Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Schools for autistic kids in Bangalore

Recently, I have had a couple of requests from readers of this blog for info regarding schools for autistic kids in Bangalore. This is such a co-incidence mostly because for the past few months, I have had an opportunity to meet and interact with a few autistic kids, and the experience has been quite touching, to say the least!

So, when I got the request for special schools, I set out on this task of finding the most recommended school for special kids, here in Bangalore. I discovered that Academy for Severe Handicap and Autism or ASHA for short, comes with very good recommendation. One of the special education teachers that I know speaks very highly of this school and its founder, Ms. Jayashree Ramesh. And when I spoke with KPAMRC*, they too recommended ASHA highly.

1) Academy for Severe Handicap and Autism (ASHA)
L-76/A, (Opposite to L-50) Kirloskar colony,
HBCS 3rd Stage, 4th Block, Basaveswarnagar,
Bangalore - 560079

Phone: +91 80 23225279 / 23230357
Fax: +91 80 22258103

On talking to the nice people at ASHA, I have 2 more special schools for autistic kids, recommended by the people at ASHA.

2) Sunshine Autism Trust
280, 6th Cross, Domlur Layout,
Bangalore - 560071

Phone: +91 80 65360892

3) Apoorva Centre for Autism
c/o Lions Club of Sarakki,
21st main, 1st cross, Marenahalli,
J P Nagar Phase-2,
Bangalore - 560078

Phone: +91 80 65710445 / 9243195154 / 9845076140

If any of you know of other good special schools, please email me or leave info in the comments section and I will add it to this post. I do not want to add schools that I get off of the Internet to this list. If you have a personal recommendation, that will be wonderful. Thanks!

* KPAMRC (Karnataka Parents’ Association for Mentally Retarded Citizens)
Phone: + 91 80 26564608

Thursday, May 24, 2007

R2I - Together time

Since R2Iing, my husband and I have been able to get some time to ourselves, here in Bangalore. In the US, after the arrival of our second one, we hardly got any time for ourselves. It was one chore after another. I had my hands way too full. And I didn't feel comfortable hiring baby sitters for the kids just so that hub and I could step out. That meant that we had to take the kids along wherever we went, and can you imagine the torment that was for the two of us and the kids! Sigh! It was alright when it was just one child, we did manage to get away on road trips, and even on a cruise once. But, with the second one coming into the household, it was almost impossible for the two of us to actually have time for ourselves. If the kids were older, I am sure any of our wonderful bay area neighbors would have been glad to keep the kids for a while when we stepped out. But, the kids were young and we were really not sure if they would have been on their own with anybody else. But here, things are quite different. Since we have my parents near by, and since they are ever so willing to watch the kids, it is so easy to get a little 'together time'. A dinner or a drive or even a movie together! Especially a dinner, it was such a joke trying to step out with the 2 young'uns. It was so much of work to get the kids fed, that we would hardly even be left with an appetite.

Yesterday, for instance, I decided to go, meet my husband at the end of his work day. His office is half way across town. Given that we have a driver now, (I had mentioned here about hiring one) I did not have to worry about getting to the place in peak traffic. Mid-way, it began to rain. And boy, what a downpour that was!? Nothing was even visible and the roads were almost flooded. See pic below to get an idea.
But, I had no worry in the world. The kids were home with my parents and the wheel was in the driver's hands. All I had to do was sit back and enjoy the rains! Such carefree joy! And then, when I met my hub, we went out to this nice Italian place that my husband has been insisting on taking me to. This restaurant, 'Little Italy', was really nice. And through the entire dinner, I was neither worried nor feeling obligated about the kids being with my parents! Here's a pic of the dessert, only because it was lovely!
Brownie, Vanilla ice cream, with sizzling hot chocolate sauce. Who knew brownie was available in India?!

It is also this same 'together time' that we enjoyed in the initial years of our marriage in Calif .... that which I will always cherish. Those were some of the best years of our lives, with travels, on-the-spur-of-the-moment road trips, drives, movies, dinners etc., and to get some of that back is wonderful! Yes, the traffic is crazy, the place ... noisy, and yes the roads have tons of potholes, but if you do get a little time to yourselves with a dash of romance, the rest shouldn't matter too much. ;) What say?

PS: To my readers who are looking for core R2I info, those posts are coming as well! :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


While in the US, hubby and I liked certain brands and one of the brands that we preferred for him was the 'Timberland', especially their shoes for guys. So, he has a few pairs of those. These are primarily designed for the outdoors. He has this particular pair that is quite rugged and cool-looking and he prefers wearing these with his jeans, even to work sometimes.

Now, here in Bangalore, he has this American colleague at work. And sometime last week when that colleague noticed this pair of shoes, with a smile, he asked my hub, "You expecting snow anytime soon?". And the outside temps were in the warm 90s (Fahrenheit) !

When he mentioned it to me, well, we had a hearty laugh ...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The disappointment

Indian politics has been a source of distress for a very long time. We see a few moments of spark at times, and then these sparks die just like the fireflies. I am not thrilled blogging about this, because it is very disheartening.

