I went expecting the worse...Truth is, I have been to these parts of the world before and eerr...its not quite my kind of things I would say. I was in fact, quite reluctant to go ...and, Adik, naturally sided with me. ( hehe...I am always a big influence to my kids, good or bad). Abah had to resort to some persuasive methods to make us agreed to go .
And then, Adik said, if we were going, she wanted the Indian train experience....and I dreaded it more!! I read and read and read on Indian train over the net...And since I have had a preconceived idea about it, my mind played tricks on me and I saw only bad things!!!
We touched down at Bengaluru airport and Adik was excited to find a man holding a board saying, ''Welcome Dr S and family....'' haha!! The airport was as good as ours and when we stepped out, the temperature was a nice 23C.I was like, 'oookay... this is nice'. Then, we hopped on the waiting car and listened to Abah chatting amicably with Mr Tajee. We wondered at how Abah could possibly understood him...Yes, he was speaking English , but we could only decipher less than 30 percent of what he was saying!!
A few minutes into the journey, as we were nearing the Bangalore town proper, we, or rather, I, had the scare of my life!! Needless to say, the rest of the journey was spent with closed eyes and constant prayer!! Driving on Indian roads are certainly not for the frail-hearted!! And oh, sounding horn IS a way of life here and a horn sound could mean lots of things here...
|you are a rude driver if you dont honk.....|
We were taken to dinner at a hotel en route to the guesthouse, which turned out to be a newly and tastefully decorated serviced apartment and we were the first to use it...As for the dinner, it was awesome.
|post-meal,they always give a bowl of warm water with a piece of lime for hand-washing n some spices combination for breath freshener|
|fancy pan cone wrapped in edible silver paper|
The two 'servants' in the guesthouse wouldnt even let me put my drinking glass in the sink! By this time, I have started to like it here....And adik said,"Mama, its not bad at all..." in an accusing tone!
|high-quality linen with low-low price!!|
|Adik choosing materials for her salwar kameez|
Evening came and off we went to the ''dreaded'' train station....but lo and behold! It was so clean that people actually sit in the open arena in small groups having a picnic while waiting for their trains. And no offensive smell whatsoever. The train was on time and we soon settled into our AC sleeper carriage. Again I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was so comfortable...Thick fluffy blankets, pillows and crisp white linen were handed in brown packets,freshly laundered. The journey from Bangalore to Belgaum where the university we were heading to located, took 12 hours. Adik said she felt like sleeping in a buai and was lullabied to sleep immediately and drawing the curtain, I soon followed suit. Abah woke us up for Fajr prayer and again I was so relieved to see that the latrine was actually clean with no foul smell emitting at all. I had actually restrained myself earlier to avoid visiting it. All in all, I would say, Indian train beat ours.
Concerned friends have reminded us not to eat from street vendors and the likes, but we are a bunch of happy people by the time morning came and the sellers came aboard crying "garam chai, idlii,vada,pakora....!!"
|a standard breakfast fare of 1 idlii + 1 vada|
|the bowls holding pakoras n sambar made from dried leaves...|
Around 9 in the morning we reached Belgaum and after disposing our things at the dean's residence, we were chauffeured to another round of shopping spree. Everything was cheap, cheap, cheap....We even made a suit of a salwar kameez each and the tailor charged us less than RM10 for one suit!!
The next day, Abah started working and as the good Prof left for Malaysia during the night, we have the house to ourselves. Waited upon by not one but three servants!!(they actually made us uncomfortable with their self-imposed inferior behaviour). Read here. Adik and Mama took looong walk every morning to burn out those calories from all those lovely foods we consumed.
Abah walked to the office too despite having the driver. The campus is nice, with lots of old shady trees and very clean.
We also walked to the alleys of small shops and bought veges sold at the roadsides.It was like in the old 60s Malay movies. They still use the old scales to weigh stuff.
And of course we did not miss the chance to experience the auto riding.
|Adik enjoyed the ride, not me though..its too dusty n scary!!|
Everyone in the university was very nice to us. The honourable director himself came to see us and took the trouble to make sure our stay was thoroughly enjoyable.He insisted that we took a guided tour to the historical Goa.
|Inside Goan Museum|
|@ the Goan beach with Dr Reshma|
The two tourist guides were none other than the lovely Dr Vidhya and Dr Reshma. I gained lots of knowledge talking to them.And they spoiled Adik with attention and gifts!!
We are glad we went....Alhamdulillah. We asked from Allah and He made everything easy and nice for us. We were spared from bad experience others have had.
If there is any regret at all, it is due to the fact that Abang couldnt be with us. But never mind Abang, InsyaAllah, you will be travelling the world as a dai'é of Allah very soon.
In his quest to be fair to both of you, all the expenses spent on Adik for any holidays, Abah would put the same amount in Abang's account.
So, at the moment, Adik maybe richer in experience than you Abang....but you are richer in RM!!