Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Royal Invitation

The Maharaja & Queen of Mysore invited the members of the OWC to The Royal House of Mysore Fashion show on Tuesday the 27th of February.

We attend the event along with approximately 800+ of the glitterati of Bangalore. We enjoyed an evening of cocktails & Dinner while we witnessed dance performances and a dazzling display of the new collection from the Royal House of Mysore designed by His Highness Sri. Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wodeyar at the Bangalore Palace .

On arrival at The Palace we felt like glitterati ourselves.
A welcoming committee at the entrance, flute music, fairy lights everywhere and palace guards with bamboo torches lined up on the red carpet.

Jacqueline looking glam for the occasion.

A band playing as the guests arrive inside the palace grounds.

As per the invitation people were dressed in their formal/safari suits/National Dress. Yes, the invite actually mentions Safari suits!

His Highness Sri. Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar talking about the new collection and the launch of The Royal House of Mysore calendar.

Some of the outfits featuring in the new collection. Basically silk sarees that are draped and accessorised...Some really interesting designs!

Enjoying the dinner (biryani, roti, fish, paneer (Soft cheese) gravy, Dal Fry (lentils) on our laps. It's a good thing we had forks because it might have been a royal mess otherwise!

Nikki, Jacqueline, Anne, Ebru and myself after the "Royal" event!

Monday, February 26, 2007

OWC Charity Ball - 24 February 2006

We had an absolute ball at the OWC Charity Ball on Saturday (pardon the pun)! One normally only dresses up for weddings, work functions about once a year, so I was all to happy when I got the opportunity to put on my black number and high heals. I even had my own personal makeup artist that made sure I looked the part... Thank you, Jacqueline!!

I designed the add for The Rangoli (the OWC monthly magazine).

On arrival at the Taj West End we were greeted with cocktails, we purchased raffle tickets and had our photograph taken by the professional photographer...All very organised as one expects from a 5 Star hotel.

We had our photo taken, that was given to us later that evening in a cardboard frame. Talk about being organized...

Snacks and drinks were served while we mingled with people from all over the globe.

The hall, which was beautifully decorated by OWC volunteers.

This was my first time at a silent auction and it was great fun. There were many different items on offer like paintings, rugs, clothes, jewellery, trips away etc. I bid on two (affordable) clothing items from French Curve and won the bid! Ok, there were only two bids on the form, but it still felt good to have bought something at an auction.

It was an evening of bidding, dancing, raffle prizes and of course "good company" and I'm sure we will all be back next year!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Back dated post - SA Visit in September 2006 "My Best Friend's Wedding"

I finally posted the photographs from our visit to SA in September last year.

Click on the below link (new blog) to see photographs from Lesleigh and Chris's wedding, the Bridal Shower and Hen Night, friends and family get togethers:

What do I do with my time?

I can't believe that Marc and I left South Africa 10 months ago. We've been staying in touch with people via e-mail and the occasional skype call and of course I update the blog regularly. But everyone always asks me what I do with my time, and I of course have a lot of that on my hands. I can't believe that I haven't worked for 10 months. Time really does fly...especially when you're in a foreign country trying to settle in, travel and in Marc's case work, work, work...

Some of you do, but I often wish that all our friends and family back home and abroad also had blogs so that we can have a look at what's happening in your lives from time to time.

Besides the OWC meetings, lunches/dinners and the occasional weekend away our life in Bangalore carries on as normal. I've been keeping myself buys by doing adds, invites for OWC events, reading a lot when I'm not on the internet. I decided not to continue with the 1 year diploma course that I actually enrolled into at the end of last year but at the risk of sounding like a "grumpy expat", I'll just say that I'm now looking at doing a graphic design course (couple of hours a day, over 4 months) through Aptech (Arena) starting in March.

Greetings from Marc and I, hoping to hear from you soon.

Are you looking for a “good book” to read?

I've become a bit of a book worm it seems. We all have different taste when it comes to a "good book" but I thought I'd start recommending the good ones on our blog.


Big, soft-featured Benny, an adored only daughter, and Eve, the little bird-like orphan brought up by the nuns, are best friends in the small Irish town of Knockglen. On their first day at University College, Dublin, an accident brings the pair together with fellow students Nan Malone and Jack Foley, and new friendships are quickly struck. But beneath their carefree student existence, trouble is brewing for the circle of friends. Benny, the good-natured clown of the group, always seems to draw the short straw in life, while Nan, selfish and very attractive, takes what she wants without expecting to pay for it. And Eve, intensely loyal to Benny, and resentful of Nan’s careless optimism, becomes obsessed with the need to avenge Benny’s disappointments.

Monday's Child - Louise Bagshawe
According to the old rhyme, Monday's Child is fair of face - but life isn't always so simple. Gorgeous goddesses seem to surround script-reader Anna Brown - from her deranged glamour-queen boss to her perfect, pouting flatmates. For Anna, being less than beautiful is hard to bear. With a dead-end job and a ghastly boyfriend she wonders if she can ever be a success. In fashion crazed London, maybe being talented just isn't enough. Enter Mark Swan, Britain's hottest director. Rugged, reclusive and powerful, everybody wants a piece of him - from studio heads to supermodels. He could be Anna's ticket to the top, but how can she ever hope to snag such a big star? Fed up of being downbeat and dowdy, Anna decides to chase her dreams, and, with a little help from her friends, embarks on a madcap scheme to get just what she's after....

