Bangalore Street Kids
Every day I saw barefoot Indian children living in makeshift huts that were adjacent to modern apartment buildings and homes. Oftentimes, children under 10 would be standing in the middle of busy streets selling toys, magazines, and/or flowers. These children happily posed outside a "gated community" of ramshackle dwellings.
Bangalore Street KidsLife in India
Before traveling to India, I read several books about India and had also looked through hundreds of my son's pictures. Even though I knew that cows shared the roadways with vehicles and the sidewalks with pedestrians, I was still stunned to see the elevated status of these four legged mammals. Cows were indeed everywhere except for certain parts of New Delhi.
Cows EverywhereLife in India
Pune-Women at Work
Throughout India, women in lower socio-economic working situations carried items in baskets on top of their heads. The women pictured above were doing landscaping work on the Pune campus where my husband worked. Earlier in the day, I watched women dressed in similar saris sweep the grass with handmade brooms and another group of women gingerly wash by hand hundreds of large stones that lined the pool area.
Pune-Women at WorkLife in India
Pune-Women Washing Clothes
Washing machines and especially dryers are a luxury in India. In rural areas, it is common to see women doing their laundry in lakes and rivers. Due to a shortage of electricity, most people hang dry their clothing.
Pune-Women Washing ClothesLife in India
Bangalore Street Vendor
Food shopping was a different experience. Choices included street vendors, small stores that were the size of a 7 Eleven or smaller, and a handful of full sized grocery stores that catered to expats and affluent Indians. I paid a premium for imported items. An 8 ounce package of Philadelphia cream cheese cost $8- more than 4x the US amount.
Bangalore Street VendorLife in India
Pune- Sinhagad Fort
At many attractions, food vendors sold a wide selection of fruits and vegetables as well as cooked specialties. Our guide frequently purchased food to nosh. This was one of our stops.
Pune- Sinhagad FortIndian Food
Cooking in India
Each culture develops its own culinary style. Cooking over a flame is the fundamental method in India. This simple apparatus was in our Adarsh Gardens apartment in Bangalore. We also had a small microwave.
Cooking in IndiaIndian Food
Southern Indian Breakfast
After living in India for years, our son, Josh, grew to love the savory taste of a typical southern Indian breakfast. He took us several times to his favorite Bangalore breakfast buffet. The steamed rice pancake is called idli. This can be dipped into the red sauce-sambar (spiced lentil sauce) or the green sauce. The savory donut is called vada.
Southern Indian BreakfastIndian Food
Southern Indian Dinner
During my first trip to India, I stayed part of the time in my son's apartment. When he traveled, his maid sometimes prepared food for me. One Friday afternoon, she made this vegetarian feast for me. The plate included gobi (a cauliflower dish), dal (lentils), pulao (rice and peas), and sliced tomatoes.
Southern Indian DinnerIndian Food
While staying at the Royal Mist in Munnar, I was treated to a Kerala specialty. This fermented rice dish was delicious. My colleagues and I gobbled down our first portion and kindly asked for a second tray. Our congenial hostess, Jeeva, gave me a private lesson on how to prepare this unique dish.
Kerala- AppamIndian Food
Belur- Entrance to Temple
During my first visit to India, I took a solo journey to Belur and Halebeedu to see 12th century Hoysala temples. I wish that it was possible to share more pictures of these intricate soap stone (steatite) carvings. The craftsmanship represents an ancient era when structures took decades to complete. Additional pictures can be seen on this page as well as in my blog postings.
Belur- Entrance to TempleTemples
Belur- Royal Emblem of the Hoysala Dynasty
This particular sculpture stood out among the masses of intricately carved smaller pieces. After doing research, I learned that this statue was the royal emblem of the Hoysala Dynasty. When Sala, the legendary head of the dynasty, slayed a tiger singlehandedly, the image was immortalized in this special emblem.
