Donna and Joe have finished their assignment in India. Occasionally they still travel somewhere.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy Pongal

Pongal is a harvest festival. We had the day off 14 January (Wednesday) and had an in office celebration on the 16th (Friday) when this decoration appeared on the floor of the elevator lobby on our floor.

I took the picture of this girl decorating the sidewalk in front of her home while riding around on my bike on Wednesday. Her sister was helping her and this was the second design of this size they were making.

Sugar cane is an important part of the festival and I saw many vendors like this one selling sugar cane on the street as I rode around on Wednesday. You can buy a whole stalk complete with leaves or you can buy just a small length cut from the cane. Everything can be purchased in small quantities here, I suppose because many people have very little money and must live from day to day. At the pharmacy around the corner from our apartment you can buy just 1 bandaid, if that's all you need.

At work everyone was asked to come in ethnic clothing on Friday, although fewer than half did. We had sort of a fashion show with everyone who came in costume walking up and down in the boardroom. There was a prize for the best male and female outfit.

And the winners are...

Moitreyee and Tony !

Moitreyee not only had a beautiful outfit but she had sashayed down the "cat walk" with confidence and style. Tony wore a traditional man's skirt and he is demonstrating how you can convert it from floor length to a knee length by folding the bottom up and tying it at the waist. You see many laborers on the streets of Bangalore in skirts of a similar design but the are typically blue or green or grey plaid.
I have included below the pictures of everyone who took part in the fashion show. As each contestant walked the judge (Anirban) asked what part of India the costume represented. When he asked me I had to confess that all I knew was that my wife bought it somewhere in Bangalore.

There was also a prize offered for the best decorated cubical. A few people brought in things to display in their cubes, they decided to combine them in one cubical. So this next shot is of the winning (and only) decorated cubical.

In the afternoon we went out to fly kites. We started in the courtyard between the buildings but the security staff came and told us we couldn't fly kites there. So we moved to an open area near a building under construction. There was no actual contest but Rajan (seen in action in the picture below) was clearly the best kite flier. He got one kite high enough up that it was at the end of the string and turned it over to me. I promptly pulled in most of the string trying to keep it up and finally crashed it into the ground. So I turned over to someone else.

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