I got a phone call this morning from our driver.
Sir, are the children at home?
I caught a small cobra over here at SAP and I want to bring it over there to show them.
I suspected another harmless rat snake, because last week he brought a rat snake from the office campus. It was not…
I’ve been offline for the past five days due to a screwup at BSNL, my ISP. They have been interesting. The bombings kept everyone at home all weekend it seems. The newspaper even showed a photo of a “deserted” MG road that still had too many people for Daniela’s taste. It was however a fraction of the usual hordes. The kids can now find Gudjarat on the map. Newspapers talk incessantly of terrorists; what is wrong with the government’s attempts to root them out, how which groups work, the lucky and unlucky stories. There is even a wikipedia article on the Bangalore attacks, as well as the ones in Gujarat on Saturday.
I’m actually starting to get sick of terrorism. Honestly, I’m more interested in what they are doing about the electricity and diesel shortages in Karnataka. This part of India gets a big part of its power from hydroelectric dams. Until this week, the monsoon rains had more or less failed to make it over the mountains, meaning the reservoirs are low and power production is reduced. There are scheduled blackouts lasting several hours a day. This being India, people are prepared for public infrastructure to fail. Everyone and their pet monkey has a diesel powered backup generator. Palm meadows has kept our blackouts to a minimal duration, though even they seem to run out of fuel on longer outages (and always just 5 minutes longer than my inverter can hold out for). This sudden surge in home generated electricity also means a 50% spike in diesel usage; something that the gas companies have not been able to supply.
So we have a water shortage. Doe to the water shortage, we have an electricity shortage. Due to the electricity shortage, we have a diesel shortage. Most gas stations (called “bunks” here) have shortages. Those that have diesel develop long lines reminiscent of the 1973 oil embargo. My driver spent half a day last week finding fuel for our car.
I never dreamed that the amount of rainfall could affect my ability to get fuel.
Call me cynical, but I think that it is safe to say that more people have died in July due to food poisoning (that would not have otherwise happened if the power had not gone down for an extended time, making refrigeration unreliable) than terrorism. Tens of thousands die every year in India from bites of the common krait and russel’s viper. Terrorism kills a number in the low hundreds. People won’t go to MG road for fear of further attacks, but they’ll walk barefoot in the dark – risking snakebite – and the non vegetarian will risk e.coli tainted meat in an environment where refrigeration has become unreliable. People everywhere it seems worry most about what the newspapers are worrying about and energy shortages are last week’s news.
Ah and it finally started raining in earnest this week! FINALLY!!!
We moved in a week too late to see a bit of drama on our little cul de sac. Last week a cobra – a big one apparently – turned up in the neighbor’s yard across the street. Just in case that did not sink in, let me reiterate. The neighbors had a freakin cobra on their lawn!!! I joked about that happening in my first post, but did not really expect it. It really did happen here last week! Apparently, the snake got frightened of the commotion he caused, slithered over to the neighbor’s house directly across the street and hid under the propane (cooking gas) tank. A neighbor tried to call the snake catcher, but apparently that guy is out of the snake catching business now and was too far away at the time. Appropriately, he has a traditional snake charmer tune as his cell phone ringtone. Maintenance eventually killed the snake.
The gardeners have gone through the street and cut back the low shrubs to try to make Avenue 3 a cobra free zone.
There is a story behind the “cobra on my lawn” line in my first post.
A few months ago, when we first started looking at going to India, Dani showed me the link to this neighborhood’s resident wiki. We were trying to figure out what kind of internet support was available in India so that we could work and the Palm Meadows wiki does discuss internet connectivity. We won’t be living there, but it was interesting to see the kinds of places that the expat ghettos are in Bangalore. As I read through the tag cloud, I was imagining a place where every whim of these western foreigners is catered to, then I got to the middle of the tag cloud…
Me: SNAKE CATCHER??? Holy Moly! They have a snake catcher!
Dani: *look of shock* Snake catcher?
Me: *laughing* yes, a snake catcher
Sammy: What is a snake catcher?
Dani: *explains the term to Sammy*
Sammy: *runs off* IIIIIIII’mmmmmm aaaaaaaa sssssssnnnnnaaaaaakkkkkeeee cccccaaaattttccccchhhheeerrrr!!!
If you follow the link, you find the snake catcher listed under “medical services” (how comforting) with the following line:
Seen a cobra on your lawn? Thinks there’s a slithery one behind the hedge? Call this guy now!
The linked page then goes on to show a Russell’s Viper that was recently found there.
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!