Belur- Royal Emblem of the Hoysala DynastyTemples
Halebeedu or Halebid
Approximately 16 km from Belur is Halebeedu. Halebid or "Old Capital" was the capital of the Hoysala Dynasty from the 11th to the 14th century. The capital was relocated to Belur after the last king of the Hoysala Dynasty was killed by the Sultan of Madura. The structures located on this site are considered the best Hoysala temples and are dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Halebeedu or HalebidTemples
Halebeedu-Statue of Nandi Bull
The Nandi Bull is the celestial vehicle for Lord Shiva.
Halebeedu-Statue of Nandi BullTemples
Parshvanatha and Shantinatha Basadis
During my tour of Belur and Halebeedu, the driver made an unscheduled stop. The sign identified the names in the above title. It was a tiny site that attracted a handful of visitors. Can anyone identify the significance of this place and its relationship to Belur and Halebeedu?
Parshvanatha and Shantinatha BasadisTemples
International School Accommodations
While teaching in Bangalore, I lived on the school's campus. My accommodations were in the administration building and included this simple room (approximately 300 square feet) with a small attached bathroom and balcony. Across from my bed was a red refrigerator and a small round table and chair. I was not provided any cooking facilities. I used an electric pot to boil water. The frequent power outages were eliminated by an all campus generator. Internet service was limited and unreliable.
International School AccommodationsSchool
View from Guest Room
Attached to my guestroom was a small balcony. From the third floor, I looked down on the perimeter wall and the street that led to the main gate. Families of monkeys lived in the trees and cows and goats paraded on the street's shoulder. Horns blared from the passing cars and trucks.
View from Guest RoomSchool
A Monkey Outside My Guestroom
On the grounds of the international school, monkeys were as common as American cats and dogs. They were seen on the playground equipment, climbing into classroom windows, dangling from electrical wires, skipping across roof tops, and walking freely on the grounds. They frequently visited my guestroom and classroom. This one was perched on the balcony outside my guestroom.
A Monkey Outside My GuestroomSchool
Classroom Bulletin Board
To connect with my fifth grade students, I created an interactive bulletin board using the motif- You've Got Mail. I enjoyed getting to know my students by corresponding with them. The students also wrote to one another.
Classroom Bulletin BoardSchool
Chanukah 2010 in Bangalore
One evening, the local Chabad rabbi and his family journeyed to the outskirts of Bangalore to celebrate Chanukah with me. They did not want me to be alone. His wife baked delicious sufganiyot (jelly donuts). The rabbi lit the chanukiah in my classroom and we sang a selection of Hebrew songs together. I will never forget their kindness.
Chanukah 2010 in BangaloreSchool
Munnar, India- Elephant Ride
Reluctantly, I agreed to take an elephant ride with one of my teaching colleagues. It was a hilarious adventure. I couldn't thank my Caribbean friend enough for encouraging me to join her on this 30 minute ride through the forest or my British friend for patiently waiting for us.
Munnar, India- Elephant RideMunnar and Cochin
Munnar, one of India's most popular hill stations, is located approximately 140 km from Cochin. It is situated at the merging point of three mountain streams- the Mudrapuzha, the Nallathanni, and the Kundala. This part of Kerala is famous for its lush greenery with low level clouds and mist filled valleys. Tea plantations share this landscape with lakes, waterfalls, reservoirs and forests.
Munnar, IndiaMunnar and Cochin
Mattupetti Lake, Munnar
On the way to the panoramic top station we drove by the Mattupetti Lake recreational area. Busloads and carloads of Indians clogged the main thoroughfare. We waited patiently as large tour buses maneuvered through an obstacle course of illegally parked vehicles. This slight delay allowed us time to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounded us.
Mattupetti Lake, MunnarMunnar and Cochin
Cochin, India – Jew Town
Before leaving Kerala, our driver took us to Cochin. The synagogue's bell tower can be seen at the end of Jew Town Road. Years ago, this area was filled with Jewish merchants. Today, only a handful of Jews remain. I was fortunate to meet briefly with the elderly Sarah Cohen, the owner of Sarah's Embroidery shop. She is widowed with no children. She is tenderly cared for by others.