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith
"The Miss Marple of Botswana." -- The New York Times Book Review
This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith's widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to "help people with problems in their lives." Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors.

Our 1st Indian Wedding - Bakul weds Viraj

We were invited to Dr. Ajay Patwardhan's daughters wedding on Thursday, 22nd Feb. We attended the ceremony at 11:30 ish and a lunch after that. There must have been 200+ guests at the ceremony and lunch alone and apparently the evening reception is an even bigger affair with up to 800 guests.

Dr. Ajay & Manik patwarhan (Brides parents)

It was a South Indian wedding but there is no way that you can club all wedding rituals together and package it as a typical South Indian wedding. The various states and communities of South India pride themselves on having wedding customs unique to their own. More on South Indian Weddings:

We arrived at the convention centre where we were greeted by the brides father that gave us each a gift (kurta's for the guys and I got a saree) and a Tilak was placed on our foreheads using Kumkum, a red and/or yellow turmeric powder.

About the tilak:
The tilak covers the spot between the eyebrows, which is the seat of memory and thinking. It is known as the Aajna Chakra in the language of Yoga. The tilak is applied with the prayer - "May I remember the Lord. May this pious feeling pervade all my activities. May I be righteous in my deeds." Even when we temporarily forget this prayerful attitude the mark on another reminds us of our resolve. The tilak is thus a blessing of the Lord and a protection against wrong tendencies and forces. Different colour tilaks, donates different things e.g. red - energy (I'm not sure what the yellow denotes but I got one).

We moved into a hall where the bride and groom sat on a stage. The ceremony rituals continued with the priest chanting prayers, rice grains coloured with turmeric and saffron are showered on the couple as benediction and to ward of evil spirits (something like that). Well, in the direction of the couple at least as most of the rice ended up on the head of the person sitting in front of you.

Guest then proceeded up the stage to congratulate the newly weds and give them their gifts.
Lunch was served in - the 1st group of guest sat down to a South Indian (Vegetarian) lunch that was served on banana leaves.

Once we finished our lunch the catering crew cleaned the tables and the next group of people sat down for lunch...and possibly a 3rd group after that.

Marc in his kurta (gift from the wedding).

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Trip to Kerala (God's own Country)

We flew to Cuchin (Kochi) on Thursday the 15th of Feb for a long overdue long weekend break. The small state of Kerala, which represents just 1% of the land mass,is considered to be one of India's most beautiful state. It is a very rural state with most of the population living in villages but is culturally and scenically diverse.Kerala occupies a long (550km), narrow strip of land in the far south of India. Its coastline is on the Arabian Sea ( part of the Indian Ocean) and its eastern border with the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu is the top of the majestic Western Ghat mountains. The landscape varies from long golden beaches to cool hill stations and dense green jungle to bustling cities. Its unique feature is the 1,900km of palm fringed backwaters.

Thursday and Friday night we stayed at Rock Springs which is a lovely resort on the backwaters on Vypeen Island. A small resort where the people are very friendly and the food delicious. The resort is one of the only mid range resorts on the Vypeen Island with a swimming pool. It is approximately 15 km from Cherai Beach.

We enjoyed a boat cruise on the backwaters and admired the beautiful scenery of "Incredible India".

We hired an auto (tuk-tuk) for the afternoon to take us to Cherai beach. I don't know if I'll ever get use to the auto rides. Marc and I stopped counting after the 10th or so NDE's (Near death experience) .

On Saturday we checked into The Cherai Beach Resort which was a great location as it was on the backwaters with the beach on the doorstep. I went for my first ayurvedic massage (a very oily affair), we enjoyed the terrific setting just chilling in a hammock under the palm trees, calm backwaters all around.

Lazy afternoons, relaxing on the beach

Sunset - Cherai Beach

Like most people have dogs, the property next to Cherai Beach Resort had an elephant in the backyard.

It was another hair raising auto ride to Vypeed and from there another 5 min ferry ride to Fort Cuchin we took a Rs.50 auto tour on the tourist trail around Fort Cuchin to the ayurvedic spice store, ginger factory, Jew Town, Chinese fishing nets etc.

There was an old man with blood shot eyes (must be from all the rum) that did a numerology reading for Marc. Well, we think that's what it was as we couldn't quite make out what he was saying...we caught the odd word "you lucky man, high powered man, 50/50 heart line, too much power job...." it was a laugh never the less!

We strolled around the market

More shops in Jew Town that sell antiques, handy craft etc.
Kochi was an obscure fishing village that became the first European township in India. The town was shaped by the Portuguese, the Dutch and later the British. The result of these cultural influences are seen in the many examples of Indo European architecture that still exist here.

Ginger Factory

Ayurvedic Spice Store

There are Fish Markets on every corner.

Heading back to Vypeen Island at Sun Set
We flew back to Bangalore Monday night, after a great R&R weekend.