Our First week in Bangalore (Oct 16-Oct 20) was spent at my late brother’s home where his wife, lives with their son and his family.
We spent two days getting rid of jet lag followed by lengthy conversations with my sister-in- law, who is also my first cousin (This is legal here).
We actually grew up together and she is only 3 years older than me.
She became a widow in 2001 when my brother died following surgical complications after a major accident. It the custom in our family that when you meet anyone after a loss, you take the opportunity to share their loss in private. Exchanging sympathy cards is not just enough. we had a very long heart to heart conversation.
In my book, she is a saint and an angel along with my sister. Both of then endured great difficulties, but kept their composure and raised wonderful children and now in their twight years just are enjoying life to the fullest.
My nephew owns an agency selling connectors and cables from US and European compenies, while his wife is a home meaker for now, but will stary practicing law when the children are older.They have two kids 10 and 5, who gave up their room for us.
It is the time for Diwali. An ancient festival of triumph over evil, and is also a new year. There are many firecrackers lit starting from 5 am until way past midnight. The air smells fire crackers. The festival lasts several days amd dtsrta this Saturday. Many businesses offer prayers to the goddess of wealth at this time, bonuses are handed out etc.
The children are off school, and will be gouing back on Wednesday Oct 25.
We have spet a lot of time remembering times with our parents, how we grew up together, little stories that the newer generation does not know yet. Even the children were part of the conversation and they stayed up late as well.
We talked about the good times, and the bad times (about which we can laugh now).
Most of the conversation was in English, even the children can speak English fairly well. They have just started a new curriculum where the children have to learn 3 languages from the very first day Local language, Hind (National language) and English.
The competition to do well in school is tremendous. Families spend a lot of money to prep their children to enter prestigious schools. The IIT (Indian Institutes of Technology – 7 campuses, and Indian Institute of management 8 campuses) are premium schools. nearly 2 million students take the test for about 30,000 seats, and the admission is strictly by merit. The graduates of these schools are sought after from companies from all around the world. I understood that recently they have decided to allow foreign students to apply, but they have to take the same rigorous tests as locals.
Jeannie did dome shopping for a sari for our niece in California who plans to get married in a year. I have not ventured out to town except to an internet cafe and an ATM machine to get some Indian currency.
On Friday, my sister-in-law prepared a delicious meal to remind me of old days and my mother’s cooking. (In fact she said that she learned her cooking skills from my mother), We lit some fire crackers in the evening.
We were given a nice room and one day we slept until noon before realizing how much we had slept.