol.

The tomb remained as large as my memory had remembered. The grounds have improved dramatically though, and the signs around the place are a lot better. In addition, there's far better handicap access. I learned that all of this was a result of the Aga Khan's interest and philanthropy in the site.

While it is easy to see that the buildings are all very symmetric, the same theme has been carried over to the layout of the grounds and waterways. Symmetry is an underlying theme in a lot of Islamic architecture, atleast from what I saw in Delhi.

Many of the precious stones have been stolen, and much of the color faded in the dome over where Humayun's grave lies. Yet, you can still see the original architecture clearly. Quite amazing even by today's standards, and more so when you consider that it was constructed in the 1500s.

The disparity between the have and the have-not's is always visible in India. Small impromptu dwellings like this slum are common in many Indian cities.

Back in Bangalore, we took life a little easier, and just spent the days eating, drinking and driving around town.

Yes, if only we could all be Java Masters. Baldwin's where we (from MAIS) got whipped at soccer every now and then.

Near Koramangala, we drove past the multitude of marble shops. There must be around 50 of these where enormous sheets of marble lie stacked in the open for people to look and make purchases.

As you might expect, there's a variety in how well these stores do, especially if they are all packed close together. Some manage by specializing in specific types of marble. Others like the Marble Palace evidently have good sales people.

I'd never seen much advertising for CITU. They are evidently, the Center for Indian Trade Unions. More evident, they seem to be a bunch of commies. While communism might not be a common theme across India, public urination is a prevalent across. This gent clearly didn't think much of the "Against the American Imperialism" slogan, and seemed quite content to pee all over CITU's proud notice of a conference. Nifty.

Walls in many cities in India that protect a private space typically have a topping of smashed glass embedded in concrete to thwart would-be wall climbing and scaling folks.

Towards the end of the trip, we got to spend some time with old friends. Alok and Jennifer shared some Hennessey with us at their place, and now I'm afraid that we will be spending some coin on the stuff.

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