Cochin, India – Jew TownMunnar and Cochin
Cochin- The Paradesi Synagogue
This notable 16th century synagogue is adjacent to the Mattancherry Palace and is located in the section of Cochin called Jew Town. The 3 story clock tower was added in the 18th century. A policeman is stationed directly outside the synagogue's door. It is advisable to check the opening and closing times.
Cochin- The Paradesi SynagogueMunnar and Cochin
While visiting Kabini with my fifth grade students, I took multiple land and water safaris. Dusk and dawn were the optimal times to view the wildlife. What an incredible opportunity to see animals in their natural habitat.
Kabini- Being a Kid Again
Always young at heart, I couldn't resist joining the boys as they climbed the ropes. Within no time, we were joined by a pack of monkeys who wanted to reclaim their territory.
Kabini- Being a Kid AgainKabini
Monkeys Wanting to Play
The monkeys were quick to reclaim their territory. They returned to the ropes as soon as they could.
Monkeys Wanting to PlayKabini
The gaur looks similar to an American bison, but it is actually the largest bovine in the world. Only tigers can devour a hefty adult gaur that weighs over 1200 kilos.
Kabini- Spotted Deer or Chital
Large herds of spotted deer were seen eating the tall grass and shrubs throughout the jungle. The over abundance of this species, the favored prey of leopards, tigers, and panthers, indicated that the big cats were in short supply. Sambar, India's largest deer, are more timid and tended to flee whenever our vehicle approached.
Kabini- Spotted Deer or ChitalKabini
Kabini Student Booklet
The voices of my students are heard in my memoir. I decided not to include any of the photographs or videos that I took of my students in this photo gallery. Instead, I am sharing samples of their work. To supplement the class' Kabini adventure, I created a booklet that integrated the 5th grade social studies unit with the English curriculum. This page illustrates one of my student's artistic endeavors.
Kabini Student BookletStudent Drawings
Kabini Student Ad
We were studying advertisements in English class. I included this topic in the Kabini booklet.
Kabini Student AdStudent Drawings
Students’ Targeting Goals
To help students focus on their personal goals, each was asked to prioritize what they hoped to accomplish. Their colorful target diagrams were mounted on the bulletin board.
Students’ Targeting GoalsStudent Drawings
The Golden Fish and the Demon
After reading the short story, "The Golden Fish and the Demon" in The Bird With Golden Wings: Stories of Wit and Magic by Sudha Murty, the students were asked to illustrate the story. This student used a comic book format to show the moral of the story.
The Golden Fish and the DemonStudent Drawings
The Golden Fish and the Demon #2
Another student chose to focus on one aspect of "The Golden Fish and the Demon".
The Golden Fish and the Demon #2Student Drawings
Jaipur- Jantar Mantar
In conjunction with Josh and Rachael's wedding, my family and a few friends traveled to the Golden Triangle- Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. One of our first stops was Jantar Mantar. This 18th century observatory was built by Maharaja Jai Sing II. Enormous stone and marble structures were placed in an open area. We felt like dwarfs in a land of giants. All were designed for astronomical measuring. The overcast skies prevented us from seeing their application.
Jaipur- Jantar MantarGolden Triangle, Jaipur
Jaipur City Palace
Another stop was Jaipur's 18th century City Palace. The architecture sent us back centuries to another place and time. The ornate interiors were breathtaking. In between raindrops, we posed as if we were in a promotional photo for the University of Colorado. Coincidentally, the 5 CU alum were proudly showing their spirit. Go Buffs!
Jaipur City PalaceGolden Triangle, Jaipur
Jaipur- Flooded Streets
An overnight deluge overwhelmed the sewers. By morning the streets had become rivers with floating debris.
Jaipur- Flooded StreetsGolden Triangle, Jaipur
Jaipur- Amer Fort (Amber)
Should we ride an elephant or take a jeep? That was the question that we pondered as we drove toward the Amer Fort. Our small group was ripe for an adventure so we waited with the masses of people who likewise ignored the pelting rain.
