Where do we get helium gas from in Bangalore

India insights


We're not well rested, but awake. In the allotted time of nine hours - that's how long it took the “hampi express” to cover the 350-kilometer route and perhaps set a world record for deceleration - we arrived safely at our destination.
We march to the dozen men in the station of Hospet who are us transport offer to go out onto the forecourt, where the auto rickshaw waiting that we have ordered in advance. Hundred or more cars start at the same time as ours. Some smoke terribly: "gas alarm" highest level. We hold the shawl in front of our mouths and noses, otherwise we would suffocate. After a kilometer or two, the traffic will slowly but surely decrease.

In the cool morning air, the sun still hesitates to rise, we drive through a poor, but clean-looking village. There is a well in front of every house. I notice the many cocks on the roadside, all of them with wonderfully colorful plumage. And for the first time on my first big trip to India I see the white people indian cows with their humps on their backs and their long, only slightly curved horns; and also for the first time I encounter wooden carts being pulled by cows. We continue on a side street through the one that starts here boulder landscape - store large, round boulders, sometimes in precarious equilibrium, on other blocks. The piles of rock often have an adventurous shape - it seems as if the area is populated by strange characters, as veena calls them. The first feelings of happiness arise.

Then the river in the morning light: wide steps, which are bordered on one side by small, empty shrines, lead to the bank and down to the ferry. The little boat stops in a different place each time; sometimes the passengers have to take a few steps over slippery rock slabs or wade through the water. Some tourists have been waiting for the crossing for a long time. They are well entertained: an elephant lying on its side in the shallow bank water with its front legs on top of each other is washed and scrubbed. His visible eye resembles that of a whale. The pleasure of the animal that is expressed in it is unmistakable.

Omelette breakfast while we wait to move into our two thatched roof bungalows (with a bed swing on the veranda!) In the beautifully laid out shanti guest house.

Two hours of sleep are enough for us, and we set out to explore anegundi, the left bank of hampi. Along the rice paddies laid out on narrow terraces between boulder hills that have just been replanted, the first step is the rickshaw to a picturesque ram temple leaning against the rocks. Before we even see the white box structure laid out on two floors, our gaze falls on the tank (the temple pond), which is completely filled with bush-high lotus plants. The glowing green of the rice fields lined with coconut palms and the darker green of the temple pond: sources of the second exuberant feeling of happiness on this day.

Girls and boys who go on a school trip want to be photographed with us - the small staging is enough for them; it doesn't matter that you don't get to see the pictures. Some of the children touch our arms or hands: scenes that come up again and again when we are dealing with people from the countryside.

Our soles burn as we cross the forecourt of the temple barefoot, as is the custom. Noon silence. Apart from us, there is only a sadhu (nomadic wise man) clad in orange, who looks very worldly and who seems to be making a beautiful life in his present guest temple.

Up a hill to a somewhat larger complex with a temple of durga as the center. The grim-looking goddess rides a lion. Dozens of coconuts are hung in the trees around the temple and are wrapped in brightly colored cloths: each nut carries a wish that durga may fulfill.
A man who poses as a guide (but without asking anything for his tip) points us and two young russian couples to a path that should lead to a lookout point. Local pilgrims follow us. Halfway through, the “guide” guides the mountaineers into a rock cavern in which vali and sugriva, the monkey brothers, are painted on the wall. (The story of vali and sugriva is a tragic episode in the ramayana epic. Part of it took place in this very cave. - How the rocky world of Anegundi plays an important part in this central mythological event for India.)
In a small sinus I come across a sadhu who, hidden in a niche, remains completely at rest. God alone knowshow long he meditates - for hours or days. Once at the top, we actually have a magnificent view of the unique rocky landscape through which the river meanders. Have on the granite slabs devotees countless cairns piled up.

In the village of Anegundi we take advantage of the opportunity and stock up on water bottles. The shady cool in the shop is very welcome. Refreshed, we take a look at the mighty wooden cart on the village square, which is used during processions to transport the local temple god (idol) is used. Whether already exalted believers have thrown themselves under the millstone-sized wheels of this wagon and taken their own lives, as is reported from time to time by processions?

To crown the most beautiful excursion we have ever undertaken together (veena and i agree), we climb the 700 steps to anjanadri, the mountain on which the monkey god hanuman was born. Again and again pilgrims on the descent greet me with the cry “jai shre ram” (long live god ram). In the uppermost, steepest part, when the puff becomes very short, a pilgrim from rajasthan encourages me to tackle the last stretch of the way, with the advice that there are only a few steps left to the goal.
In the sanctum sanctorum of the white temple, which is reminiscent of a greek mountain monastery, a hanuman in a silvery robe shines out of the rock. In the next room, two musicians give a little concert - tunes that they seem to play for themselves despite the microphone.
A Viennese woman (with a Jewish or Iranian influence?) - part of a young couple - fascinates veena in particular with her natural elegance, which is further emphasized by the design dress in earth tones. The appearance fits perfectly with the beauty of the place.
On the forecourt, the white flowers of a still leafless frangipani tree are so intense against the bright blue sky that I can't take my eyes off this picture. I ask frank to photograph this enchantingly beautiful example of my favorite tree. In the imaginary shade of the tree, surrounded by langur monkeys, we enjoy the view of a fairy tale landscape of oasis green and bizarre rocks, layered in blocks, which extends in waves to the horizon and not only takes your breath away, but also your words. My grandmother had a picture on the wall, a reproduction of a photograph, showing naples and vesuvius. Under the picture was: See Naples and die. (In the 19th century, the view of naples with the volcano in the background was considered an icon of the beautiful landscape and culture charged with wistful wanderlust.) I think of that as I look down from the Anjanadri to the river and the temple complex of Hampi.
Far in the distance, a mountain range is lost in the blue haze. At its foot there is probably the bear sanctuary that Veena told me about.

