Friday, September 4, 2015

Campus life…..

On Wednesday and Thursday, Michael spent a lot of time at the University and I spent an equal amount of time working on accounting stuff. One thing that I really LOVE about my business is that I can work from anywhere!! I will admit that I am dying to get out into the neighborhood but we still don’t have our cell phone SIM cards and I don’t want to go out without the ability to call for help if I need it. But since I had work to do, maybe this was a good thing!!

When we have traveled, we have loved to listen to the sounds of the morning, the sounds of a country waking up and getting started with their day. India is no different although the sounds that we are hearing at the guest house probably differ somewhat from those in the city itself. One of the first sounds is the cooing of the pigeons that have roosted on EVERY available railing around the complex. It almost sounds like a locust swarm as it starts quietly and then swells to a crescendo before diminishing to a quiet hum.

The next sound was a bit hard to isolate but we finally figured it out. Our apartment is on the second floor (although here it is called the first floor) and there is a parking deck below us. Just outside of one of our windows, there is a large “plastic” roof over part of the garage. The sound that we hear is the plopping of bird poop as the pigeons go thru their morning ablutions!!!! In the late afternoon we hear tiny plinks on this roof as the birds eat seeds and drop little bits over the edge.

One of the next sounds are the footfalls of the guards as they meet for their morning convocation.

Then come sweeping sounds as the workers start cleaning all of the walkways, sidewalks and flower beds.

Finally, the shuttle bus starts up at 7:00 to make the first trip to the main campus. At this point, we are FULLY awake!!!

As the morning goes on, there are also some bird calls that I can’t quite figure out and eventually you can hear the street vendors walking down the closest street, calling out their wares.

We have sort of settled into a pattern where Michael takes the 8:30 or 9:30 shuttle to the campus and I follow on the 12:30 shuttle, arriving just in time for lunch….see what I did there???

After eating and spending a bit of time on campus, I return to the apartment by the 3:00 pm shuttle. Michael returns once he has finished teaching his class or meeting with colleagues.

On Thursday, during my time on the NCBS campus, I decided to make a photographic tour of the area and, in particular, the flora of the area.

I first was drawn to a HUGE tree called a Gulmohar.  According to Nupur (my authority on all things Indian), it is a very iconic tree..…IMG_1845DSC05356 It was covered in gorgeous red/orange flowers. I found one that was close to the ground and spent the next 20 minutes studying and photographing it. The flowers are gorgeous…..

…..and seem to gracefully unfold…..

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I also loved the symmetry of the inflorescence (group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches)…..IMG_1849

I would have loved to photograph one of the flowers that was fully open, but alas, they were all at the top of the tree.

Much time was spent playing with the camera until I got an excellent shot of this Acacia type of tree flower……

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And basically did the same thing with this one…..IMG_1832

These “balls” were interesting…..IMG_1898

…..but even more so when I saw the flowers that the start from…..IMG_1892

The bark on this tree appears to be covered with chocolate chips…..IMG_1899

 

The NCBS campus itself is beautiful and very well maintained. These two women are weeding a gargantuan field and were amazing to watch as they used a small fork to pull the weeds. Their hands were moving so fast….

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I would probably end up poking myself in the hand or foot if I tried it.

There are guards at almost every turn and although they are there to protect the area, they are VERY nice and helpful……IMG_1902

Fortunately, I haven’t had a reason to find out what the stick is for!!!!

The campus has several housing complexes, a nursery (crèche) for the children, a gym and swimming pool and several cafeterias and eating areas. On that note, I have to give you the latest food update.

Most importantly, we have not had any food that we have disliked!!! Yesterday the cafeteria had a special line for “South Indian” food which is known to be quite a bit spicier. Needless to say, Michael and I ate it up….literally.

One of my favorites was a dish containing green beans, chick peas, onions, grated ginger, grated coconut and a VERY spicy pod of some sort. It was served slightly warm and was super spicy.DSC05353

 

I immediately sent the picture to my friend Nupur who wrote back and gave me this explanation…..

“I definitely know what that is- Beans Thoran! A simple everyday stir fry. Typically made with greens beans alone, or green beans with carrot, but just like everyday dishes where cooks make variations, the version you ate had chickpeas, making it hearty and protein rich. 

Here's a recipe from a blogger I know:

http://www.cookingandme.com/2008/01/republic-day-special-dish-beans-carrot.html

Very easy to make!”

 

I can’t wait to try making it when I get home….any of you want to come for dinner???

We were told that South Indian food typically use a lot of rice or other bread type fillers. I couldn’t resist trying this brown “ball” which I have now been told is called “ragi muddle”.  Ragi is finger millet…..DSC05354

I found it to be rather doughy and I wasn’t that excited with it at first. However, when I used it to dip up some of the sauces, it proved to be the perfect backdrop to the spicy flavors.

Before I left the campus, I had to sneak up to Michael’s office and take a photo….

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While I was waiting for the bus, I had to photograph yet one more flower…..

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….aren’t the colors and shapes enthralling!!!  

Of course, now I am thinking of a series of small square quilts, each with a 3-D rendition of one of the flowers….what do you think????

3 comments:

Sylvia said...

Some of that flora is a bit suggestive-looking... Apparently I need to get my mind out of the gutter.

Nupur said...

The tree with the flamboyant red-orange flowers is "Gulmohar" a very iconic tree in India.

And the brown ball is "ragi mudde" ragi is finger millet, a starchy grain but also rich in iron. You're getting to eat very home style food, it would be hard to find these dishes even in South Indian restaurants in the States.

Love your posts :)

Karen S said...

I have been enjoying reading about your adventures away and all that you have seen and done. Loving all the photos, too. You really have had a fun time with the food and have met so many lovely people. The plants and flowers are very interesting. Is the last one in this post a Bird of Paradise? Maybe it has a different name there.
I can see you brain ticking over with quilt ideas!!

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