Jaipur- Amer Fort (Amber)Golden Triangle, Jaipur
Jaipur- Elephant Ride
I laughed nonstop as our elephant trudged up the steep incline toward the Amer Fort or Amber Fort. The overcast skies did not mask the impressive nature of this massive fortress with an ornate interior with Hindu influences.
Jaipur- Elephant RideGolden Triangle, Jaipur
Fatehpur Sikri, Agra
On the way to Agra, we visited the massive grounds of Fatehpur Sikri. Our guide told us that Emperor Akbar's 16th century capital city had a short life span of roughly 14 years. Despite its notable town planning and quality construction, Akbar abandoned this impressive site for another location. For centuries the buildings remained empty.
Fatehpur Sikri, AgraAgra, Golden Triangle
Wow! What a way to memorialize the love of your life. In the 17th century, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the building of the Taj Mahal for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, after she died giving birth to their 14th child. It took 22 years to complete. My family took dozens of pictures. Each captured a different essence of this remarkable place. Three of Josh's American friends along with our long time friends, Kay and Cary, joined us on this whirlwind visit to Agra and Jaipur.
Taj MahalAgra, Golden Triangle
Agra Fort, Agra
This site has an assortment of buildings constructed by several Mughal rulers-Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb. Two moats filled with crocodiles and tortoises surrounded the original red sandstone walls. Today only one ditch remains with slimy green water. The architecture is a combination of Hindu and central Asian architectural styles.
Agra Fort, AgraAgra, Golden Triangle
Agra Fort- View of Taj Mahal
From a distance, we could barely see the Taj Mahal across the Yamuna River.
Agra Fort- View of Taj MahalAgra, Golden Triangle
Before returning to Delhi, we visited Sikandra. Huge walls protect this picturesque setting from the surrounding area. Herds of deer and groups of monkeys scamper about the grounds that cover close to 150 acres. Prior to his death, Emperor Akbar commissioned the building of his mausoleum that was later completed by his successor. A few other buildings share the site.
Sikandra, AgraAgra, Golden Triangle
Josh and Rachael Signing their Ketubbah
My story would not be complete without a bit of romance. Living in India provided a unique opportunity to get-to-know my future daughter-in-law, Rachael. My eldest son, Josh, met his fiancé on a blind date. Non-Jewish friends brought the two together even though a 2 ½ hour flight separated them. The Sephardic Indian wedding occurred at the Judah Hyam Synagogue in New Delhi. It was a special moment not only for the Bornstein and Israel families, but also for the New Delhi Jewish community. Many decades had passed since the secretary of the congregation, Ezekiel Malakar, had officiated at a wedding ceremony in the small sanctuary. The ornate Ashkenazic ketubbah was purchased at Hamakor in Illinois during one of Josh and Rachael’s family visits to suburban Chicago. The framed ketubbah is hanging on a wall in their New Delhi apartment.
Josh and Rachael Signing their KetubbahFamily
After the ceremony at the synagogue, invited guests drove a short distance to the India International Center. In the adjacent garden, we were treated to an Indian buffet hosted by Rachael’s parents. We were happy that so many of Josh and Rachael’s friends were able to share this special simcha (happy moment) with us. This picture includes our four sons and our daughter-in-laws.
Decades later, I look upon this 1975 photo with a sense of awe. Despite all of my family's squabbling, Ira and I persevered. Our makeshift bridal attire ran counter to our initial plans for an elaborate wedding that ended up being cancelled by others. We learned to garner our strength from one another whenever we faced adversity and to appreciate our family life. Arm in arm, we have faced each of life's challenges as an equal partnership. We are certain that our marriage was meant to be or b'shert.
For decades Ira wanted nothing to do with any creature that had 4 legs. When our son, Aaron, relocated to Los Angeles, we inherited Chloe and our lives have become enriched by her presence. She has a cameo role in my memoir.