Our rickshaw driver - a boy who claims to be twelve years old; I guess he is more like 14 - brings us back to our guest house; just in time so that we can enjoy the sunset in the hotel's thatched lounge bar, stretched out on cushions. We drink illegally served beer like most of the other guests - the drink is not on the menu as the guest house does not have an alcohol license. The view goes over a rice paddy that we can literally touch with our feet to the tungabadhra, the waters of which glisten in fragments in the lush green landscape.



The ticket counter for the ferry boat is now on a piece of lawn about 20 meters away from yesterday's location ... A tent roof, a mat and a wooden box are enough to sell the tickets.

I don't want to describe the monuments in hampi in detail. There are books and websites for that. But the sight of the gopuram, the main gate tower of the temple of virupaksha, which resembles a steep pyramid, is so overwhelming that I have to go into more detail. After all, it is the picture of this gate that i saw pictured somewhere years ago and that made me want to see the world heritage site of hampi with my own eyes. Again and again my gaze sweeps up the tapering facade, which is littered with plaster figures (incarnations of mythological figures) special numbers. There are undoubtedly more artistically valuable decorations than these - for example the stone-carved figures in the vittala temple a few kilometers away - but the overall impression of this building burns into one. I think the central vertical “line” of the black window holes, which are getting smaller and smaller, contributes to this; these windows look eerie, as if they reflect the downfall to which the city was dedicated.

Not scary, but a little frightening then the scene on the platform in front of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. A man warned me: I shouldn't put the orange in the outside pocket, but inside my backpack. I did that too. But there's also something edible in the other pocket - and I'm holding the backpack in my right hand. The rhesus monkeys loitering around apparently interpret this as an offer to them. No sooner have you spotted the bag than you are preparing to conquer it. Screaming, I step left and right to keep the prey seekers away from the backpack. But when someone jumps straight onto the sack, I need all my presence of mind: I tear the plastic bag with the dilgul (sweet sesame balls) out of the outer pocket and fling it off the platform. A big monkey grabs it and runs away with it. The situation calms down immediately; amazed and relieved, i put on the rucksack the way you should wear a rucksack according to your name.

Going up the hill on the right hand side we come to a ganesha carved out of the rock. It is the kadelekalu ganesha who, like the black nandi, dwells in a dark stone dungeon in the bull temple of bangalore. (Later we see the freestanding sasivekalu.) Veena caresses the granite paunch - touching the big belly of the elephant god is always reassuring to her. Still lost in admiration for the stone lucky charm, we hear a loud dispute between the three guardians of the little temple. The oldest of them, a fat woman, lets off a never-ending nagging. The other two seem unimpressed. We are irritated and amused at the same time.

Not far from the temple of ganesha we come across an older bus parked here, with which pilgrims from northern india drove to hampi. Arrived at the destination, the bus for the pilgrims' residence is there. Cooking takes place in a mobile kitchen that is set up next to the vehicle. Everything the travelers need on the way, they have brought with them. The supplies are stored under a tarpaulin on the roof rack. Laundry is hanging out to dry in front of the windows of the bus.

Our way leads us through an extensive banana plantation past a few temples to the queen bath and the lotus mahal (a building in the arabic-persian style, in which the women of the court enjoyed themselves). We lay down for a moment on the lawn between the monuments and enjoy the perfect silence.

A short detour on the way back through hampi bazaar with its guest houses and souvenir shops. We'll make it short; not only do we want to enjoy the sunset a second time from the lounge of our hotel - we also don't want to miss the ferry. It only runs until six o'clock. The unfortunate person who is not there in time is faced with a long journey: if you want to get to our village on the other bank via the road, you have to cover 45 kilometers ...



A little farewell talk with the smart and friendly manager of our accommodation - he comes from himachal pradesh in the himalayas and has obviously had a good education. (The owner family from the area lives in an extremely modest house, which also houses the restaurant kitchen, on the edge of the hotel complex.) The shanti guest house looks like the other established tourist villages - hotels, restaurants, shops, some residential buildings towards an uncertain future. The settlement is too close to the world heritage site and has to disappear according to a court order. The same applies to the bazaar, which is directly adjacent to the virupaksha temple. The dispute over the verdict has been going on for five years.

