India Report: Peanuts and 100-Year Rains

Traveling around India for a few weeks is as colorful, entertaining and intimidating as attempting to sample the entire menu at Khan’s Indian Restaurant in Bayswater, London. Some of it is truly amazing, certain parts you don’t really want to experience, some you genuinely shouldn’t, and in the end you realize you’ve only skimmed the surface leaving much for future exploration. This was my first trip back to India in about ten years, and I was told matter-of-factly upon arrival that it had changed significantly.

I suppose it had—one of my many travel e-books was the rather dull McKinsey Institute’s India’s Urban Awakening, which laid out all the scary growth statistics on charts far too small and cluttered for an iPhone 6 Plus. One of my takeaways is that India is on course within a few years to have six megacities each with over ten million inhabitants. These cities will have larger populations and GDPs than many countries. And all the other growth and consumption indicators are equally staggering, e.g., close to 70 cities with over one million folks and so on.

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Anyway, I’m pleased to report that I was here for the 100-year rain in Tamil Nadu, which shuttered airports and trains in the region. I didn’t experience one of those ten years ago. Not quite up there with seeing the Hale-Bopp Comet but memorable nonetheless.

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Complete with my bindi third eye I attended the annual peanut festival at the 16th Century Bull Temple in Karnata. The bull was the mount for Lord Shiva, one of the three main Hindu gods.

I went to see a fascinating exhibit by the Delhi born artist Radhakrishnan who specializes in bronze figure sculptures.

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Unbeknownst to me I smudged my bindi, but continued to pose proudly for photos. No one had told me. I guess the show must go on.

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