From the late 1989 - mid 1991 and from mid 1996 - early 1998, when we had multiple Prime Ministers for short durations, I felt very unsettled and disappointed. I was just a teenager during the 89-91 phase, and kind of felt like nobody cared about the masses. It was clear that people came to power for their own selfish reasons. Anyway, then there was some "stability" from 1991 - 1996. And then again we went through a few Prime Ministers over a course of 2 years from 1996 -1998. There was wastage of national money and to think that the very people who were not responsible for their actions and were indulging in 'by-the-minute' coalitions also had the power in their hands was pretty scary! The lack of accountability and the nonchalance were glaring. Now, all of this instability happened right around the time of my cross-over from adolescence to adulthood, and looking back I can see how that phase has a big influence on our perspective of the world around us. The political instability brought about a basic distrust. I had become quite cynical and indifference seemed like the only way out. I was happy to get out of the country, happy to go away to far away America.

While in the US, I was content to just keep track of the happenings in India from a distance. And over a period of time we got involved with the events in the US. We discussed and analysed the political scenario there - Clinton's 2nd term, Bush vs Gore, Gray Davis vs Arnold Schwarzenegger, Iraq war, the varied allegations against Karl Rowe etc. It was an involvement from my head (and not from my heart) and some of the emotions that I experienced were intrigue, anger, sarcastic awe (!) etc. Interestingly, I never 'felt' like how I did while in India; betrayed or cheated or anything as basic as that. Mostly because, as Indians, I don't think we can ever get affected by politics anywhere else as much as we do here. It is just the sense of belonging showing up, I guess.

Since R2Iing, a lot of things have been going on here in Indian politics. And with the recent forced resignation of Dayanidhi Maran over a family feud, the Prime Minister having no say at all in the matter and being at the receiving end of the coalition forces' whims, the feeling of disappointment is returning. (As an aside, it is funny to see how President Kalam is all for the 2-party system, and in the US, people want more choices and not be left with just the republicans and the democrats.) Slowly, I can see that all those feelings that I left behind are creeping back in. At the end of the day, I can sense the same cynicism, and the same indifference. Sad, but true. Sad, because personally I think indifference is the most harmful. Somehow, the years away in the US had helped keep the earlier negative feelings away. I am discovering that the feelings are right there, around the corner, waiting to peep out and give a grand show, at the behest of those in power.

PS: These 3 paragraphs have been quite hard to work on. I know a couple of you were wondering why I hadn't posted anything. From the time the 'Maran' issue cropped up, I have been working on this post!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Flying domestic in des

It was ages since I had been to Bangalore's domestic airport. Recently, we had to make a quick trip out of Bangalore and chose to fly. I was pleasantly surprised to see a whole different airport than what I remember of it from the 90s, when I had been there last. The whole airport was quite clean and fairly organised. Now, we went on a Wednesday afternoon when it is least likely to be crowded, so I have no idea how it is on weekends and other peak hours. I have heard people liken it to local bus-stands!!

Now a days, there are many airlines competing to ferry the masses within India. There's Air Deccan, Kingfisher, GoAir, Jet Airways. Some of these operate very cheap, like the SouthWest airlines in the US. So, a lot of people are able to afford and travel by air. Not to forget, a lot of people make a decent dough to afford it too. All of this, a good thing. I got this pic on the right in a forwarded email from a friend and couldn't believe the billboard competition in the sky, literally. Just goes to show how much of a market there is for flying here.
Image Courtesy: Forwarded Email

After getting off of the taxi, this is the domestic terminal we came to.
The waiting lounges all along the gates. This was more than sufficient on a Wednesday afternoon, but I really wondered how it would be on a Fri evening or Sat morning, especially because of the comparison of the airport to a bus-stand.
The air conditioning worked moderately, so the temps were on the warmer side. I prefer it that way, than see tons of energy being spent to keep everybody cold when it is quite hot outside.

A small shop for snacks. It has definitely lost the look of the old government-type coffee shops.
Unfortunately, I didn't use the restrooms to see how they were. After all, in an Indian government setup, I think, the restrooms say it all. :)

The view from the waiting lounge.
The waiting 'Kingfishers'. Kingfisher is not a low-cost airline and chooses to keep it quite nice for its customers. We flew Kingfisher and were impressed with their timing, service, and their overall working ability. The insides of the Kingfishers are pretty good too and makes flying a pleasant experience.
As we took off, here's a shot of good ol' Bangalore.
There's of course the new Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) coming up in Devanahalli. And when that becomes functional, the current HAL Bangalore International Airport is going to shut shop. I hope they put the existing airport space to good use then. Personally, I would love it if they continue to use the existing set-up for a domestic airport. However, that is not going to happen. Now, what remains to be seen is how we are all going to get to the airport that is all the way in Devanahalli, especially when some of us have to only take a 45 min flight to someplace. Yes, they are planning on an elevated exclusive expressway to the airport. We will see! We have to also account for the time lost in security checks, boarding, alighting, etc. It maybe wiser to just drive down to these towns and cities than fly! What with the freeways being quite good?!