We deposit our luggage in the mango garden, a restaurant on the right bank of the river, which can be reached on a long, narrow path through a beautiful banana plantation. We still have more than half the day ahead of us, the train back to Bangalore doesn't leave until ten o'clock in the morning.

We actually want to walk to the vittala temple. But a rickshaw driver who speaks to us on the way finally convinces us to hire him for the day. He will take us to the places we want to see and drive us to hospet in the evening. For this “package” we set a price of 600 rupees (plus a hundred if we are “satisfied”) - the equivalent of around ten francs. The personable young man tells us that he rents his taxi during the four-month season. For the rest of the year, he takes on jobs that are currently available - for example in a factory. It's badly paid work - it comes to an average of 80 francs a month. He earns more with the rickshaw.

To get from the entrance to the center of the vittala temple complex, a two kilometer long, dusty path has to be covered. You have the choice: Either you walk or use an electric car for a few rupees. We choose the latter. The approximately ten people carts are (at least today) driven exclusively by young women. We do the same as our driver and protect our mouth and nose with a shawl.
The great hall of the vittala temple with its fantastic stone decorations is reminiscent of a greek temple. The temple complex is kept almost antiseptically clean; a great silence surrounds you - the atmosphere is very solemn. In front of the temple we admire the magnificent procession wagon carved out of stone - it is roughly the same size as the wooden cart on the village square of Anegundi.
We take a few steps towards Tungabadhra. A boy calls out to us from the shore. His coracle brings us, if we so wish, to the place in the river where 108 lingams (the divine phalli) have been carved out of a slab of rock. We would like to make the detour with the braided round boat, but there is not enough time for it.

Back with the cart to the entrance of the temple complex. Outside is the young book and ticket seller who I noticed the day before when we passed this place. He suffers from a spastic illness that makes him shake his upper body and arms non-stop. An expressive look emerges from his dark eyes; His voice, with which he constantly advertises his goods, is haunting. This time I buy a couple of postcards from him. His eyes shine even more. He also remembered me.

From the royal palace, our next station. All that remains is the foundation high as a house - a pyramid-shaped staircase. Like the vittala temple, this complex also reminds us of buildings from ancient greece.

We take the path to the matanga hills. The path up to the devi temple on the top of the first hill is veena and me too wild and steep - but not frank; he climbs lightly like a goat over the high stone steps. A large family, whose descent to us we are still undecided, confirms our assessment: even for you as a farmer, the journey is arduous and tiring.
We go back a little and climb the steps to a hill on which there is a stone gate and a small hanuman shrine are located. From the top of the mountain on the right, we hear Franks' voice talking to other visitors to the devi temple.Now the path continues, first around a slight curve to the left and then a slight curve to the right - and an epiphany occurs in front of our eyes: in a depression in front of us, the tiruvengalanata temple appears in the evening light like a fata morgana, surrounded by a rich one palm grove, which in turn is embedded in the primeval boulder rock landscape.
At the other end of the almost circular valley, a small four-pillar temple on the wreath of rocks reinforces the impression of a completely remote scenery. No visitor disturbs the peace and quiet (the two lively young English women who overtook us have disappeared somewhere in the fairytale city). I see the image of longing (which was already evoking the past at that time) realiter in front of me, which I had in mind more than forty years ago when, at the age of 18, I wanted to leave for India by hitchhiking (and then turned back in Frankfurt, where I met a friend). The temple city comes to life before my inner eyes: music is playing, paladins (I prefer to imagine courtiers as priests) in colorful clothes are preparing for a party, busy courtly life everywhere - I don't even dare to think of the temple dancers .... For a moment i put myself in the role of marco polo when he visited the kaiserhof in china: i, the stranger, slowly descend from the hill; my arrival is expected ... - i don't want to destroy the magic of the moment, we don't go down, we turn back - gifted with an indelible impression, as it were the crown jewels in the wreath of unforgettable memories that we take with us from hampi.

Again the twilight on the river, this time on the other bank, on one of the terraces of the fabulous restaurant Mango Tree.

Then the farewell: rapid rickshaw ride through the cool night to hospet. When leaving Hampi, where cars can be parked along the road, my eyes glanced at the license plate of a land rover - actually: a swiss (zh) license plate (!). (My earlier hitch-hiker-Adventure heart jumps happily.) As we approach the city, the fresh air gives way to the exhaust fumes from the cars, rickshaws and motorcycles clogging the streets. Breathing becomes painful, the bronchi burn.

Not only in Bangalore, but also on the platform in the Hospet train station, the howling, chasing dogs set the tone. A male tries to mount a female a few times in front of our eyes - a man in front of the drinks and newspaper kiosk tries to chase the strong male away.

