Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thread Ceremony - Upanayanam - the pregame show

A relative had his thread ceremony, and we attended day 1, more focused on the parents than on the boy. What is a thread ceremony? If you are Christian, think confirmation; Jewish, bar mitzvah. According to the invitation: This is one of the most important events in a boy's life. Of the 4 stages of life, Upanayanam is when he completes his 1st stage and enter his 2nd stage of life. He is given a thread (actually three) that denote thought, word and deed. We didn't actually attend the ceremony itself, but the elaborate full day celebration the day before. As with all such Indian celebrations, there are fabulous silk saris, overwhelming good, and lots of food.

Oh, and a bunch of priests sitting around a fire that fills the function hall with smoke. The fire is the witness to all things important in Hinduism. No one seems to worry about the smoke.
The kids, most in their silk finery, and including the boy who will get his thread, find a way to have fun no matter what is happening with all the priests.
We are in Bangalore which still produces large quantities of fresh flowers, so there are flowers everywhere, at the entrance above, and decorating the stage below.
The crowd mainly doesn't pay attention, just like at weddings.
The mother has a long sari with the gold belt.
Multiple scenes on the stage.

Multiple meals are served. All vegetarian of course.

As in weddings, banana leaves are used as the plates, and men come around with big buckets of food, waiting below.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

More Singapore: Around Orchard Road

I expected not to like Singapore, but coming from India, it was a welcome island of order. I expected the order, and well behaved crowds, and cleanliness, but I was surprised at how green it was, and it was a little less extreme in terms of rules than I expected. These photos are around Orchard Road, which was a pleasure to walk on (or below).
We stayed close to Orchard Road, a major shopping area both above ground and below. At one end, lots of greenery. Actually, there was lots of greenery all around.
Wide sidewalks, lots of signage, and of course, the surveillance camera.
Plenty of garbage and recycling bins all around.
Bus stops with great information and space to protect riders from the elements.
There was a Formula One related event while we were there, so there were barriers for crowd control set up, along with lots of extra lights.
The ERP sign provides information on the congestion pricing model used in the central of the city to reduce traffic by charging private vehicles a fee.

Great signage, everywhere, even on the construction work.

Sculpture of all sorts ... traditional and modern.

Wide sidewalks with greenery and lots of street furniture.

Colorful entrance to the shopping malls underground as well as the the metro.

Well mannered and run taxi lines.
Quintessential Singapore -- tall building, a heritage area, and the don't enter sign.
Lovely, and I'm sure out of this world expensive.
Mosaics, swinging wooden doors ... one could imagine this doorway in many parts of the world.

Expensive parking everywhere too.
Buildings (again, mainly malls) with huge screens advertising movies on them.
This area was off Orchard too.

A mixture of heritage and newer buildings.

Modern, modern.