Friday, April 20, 2007
Last night Metblogger Anita arranged a meetup at an impressive top-of-office-tower restaurant on M.G. Road. The restaurant, Ebony, has a terrace outside, and it was nice and cool up there. While my hosts and I waited for Anita and the other metbloggers to show up, several co-workers of my host Charles showed up -- they're all visiting from the Ogle headquarters in California. They took seats at the table to have drinks with us until the metbloggers showed up. Then it began to rain, and while the awning kept the rain off for a while, the rain grew heavier and we moved inside.
Anita IMed Charles saying she was stuck in traffic on account of the rain. And the Ogle people decided to stay put for the same reason. So we started having dinner. I told the Ogle people about my book and its working title, "Dear Prudence." The rain began falling harder and harder, and there were flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder. Someone said something about the rain and I explained that this wasn't the monsoon but the normal mid-summer rains called the "mango rains."
"Mango Rain," said one of the Ogle people. "That's a better title for your book."
"Hmm," I said dubiously. "It makes it sound kind of like a chick book."
"Well, it's about an American girl, you said, so why not?"
"I like 'Mango Rain' too," said everyone else.
Finally Anita showed up, rather drenched. We had a very nice conversation; I wish it could have been longer, but she had a dinner date elsewhere. So out into the rain she went.
We spent several hours there, leaving at about 11:00 pm. The rain was still falling. Before we left, there was a conversation about dickering with auto drivers. As I've said in previous posts, the auto drivers will sometimes try to overcharge foreigners. So we all agreed 30 rupees* was a fair price for a ride to our neighborhood at this time of night and in this weather.
When we got downstairs it was raining steadily, and there were about 5 autos waiting for fares. The party split up into several groups, as the auto can take only two passengers (especially large Americans, though I've seen more than two Indians in them). I wound up climbing into an auto alone. I told the driver my destination and he said "60 rupees."
"No way," I said, "30." *
"No," he said.
"Okay then," I said, calling his bluff and climbing out. But he wasn't bluffing. So I gave the last auto to the last two Ogle people and just started walking.
I was quickly drenched, but it wasn't uncomfortable. The air was quite warm and the rain wasn't cold. The only real problem was that I'm wearing glasses on this trip and they were covered with water. This is great for my book, I told myself. But after a hundred yards, I flagged down another auto. This time I told the driver my destination and he didn't say anything, nor did he engage the meter. Not sure what I would be expected to pay, I directed him to my corner and got out -- the rain had now slacked off a lot. He still didn't say anything, so I gave him 30 rupees and said thanks and went home.
* Keep in mind what small change we're talking about here. Thirty rupees is like 75 cents.
Labels: Bangalore trip, Bangalore weather
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