The two middle-aged men with whom we share the sleeper compartment ask each other about their job and position. The younger one interrupts his work on his mac book. After a while the bald, fat older man turns to us. He knows it's in Switzerland ("A rich country") and it is currently cold on the east coast of the united states. He was lucky last January when he was in New York at the time; it was an unusually mild winter. We talk about the hour-long delay of the train - the train is delayed every day, “but you cannot rely on the delay always being the same”. How did we like it in hampi? He goes to hospet regularly, but he has only been to hampi twice, just for two hours during his long visit. Hampi is "blocked" for Indians; this is a place for foreigners: especially the french like to go there. He reacts in astonishment when I say that hampi is indescribably beautiful. The man asks us if we think the air pollution in hospet is extreme. We really think so and would like to know why the provincial city is so busy is. On the drive to the train station, we noticed a hotel glass palace with a huge chandelier glowing in the lobby. This hotel belongs to Janaddha Reddy, the fellow traveler explains; the man is sitting in jail. The story is known throughout India: Reddy and his brother are the infamous Bellary Brothers. In the Bellary Discrict, to which hospet (and hampi) belong, the two of them carried out large-scale illegal mining with the silent consent of a powerful politician. Bellary is rich in iron ore. “Our” husband works for a mining company.



From the cantonment railway station with an auto rickshaw through the early morning, gray, cold, still low-traffic streets back to the colorful apartment in veenas, where the first rays of sunshine show up after our arrival.

For the first time, tipanna takes notes from me and speaks to me. Veena has to translate: I'd better put on a sweater, it's windy. Later, tipanna is photographed by frank - at gowdre's suggestion, with her cell phone on her ear. He laughs and is a real person: someone who belongs. (Even veena doesn't know exactly: Tipanna, whose main occupation is cleaning sanitary facilities, is probably dalit - an "untouchable" one.)

On the way to the indian institute of management on bannergata road. In the part of this major road closer to the city, there is one stone slab store after the other. Large warehouse with granite and marble slabs. The need for this well must be enormous. Later, new, huge, glass-clad office buildings - metastases of electronics city. In between a full-grown slum: long rows of tiny, juxtaposed shacks with narrow streets in between. The traffic on bannergata road on this evening - the eve of republic day - resembles a monster that can only move slowly. Somewhere a pencil-thin, elongated policeman stands on the narrow central strip; what he hopes to achieve remains unclear.

Finally the campus of the indian institute of management. A few years ago the institute was surrounded by fields; today it is in the middle of the city. A consequence of indian politics, which relies everything on the development of the few metropolises instead of strengthening the economy of medium-sized cities - teaches us veena. The campus with its spacious, well-tended green spaces does not even differ in the details from comparable university campuses in the usa. The behavior of the people who meet with us does not reveal anything culture-specific either - except that little respect is shown to the discounts when it comes to getting a seat. We have come to malayika sarruki, the famous bharatanatyamdancer, see. It marks the beginning of this year yamini-festival, the big event of classical Indian music; the festival starts at sunset and ends at sunrise.
Malayika Sarruki convinces us more with her charismatic announcements, characterized by a passion for the indian cultural heritage and of course the bharatanatyam, than with her dance performance. This may not only be due to the rather restrained reaction of the audience; in order to properly appreciate the bharatanatyam dance, in which the movements of the feet and eyes play a major role, we would have to be closer to the stage. (We sit in the first row of chairs; the places in front of it on cloths on the floor seemed too uncomfortable to me; besides, Veena would have had a big back in front of her, depending on the situation.) The unusually cold wind that blows me from the side is also detrimental to full enjoyment blows at.

On the way back still the same tin molehole. For once, Gowdre switched on the heating instead of the air conditioning, which amused us all very much. At a red light we stand next to a car that - rocks. Four boys, one of them with his back to the windshield, rock wildly to hip-hop rhythms; they seem stoned or drunk. “Your parents have too much black money,” comments Gowrde. For him, all the problems and peculiar phenomena of the city are related to black money.



Sulochana has brought her daughter with her. Lakshmi is sitting on the sofa and is talking to Frank. (Apparently the English lessons at her school are good.) The bright, slightly plump 15-year-old is not shy of strangers. Veena considers paying lakshmi to attend high school.

The sound of popular songs comes out of a loudspeaker onto the terrace: republic day.

Before leaving for Calicut - he will spend three days in ammad's house - Frank explored shivaji nagar, the old bazaar district behind commercial street. The pictures he took show run-down streets and a canal full of stinking rubbish.

Our street is crammed with large boxes and stage lighting accessories; two vehicles belonging to a film crew obstruct the parking spaces above veena's apartment block. Spotlight shines from the traditional bungalow house opposite. A scene is being shot from the film, for which veena's friend mahesh wrote the script. We enter the courtyard, in which there is also a lot of equipment. It is impossible to tell which filmmakers and which are mere spectators. (Indian flimsets are not hermetically sealed.) Whatever the case, we don't notice anything from the shoot - the garden scene has already been shot; now im outhouse Filmed in the back garden, and we're not allowed in there. So we don't get to see soha ali chan and arshad warst, superstars of indian cinema. (We would have good relationships thanks to Mahesh, but we don't want to play them off - not least because of Veena's sudden laryngitis.)

On the stairs that lead to the underground car park, then the first cockroach I've seen since I set foot in the country. A fine white line runs across your back. (It should be the first and only one. And I'm not even sure if it was one.)

