Sunday, June 17, 2007

Summer of '07

(Alright, so I have Bryan Adams and his 'Summer of 69' in my head as I type the title of the post. Let it stay that way.)

Since the time I went off to the US, I planned all my trips to India during Decembers or Julys, just to skip being here in the summers, not a huge fan of the heat or the humidity. Also, since we had to make a few trips to other places within India during our short India trips, I was keen to avoid the Indian summers. In fact, when we decided to R2I for good, the Indian summer was a concern for me! I hate humidity that much. Anyway, now that we have been through a summer here in Bangalore, I am glad to say that it wasn't too bad. Bangalore was hot and we did complain about the temperatures during the peak; in fact for about a month or so, it was pretty hot. But we were lucky to get some rains and the temps cooled off tremendously, especially since the rest of the country was struggling through heat waves. We were blessed to have some tolerable temps, sometimes making it quite pleasant too. We realised this more so when we traveled to other much hotter places.
Some near-perfect days

Flora: Only when I was actually here, did I realise the familiar summer floral sights that I was missing being away. Not that I missed them particularly when I was actually away, because California has beautiful flora too. Spring would be awash with various hues and some lovely colors. This summer, here in Bangalore, the Gulmohar, Queen's Flower, Copper Pod, etc were everywhere. The splash of colors was beautiful and the Gulmohar seemed redder than in the past; almost like organic coral sprinkled against the clear blue summer skies.
The resplendent Gulmohar lining the streets, making for some very pretty sights

Fruits: The summer fruits in India are a delight - mango, jackfruit, guava, musk melon, papaya, pineapple, chickoo, palmyra (kAti nongu) etc. Though mango is the king of fruits, and summer is the peak season for all its varieties, I have this weakness for jackfruits. And I hadn't eaten any in all the years that I was out of India. So, I made up for the loss this summer! The nice thing was both my kids took to jackfruits as well. So, I had some nice, crazy company to enjoy this (strange) fruit. Jackfruits always remind me of all my summer vacation spent in my ancestral native, Kerala! Just the thought of Kerala conjures up a splash of beautiful images that mean nothing but home - my beautiful exotic home! Though I am a Bangalorean at heart, Kerala will always be home for my soul. The absolute rustic scenes, the down-to-earth temples surrounded by mystique, and of course the food! Thankfully, the jackfruits were aplenty this season in Bangalore and I had a ball, to say the least!
Yummy Yum Yum!!

We enjoyed some kAti nongu too. Some of the vendors take the fruits out right in front of you like the vendor in this picture.

Summer Camp: Our (then) almost 4 year old daughter went to a summer camp for 3 weeks and within walking distance! I wanted something close by and there was one at the nearest Ramana Maharshi Center. What is unbelievable is the kind of positive influence just the 3 weeks there had on her. She used to take at least about 3 hours to relax and start interacting with non-family members. After the 3 weeks at their summer camp, she was quite comfortable talking to everybody and in a 'nice' way. I am thrilled with this development. At the end of the summer camp, all the children put up a nice show for the parents and family members at their auditorium. Splendid! Our daughter learnt a few of their shlokas, some small dance sequences, and some good social skills. I am thrilled! The summer camp was for 3 hours, 6 days a week for 3 weeks. I paid a whopping amount of Rs. 100/-!!! Unbelievable! (A lot of the commercial places and private schools hold summer camps for 2 weeks or so and charge more than Rs. 2000/-) Overall, she had a lot of fun and loved her summer camp!

Not being sure of how the summer would go, at the end of it, I am happy to say that it went off very well. Isn't that nice .... when you are not sure of how something is going to turn out and later realise that things actually went off well? Applies to all things in life, doesn't it? :)


Mahipal said...

We are having an unusually hot spring/summer here in VA, and speaking of Summers, your blog is like a cool breeze on a hot and sticky day.

You have a refreshingly simple style of writing, which makes for a very pleasant reading. Though I am not from Bangalore, I read your blog regularly and enjoy your posts immensely. We are planning to return in 2010, but everytime I read your blog I keep asking myself..."Can I really wait 3 more years??"

Good work!

Veena Shivanna said...

Hey this is a cool post. Really true, as for as climate is concerned definitely no need to worry in bangalore except few days,
The Jackfruit picture is really yummy, they are too big you see..

Yet another cool post.

Chitra said...

Thanks for your very kind words, Mahipal and welcome to my blog.
I am the person who is the most surprised at the tone of r2blore; didn't expect it to be this positive! Thanks again, I am really flattered.

Veena, thanks!

Chickoo said...

Oh my chitra, the jackfruit and thaati ningu pictures made me literally drool!! Here in US we don't get thati ningu at all, the jackfruit is ok not great. I remember driving 1.5 hours to a place just to drink some yela neeru (coconut water) when hubby and I were vacationing in Hawaii. Your pics make me soo nostalgic. BTW we will be packing our bags too in 2 years or so to land in Namma Bengalooru :)

Anonymous said...


That's a very good post on summer in namma bengalooru. Actually, I never really understood the different seasons until I went out of bengalooru on long term assingments because most of the time it's the same climate in bengalooru. So, whenever I was asked questions about summer in Bengalooru, the talk was always about summer holidays and nothing about the climate, temperature etc. I realize the difference now! :)

BTW, I did not know that 'thati ningu' is also called 'kAti nongu'. We always called it 'thati ningu' and I never miss it during the 'thati ningu' season (I did not even call it as summer).

The last paragraph of the post is the BEST!

Enjoy Halasina hannu, I am definitely missing it!


Arch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arch said...

Hi Chitra,
Great blog you have here!

Very interesting perspective of Bangalore!

