Saturday, October 14, 2006

So begins the year

The picture below is the view of Bangalore from the roof of my office building. The large palace-looking building on the left is the Vidhana Soudha, home to Karnataka's legislature. Built in neo-Dravidian style, the Vidhana Soudha has been the largest legislative building in India since it was constructed in 1956. The taller buildings in the background don't have quite as much history behind them--they're still being built.

The reason I climbed on our roof to take this picture is because our website has wonderful skyline images of Chicago and Miami, but nothing for Bangalore (see for yourself at And now you can see why. This photo captures the closest thing Bangalore has to a skyline. For a city of over 6 million people, Bangalore is amazingly short in the tall-building department.

What the city is not short on is trees. They're everywhere. If this picture were taken from a slightly higher vantage point, the city would look more like a thick canopy of green foliage with rooftops peeking through here and there. There are so many trees that the city seems to have given up keeping power lines safely distant and has instead taken the rather novel approach of actually hanging power lines from limbs and attaching junction boxes to trunks. And yet people wonder why there are power outages so frequently in Bangalore.

And it's on account of the dense mixing of trees and buildings that my landlady gave me the following note, and in so doing, gave me a peek of how different this next year of my life is going to be:

"Please keep the window closed when not in the living room. One never knows, suddenly a monkey comes."


And my power just went out. My lights are now only dimly lit by the backup generator I can hear whirring outside. And that, my friends, means it's time for me to go get dinner.