Before going to bed I mix us a hot toddy (whiskey and warm water).



An article with bitter facts on the indian economy and society by sankaran krishna (honolulu university) in the hindu saturday edition. On the human development index, india ranks 134th - as it was 30 years ago. And this despite the fact that the country had an average annual growth rate of 6% during this period. In the last place of all countries, India ranks in terms of malnutrition among children (44%!). The evil of the Indian misdevelopment can be localized in the Indian middle class, which is actually the ruling class - emerging from the upper caste - and monopolizing social means (such as education) and claiming it for itself in an unprecedented self-focus, writes Krishna.

Was it yesterday because of me and my somewhat ailing condition that we missed an event - dinner with radha and her brother-in-law and his wife, who are visiting from california, in the exclusive bangalore club (meeting place for better society) - we have to pass today because veena is in bed with a sore throat. The open air event on Friday apparently hurt her more than me; Worse for them than the cold wind was the smoke from the cauldrons that were scattered around the campus, in which herbs were burned to ward off mosquitoes.

Veena's friend Chalam wanted to show us some of his documentaries. He is currently cutting his new work over tribal people and returned to bangalore from coorg for one day.

Rajathi cooked chicken soup for us and brought it back. But Veena cannot eat, she has a high fever. Rajathi sets off again to get bread, water and - after consulting the doctor of both women - a medicine.

While veena is once again slumbering, rajathi and I eat the soup; rajathi then prepares a hot toddy for us according to her recipe: butter is dissolved in the hot water and a clove must not be missing. Lemon was actually part of it, but we ran out of lemons, just like bread and water. We come to the newspaper article by Sankaran Krishna. Rajathi has important additions to this: one concerns corruption, which has been rampant since independence - also in the time of nehru, as rajathi confirms my assumption. Some of the corrupt politicians have been convicted of crimes, but that does not prevent their re-election. The second addition: an “invisible” mafia network covers the country. The underworld is not tangible, but it is omnipresent: if something is built, the godparents have to be paid. And well-known film actors and other celebrities pay protection money. Rajathi believes that one can only love or hate India. There is nothing in between. (I contradict her.) She talks about her friend, a businessman of european origin who has spent a large part of his life in india since he was 18 years old. He lives in a village outside Bangalore and only comes to town when there is no other way.
Rajathi speaks with a soft voice that is very well-groomed, but a bit inarticulate for me.
Measure veenas temperature again. The fever is still worryingly high. Rajathi offers me that I can call her anytime I need help. I am infinitely grateful for that: I don't know what I could do in an emergency; There are no contact persons nearby.



Sharada is returning to her village at noon today. She started harvesting her ragi yesterday. Ragi (red sorghum) and rice are the daily food of the farmers in this part of karnataka. Sharada must cultivate her land alone; her husband suffers from asthma and field work increases his allergies. He takes care of the two cows and the goats.

Frank is pampered at ammad's house in kozhukkallur. Nevertheless, he plans to leave for tomorrow. It's not the lack of wi-fi that “forces” him, as we think, that he doesn't want to be a burden to ammad; ammad is focused on his guest and means that he has to look after him all the time. What his health doesn't actually allow.

Rajathi cancels her scheduled visit for the evening. Maybe she doesn't want to be infected (again). She was sick recently.



For three days we have been droned on by the major religious event on the edge of the hockey stadium. The posters show a preacher in a turban. The soft face does not look very charismatic. We are not sure whether the mixture of loud music and recitation or the squeaking courtship of the chipmunk is more on our minds.

It has now caught me too: I've been tormented by a biting cough since last night. There is something “going around”, said rajathi, who was in bed with the flu two weeks ago. “You get the full program in India,” says veena. (She learned the expression from me.) Veena had another bad night without a minute of sleep. But we are well taken care of. Gowdre brings us everything we need, and Sharada cooks excellent "patient food" (rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, sambar).

Sharada felt veena's temperature on her hand and forehead. The two - as members of different classes - grew up together; sharada's mother was already in the service of veena's family. Sharada did not learn to write or read. - Later, when I was lying on the bed, she touched my arm for a moment. Sharada likes to come over to us. She talks and laughs a lot. And I've heard her sing too. Before she leaves, she shakes hands with me; the gesture has become a fixed ritual. And I tell her how wonderful she always cooks for us. (In contrast to us, sharada's culinary art is less valued by veena's mother. Cooking for mummy is always associated with a bit of stress for sharada. Mummy has one "Feudal attitude"says veena. The food always has to correspond exactly to your rigid ideas.)

Veena is in the bathroom, and so Sharada speaks to her through the closed door. She wipes dust from the strips that adorn the wardrobe with her finger; she wipes her finger on her saree.

Veena's cousin varun, a doctor, has announced his visit for this evening. He is in town for a further training event; he leads a course in telemedicine. He will have to make do with vijender alone, we cannot join them.

Infections in the tropics were severe, says Veena. She thinks of the “brave” young british men who died of fever by the thousands in india. We come to the background of colonialism. The greed. Eldorado. And the monetary needs of european royal houses to wage wars. The buddha would cry if he knew it, says veena.

