Boston to Bangalore

Bengaluru, formerly Bangalore (although both names are used equally), is in the state of Karnataka in the southern part of India.

Southern India Map

It is located on a plateau making the weather more moderate than other parts of India with highs in May of 95 and lows in the 60s. The heat is dry and not as oppressive as in northern India.

The food is spicy and the people an amalgam from all parts of India and the world. Most of this is because Bengaluru is the high tech hub of India with almost every tech company having offices here.  50,000 of IBMs 400,000+ employees are based in India. There are many universities which draw aspiring young people to learn and then work locally.

You can read more about Bengaluru here but some relevant highlights:

  • like Newton, Bengaluru is called the garden city. This morning Eric and I walked the centrally-located Cubbon Park. It is closed to traffic on Sunday and there were dance performances, bikers, walkers, runners and nature enthusiasts all around. And flowers abound.
  • Like Boston, Bengaluru is called Beantown. In the 11th century King Veera Ballala II lost his way during a hunt. Hungry and tired he came across an old woman who served him boiled beans – bende-kalu – giving birth to the name Bendekalu-ooru or Beantown.
  • 99% Invisible (a wonderful podcast) recently did a story called The Ice King.  In the mid-19th century ice was harvested (think the opening scene from the movie Frozen) from Cambridge’s Fresh Pond and shipped to India to cool drinks for the British occupiers.

So it seems that Bengaluru is a completely appropriate second home for us.

Observation: Men are openly affectionate in a way not seen in the US. You will regularly see them walking holding hands. At the same time homosexuality is taboo and homophobia widely prevalent.

The Adventure Begins

It was a spontaneous decision when Eric and I decided to move to Bangalore India for two years. With the girls long gone (or at least Charlotte will be after her May graduation) it was just the two of us. The opportunity came up and we said yes. There actually wasn’t much discussion.

To many that might seem surprising. Uproot your life. Move to a city in a country very far away in both distance and life style. What do you do with your house? Where are you going to live? What will I do while Eric works (I don’t have a working visa)? How do you stop delivery of the Newton TAB?

All these questions were surmountable. The logistics for an international move are much more complex than we expected. They took longer than we would have liked. But we had loads of specialists helping us though the visa, packing, house hunting, etc. processes.

And now we are both, finally, in Bangalore.

This move is a welcome change. An opportunity for Eric to do a completely different kind of job. For me to find a different way to channel my do-good tendencies. And for us to intimately explore and learn not only Indian culture, but also visit many other nearby countries. (I know Australia and New Zealand aren’t really close but it is all relative!).

In this blog I will try to document what it is like to adapt and live in India. It will be especially interesting watching the US election through Indian eyes.

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An observation: Indians have lots of children and they also really love them. Over and over I’ve seen affection shown to kids by complete strangers. It is quite lovely.