Will be dropping by more often:-)


Poppins said...

Very nice post.. It makes me feel nostalgic and I am right here in bangalore :) And the summer camp sounds awesome ! Just for Rs. 100/- Woweee

Vijay said...

Happy R2Blore anniversary... there will be many more to come :-)

Anonymous said...

Hello Chaitra- Dealdy Blog and I liked it. Good to know tht u r enjoying Bangalore, its weather and the fruits. These fruits are mouth watering...

The Ramana maharshi Center conducts this only as Summer Camp? Also it will nice if you could give me the address.

Smitha Narayanarao said...

Watch out !!!! you may not want to contribute to the excess population in Bangalore :-) and not to forget the real estate price hike..

HOnestly your blog makes everyone -want to come back :-)
the mythical "5 years", "10 years",
"when our kids are 5 years old" is all gone. People really seem to be coming back !

I have thee more days to go and i just cant wait for it :-)

shilpa said...


Anonymous said...

Had loads of jackfruit last year,but ended up with sore throat also.(How did you avoid that ?)So this year we had them steamed instead,not as good as the fresh fruit ,though.What 'bout mangoes.....would'nt that have been a bonus too?

MP said...

Ah, Bangalore! Yes the worst is over, as far as weather is concerned for Bangalore for this year. The rest of the year we get to enjoy the 20's. Once we get past May, it is smooth sailing until the next Feb-end/March!!

BTW, there is a similar summer camp for kids in South Bangalore too - at the Chinmaya Mission in JP Nagar. These are the BEST reasons to return to India. Not the cost, but the quality of what you get. Need to make the most of it. Although I must admit that many cities in the US do have similar Chinmaya Mission camps.

Chitra said...

Chickoo, welcome to my blog. Email me if you have any specific R2I questions. I am glad you enjoyed the pics.

Nags, I remember the Bangalore summers in the 90s being quite uncomfortable. Until then, I don't think I noticed any difference either. Also, I was always away in Kerala during the summers and sweating it out. :) About the nongu, the tamil vendors do call it 'nongu' and I have mostly heard it that way. About 'kAti', not too sure what the correct word is, but it does look like 'thati ningu' is the correct Kannada word for it.I am glad you enjoyed the post.

Arch, welcome to my blog. Do visit often.

Thanks Poppins! Isn't Rs. 100/- something? And for all that they taught!

Thanks Vijay!

Thanks Vinay and welcome to my blog.The center also conducts various other classes through the year. Shortly, my daughter will be attending their shloka class once every week. Can you email me, pl. I can give you more details there.

Smitha, :) Wish you a pleasant flight!

PS: I will shortly be writing a more detailed real estate post. I have written in the past, but it does need to be stressed. :)

Shilpa, welcome to my blog. No sorethroats with jackfruits. Haven't really heard of that one. Mangoes, I have never been very fond of 'em. But did enjoy some Banganapalli this year, so did the kids.

MP, yes the worst is over! Thank Goodness! Give us moderate anytime, right? Oh yeah, such summer camps/classes are in plenty in the SF Bay Area. In fact, sometimes I feel Bangalore has varied influences and if they turn out too drastic or negative, we may head back to the Bay Area for a saner Indian upbringing. LOL
No kidding. We know desi kids in the Bay Area turning out splendid.

M O H A N said...

So you enjoyed Bangalore? THis happens to 90% of NRI's who miss thier homes... keep returning :-)


Sujatha said...

Hi Chitra, thanks for commenting on my blog and blogrolling me.


Jayanthi said...

Hi Chits,
Remember me.... its Jay !
I like your blogs very much...elegant style and fun to read. I visit your blog regularly midst of my tight schedule.

The summer here in Thousand Oaks is good but B'lore sounds fun around this time.... keep up the good work !

Chitra said...

Mohan, welcome to my blog.

Sujatha, you are welcome! I am glad you stopped by.

Jay!! Welcome to my blog. I am glad you left a comment. Lets me know you were here! :) Thanks for your kind words and am glad you enjoy reading r2blore.
PS: I miss Calif. Liked it there.

PRIDERA said...

I already miss "Rasapuri Mango" .. do get some variety of mangoes here ... but "Totapuri and Rasapuri" variety ... mouth watering ...
I have made trips to India in Nov/Dec so far ... may be its time I start planning for a summer visit.

Ober Fuhrer said...

wow!! jackfruits!!! I had almost forgotten about them....I used to love them when I was there...
good to know that summer went well for you...enjoy madi.

Chitra said...

Pridera, welcome to my blog. Sure, come in summer if you do not have to visit other hotter places. If it is only to Bangalore, then you will like it.

Ober! Welcome back! Been a while, huh?
Yes, though I love jackfruits too, I had forgotten about them! Hard to believe ...

Anonymous said...

Chitra - nice blog. Being also from Kerala, one of my fave dishes with chakkai (jackfruit for all non-Keralites) is Elai Adai. Roughly translated as "leaf dosa", it is jackfruit-jaggery puree, wrapped in a rice sleeve and steamed in a banana leaf.

I was in Bangalore in June, and brought back some of the poornam with me. Managed to clear customs without problems. Haven't gotten around to making it yet.

Good blog, just stumbled across it today.


Chitra said...

Raj, thanks and welcome to my blog. Yes, I know 'Elai adai'. My mom always brought the poornam for us when we were there. :) We tried making it in plates and stuff there, but it lacked the rich smell of the plantain leaves.

Anonymous said...

We prepare it with good ol' Reynolds wrap, in a pressure cooker, and it comes out fine. Although the last time I went to a Hispanic grocery store, I saw plantain leaves. Hmmm...


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