Sharada has come again to prepare the fish that Gowdre bought for us, ready to cook. She asks about the level of my fever. We have traveled too much, she says. (Veena translated for me.) I agree with her and add: Now we're going to travel in here and make a corresponding gesture. She laughs.

Rajathi calls. She has pharyngitis and is back on antibiotics. She works hard anyway. Hard material from which the (delicate ...) bangalorians are made.

Usha says (over the phone) that the doctor should have examined the blood during veena's visit yesterday.

Varun advised veena over the phone and sent milk chocolate: According to the doctor, slowly dissolving two tablets in your mouth helps in a similar way to cough syrup. Veena confirms the effect.



Ants in the pants: When I lay on the bed in long trousers, exhausted from coughing shortly before noon, something bites my back of the knee: ants? I treat the three or four blisters with anti-sting balm. Never a dull moment in the tropics, as veena says.

Sharada says that everyone in the world feels pain in their bodies. The cold wind - pichigaali - and the hot sun are to blame. The children in their village have caught cold in rows.

And again (or still) nothing with socializing: Chalam invites us to one get together a: Parul, founder of a women's rights organization, is celebrating her birthday.

A bucket bath helps me almost to old freshness. Bathing using a large and a small bucket is one of the wonderful Indian inventions.

Shirin sends a text message that her grandmother is dying. She is in the intensive care unit. She is so dehydrated that the infusion must be via the cervical vein.



Sulochana returns after a day's absence to clean the house. She works even though she suffers from a cough and therefore could not sleep at night.

Pichigaali blows stronger every day. Due to the “crazy” wind, the air is even more enriched with cement dust than usual. The pollution stems from the constant, omnipresent construction activity in richmond town.

Usha and angie would like to take us to the century club. Unfortunately we have to cancel: We cannot (yet) leave the house. Shortly before, radha wanted to invite us to dinner again. (This time in your house; it would have been the last opportunity to get to know the brother-in-law from California.)



At the sita bhateja specialty hospital, dr. anindita veena and me at the same time. We sit next to each other in front of your desk. She examines veena first, then me. Fast, focused on the essentials. Without thinking twice, she diagnoses, prescribes. The assistant is with you throughout the consultation, taking your blood pressure and fever. The bites - not rashes, as we had meant - on my arms and legs give her more to think about than my cough, says anindita. The sindhi, in her mid-forties, would fit in well with veena's circle of friends (she and rajathi are actually better known): the way she speaks (tonality, coloring of English), how she looks, her gestures - in short: her entire habitus. And when she says - which of course is nothing but good English: "I want you to take this" (antibiotics) ... "And I want you to take that" (skin cream), it sounds similar to when veena speaks with gowdre or sharada ... but I put the comprehensive blood test (malaria, dengue, typhus) on hold; after all, I'm free of fever. - Anindita smiles as you say goodbye, the way you smile when you say goodbye to good friends.

Gowdre drives us back to new street - it's only a few hundred meters ... At the beginning of the street the queue of yellow school buses is waiting for the international wisdom school to finally end ... Some of them are real fossils. Only buses run on old vehicles on the streets of Bangalore: urban and flat ones school buses.

Happy birthday, sergeant (sergeant)! Mrs john on the lower floor is celebrating her birthday. She says goodbye to the friends from her church circle who came to visit and sang with her, so loudly in the stairwell that one could think that the war had broken out or that a big argument was going on. Mrs john is the house dragon.

"Paapa", says sharada - poor guy. She shares in my condition as a bedridden sick person. Sharada is one chatter box: She sits on the floor between me and veena, babbling to herself. She always thinks of something. Mostly it has to do with eating and cooking.

The sadhu continues to entertain the crowds on the square next to the hockey stadium loudly over loudspeakers. He tells and interprets the story of Krishna. New every day. Until Monday, I hear. The roar of the chants accompanying the sermons, underpinned by heavy bass, penetrates our terrace until late in the evening.

After the tremors caused by the rape case in delhi, the waves of excitement in the country are rising again. The world-renowned sociologist and advocate of the underprivileged ashis nandy made the remark at the literature festival in jaipur that under sc(scheduled casts) and st (scheduled tribes) - castes and tribal communities enjoying special protection - corruption is the most widespread. He embedded this statement in a larger version: Since the rules of the middle class are made exclusively for them, the corruption of the underprivileged is a means of subversion and creative resistance. - Several public prosecutors want to open proceedings against the scientist. SC and ST members feel their dignity has been hurt. The supreme court has also been involved.



The winter wind plays wildly in the green and silver leaves, twigs and branches. A nice morning.

Again there is a report on a gang rape, this time in Bangalore: three young men raped a 19-year-old near a train station.

Major cleaning campaign: It is not clear where my bites come from. The bedroom is turned upside down. Gowdre carries all the mattresses out onto the terrace and spreads them out in the sun. He knocks the fifty-year-old's dust out of the mattresses with a wooden slat: the clouds escape from the coconut fiber mats like a small sandstorm. The room is vacuumed thoroughly - including the curtains and window frames - everything that can be washed is washed. Gowdre later installs a mosquito net over the living room sofa, which is supposed to serve as a ground floor bed. Once more he proves his abilities as a friday, as a man for everything. It's nice to watch him: he goes about his work deliberately, works solidly; no wonder, veena feels less safe on Sundays when he is not available.

Gowdre jokes - I stretched out on the freshly made bed - that now, after the mattresses had been pumped up by the sun, I'd be higher. We both laugh.



Sunny sunday morning: There is a sunday mood without being able to say exactly what is causing this mood. It is sunday, just as it is suddenly spring. You want to dream into the shining day and listen to music. shit only that amy winehouse's (belfort, eurockéennes 2007) concert on you tube is constantly interrupted, so that after half an hour I give up in exasperation.

Today I feel better, I feel new energy and can concentrate again enough that I can write a diary (missing part Hampi).

Shirin calls. Your grandmother has been released from intensive care. Shirin says she “owes” us a parsi meal; but first they and nauzer would like to take us out.

Along with other goodies, Sharada gave us a wonderful one rasam brought - a kind of sauce or soup drink made from dal, tomatoes, tamarind, coriander and spices. She usually cooks seven days a week. Whenever she takes a few days off to cultivate her fields, the food for vijender has to be brought from a hotel.



Even before the muezzin calls at five in the morning, my night's sleep is over. It starts on the testicles and then spreads down the legs: that must be dozens of stitches. I spent the previous night in the living room and - in contrast to the nights before that, which I spent in the bedroom - stayed undisturbed. Now I don't want to change my bed and control the "plague" - dust mites, tiny ants or the devil knows what - with me. I persevere and let myself be tapped, someday tomorrow will redeem me. - When I get up, my legs are covered with small and large spots. Veena is on the verge of despair: what can she do, is there a solution (inside or outside the house), does she have to buy a new bed?

Dr. anindita welcomes us like old friends. She takes plenty of time for us, more than is necessary. She recommends consulting a specialist for my skin problem. It looks more like an allergy than a bite.

The carpenter ordered by Veena comes over and looks at the work to be carried out: a small shack door on the terrace that needs to be replaced, a broken chair back and the crack in the back of the bench. Craftsmen seem to be similar everywhere: our man carries a plaid shirt and a cap. His face is adorned with a short, full beard. Veena, Gowdre and the carpenter stand together and discuss what is necessary. Of course, I don't understand anything - and yet I listen mesmerized: the way the carpenter speaks, it sounds strange in my ears. The sounds he needs seem softer. And yes: his face doesn't look South Indian either, but almost European. In fact, for the first time (as I will find out later), for the first time I am listening to a conversation being focused on urdu - the language of the north. (I was pretty sure that it couldn't be kannada, but also not hindi - I already have the latter in my ears a bit.)
I have the word metal plate snapped. Now I'm curious to see how the carpenter will repair the crack in the back of the bench. Frank and I wanted to do the repair ourselves - using a piece of metal ... but Gowdre didn't want to get the material. (He pretended it was too time-consuming to look for it.) Non-tradespeople can't do that, he must have thought. Or else: the social order does not allow the upper castes - to which europeans automatically belong - to lend a hand themselves. (Veena shares my opinion.)

The bengaluru allergy centr is - in contrast to the high-tech sita bhateja specialty hospital - down to earth. The house at the end of a side street is inconspicuous. It is very easy to overlook the fact that there is even a clinic here. A short, unkempt path leads past the dust-covered terrace of a ground floor apartment to a narrow outside staircase. Once at the top, you take off your shoes, just like at the entrance of a temple. A good dozen traces (strangely enough, no one has used the shabby storage rack) tells us that the clinic has not been specially waiting for us. In fact, the dingy reception and waiting room is full of patients. The first to attract my attention is a young man whose asthmatic cough doesn't even let the poor man rest for ten seconds. A young woman, dude movie star, holds on to your scooter or motorcycle helmet. A few pairs also occupy the old chairs. Everyone waits silently for their turn. We look at each other inconspicuously. What do you think of me (in my shorts), of us (a mixed couple)? (I encounter the hidden, curious, non-revealing looks every day.) For my part, I try not to appear curious. So look out the door more often, which allows a view of a busy street. In between, I also examine the reception desk: an extremely modest, small old wooden table on which the patient files are stacked next to an ancient computer. The receptionist, who doesn’t change her expression, writes on the cardboard cases in which she puts the dossiers. In addition to debt collection, your other tasks also include weighing patients. This takes place in an indefinable space at the end of an L-shaped corridor. While she weighs me and measures my height, she doesn't smile a single time. Maybe she just can't (which is rare in India). A very old (or very old-looking) man also seems to have a function - as an additional assistant or as a supervisor. I suspect he's the doctor's father. Two practice assistants, clearly identifiable as such, rush through the waiting room every now and then. We are the last in line. (Because no one came, I think the doctor can take a coffee break after us; but before we are called into the examination room, the waiting room begins to fill up again.)
Dr. nagendra prasad welcomes us in a windowless room, dimly lit by a neon tube; a little daylight comes in through the door, in the upper part of which there is a window pane. Dr. nagendra has the appearance of an indian gentleman. He is very polite, gentle and patient. After a first look, he explains to us why my “stitches” and stains must clearly be an allergic reaction. He examines my skin, my eyes, my nose and my mouth with a strong, tubular lamp that he has hung around his neck. He then takes the anamnesis, asks me whether there are allergies in my family and what my own history is like. With a magnifying glass, he takes a closer look at two or three spots. When he has made his own picture, he sees his main task in calming us down. He prescribes me medication (we'll take the pills with us later from the clinic in a newsprint packet), but he assures us that the symptoms, even if the cause (dust mites, the consumption of fish, antibiotics or a combination of all of these) ) is not clear, will soon disappear and certainly not panic is appropriate. (It is possible that this comment is addressed specifically to veena.)
Dr. nagandra took a lot of time for us. I thank him warmly; veena also mentions that she came across him through the ramakrishna mission. (The monks of the mission also visit the center.) Dr. nagandra says goodbye by placing his right hand on his heart - a very nice gesture. By the way, on the outside door of the clinic there is a notice that the clinic, to which a foundation belongs, is about to move. It is quite possible that the new bangalore allergic centr looks like the sita bhateja specialty hospital: ultra modern.

Today sharada took a day off and aruna prepared the dinner: (chinese-indian) fried rice, a memorable meal. The basis of this culinary delight is the fine-grained jeerga samba rice. The green of spring onions, grated chow chow (a vegetable that is slightly reminiscent of kohlrabi) and carrots make this rice dish fried in soy sauce extremely tasty.

Alisha apa invites veena and me to visit her horse ranch. Your son is a breeder and takes part in competitions.



So you can still see them - all around the city market: carts and handcarts pulled by cows or horses.

Veena is out of the house shopping. Sharada and Aruna bring dinner. I'm sitting bare-chested in front of the computer when you step into the room. The two women gather in front of my table and dig out all the English chunks they have at their disposal. Aruna promotes a visit to the ashram, where she spends most of the time with mummy. She tells of the flowers in the park: they only exist there; in front of the house where the two women live there are no flowers because the seeds are eaten by the birds. Ashram, the palm trees are very beautiful. "Come, sir", says aruna. For her part, Sharada reminds me that I promised you to visit the village and your home. - Now the two talk to each other for a long time without including me. Apparently the point is that when I visit Sharada's village, I also pay a visit to Aruna's home village - which is quite a distance away, however. "Come, sir", aruna repeats her request from before, but this time refers to her own house.

An unusual sunset: orange and pink clouds make the sky a European one ... It looks exactly the way I often see it from my apartment in Basel. It is as if I should be prepared for the change of continent that is soon to come.

In the last twilight a clan of bats organized a "flight show" over our terrace. Some of the crow-sized "kites" only fly a few meters above our heads. Veena prefers to go inside.



Berlie street is the most well-kept street in richmond town: clean and green. In the morning mood, it almost looks like a painting. This is where the SKE gallery is located. It is housed in an old bangalore bungalow which is painted white throughout and is surrounded by a beautiful garden. Four works by Sakshi Gupta are currently being shown in four rooms - sculptures whose quality immediately catches the eye. They belong to the series “become the wind” and make one think of threats, dark (in our dealings with nature?) Lurking dangers.

The charming old district of Sidapura is located on the southeast side of Lalbagh Park. Immigrants from the countryside have settled here.It is the quarter of the nurseries, large nurseries that seem to get lost in a shady green labyrinth. Veena buys a sack in a shop next to a temple pool coco peat - a mixture of coconut fiber and compost.

The gandhi bazaar, which we visit next, beguiles me, who am in the right mood for it, with the most beautiful colors. On carts and stands along the mahogany tree-lined avenue Fruits, various vegetables and garlands of flowers light up in honor of the creator of the rainbow.
While veena and i check out a couple of stores, gowdre gets jackfruit for me. (I just mentioned in passing that I would like to eat my favorite fruit again.) He is happy about the successful surprise when he hands me the plastic bag. (I had been told it was not season now.)

While we are eating, sharada sits at our feet and ponders. You have to live and die somewhere, she says. Wouldn't I like to settle down here where I would be taken care of? At home I certainly wouldn't have anything right to eat because I was alone - probably just soup. She can be described by veena my apartment. Her veena also says that there are good things to eat in my country, such as cheese and bread, fish and meat.

Go to the cinema? Midnight’s Children, see the film adaptation of Salman Rushdie's novel? Somehow not really up for it. At the moment I'm completely set to "live".

Gowdre is thrilled: we have decided to go to the country tomorrow and attend Mummy's ashram school. The trip is a welcome change for him. And he likes to drive. Tell me about driving fast; he shines like a little boy. He laughs and bares his protruding teeth.

Veena picks up my new trousers from the flatterer who carries out customer orders on a mobile ironing table in our street - we got them yesterday from the tailor.