After Westernising ourselves out for the night (me having a double bed to myself, hot water and great room service) its safe to say we were feeling more so ourselves since the start of the trip.
Breakfast was also great. Familiar, plain and risk-free; at least the continental breakfast. I wasn’t up for trying any of the hot offerings. Curry for breakfast was starting to take it’s toll; the staple bread dishes were quite nice, Idli (Spongey rice) Paneer Paratha (oaty pancake), Akki Roti (fried rice flour) but the excitement of trying spicey things for breakfast was becoming less appealing. Garlic, Ginger, Tumeric, onion were typical flavours I picked up from trying different sauces;
Aloori Poori (spiced potato curry) being the most common, orange and tangy, tasty at 7pm,; challenging at 8am.
Also, the we soon learn that if it looks sweet and it’s for breakfast, then it’s probably savoury and has some hidden herbs/ spices thrown in somewhere. By this point we knew the drill. Nick, who also shared my theory, decided that 4 pieces of toast with lashes of jam and butter was more than adequate on this particular occasion- and his 2 cups of English Tea of course.
A quick turnaround, we departed for Bangalore at 9am, arriving at mid-day. Roger come on board; friend and work college of Sid’s. We stayed in YMCA hotel, a large, hospital-looking hotel- quite spooky inside; but it was good enough for us.
Our day activity was to Lalbagh Botanical Gardens (The Red Garden in English) famous for its horticulture, and flower shows, also regarded as one of the best gardens in the East for its layout, scenic beauty, and maintenance. A rocky hill offering views of the Bangalore skyline, a Bosnai Garden as well as readable bits of information explaining everything, it was a great place to visit for the day- a picnic would have been ideal.
We then headed for food. Not really knowing our way around, we relied on or driver to take us to a good place to eat. So we pulled up to an ‘Indian Restaurant’, the kind you find back at home; quintessentially Indian in décor; lavish, and gold, patterned ceilings, gold-trimmed wall-hangings and a fancy water fountain in the middle. Also in the way of cuisine; a main, a side and bread. No bits of herb-ly/ spicy bits scattered everywhere. Happy and stuffed we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the Reception party.
Preparing for the party became somewhat of a challenge; I couldn’t find my dress, or for the life of me, fix my eyebrows and so I made the guys a little late
The reception was held in the Taj Hotel on MG Road, quite a high-end part of Bangalore so to say. The hotel was stunning; high ceilings, glossy white floors and a gold staircase; of course we headed straight to the bar.
The reception itself, was as Nick put it, a “catered photo-shoot’ which gave way to friends and family to take pictures with the bride and groom on the stage.
In between the pictures, guests could plough their way through the Indian buffet- large in quantity and choice. But having eaten what felt like a three-course meal just 5 hours before, we were mostly interested in the desserts. In addition to a caramel crème sort of dish, there was also a creamy, rice-like , custard -like dish which I really enjoyed. Not to forget the wedding cake; light and fluffy- similar to the taste of a light Victorian sponge.
Nam and Sid looked stunning; really on form and happy. Nam’s dress in particular was gorgeous.
Throughout the night guests were allowed to go up to sing which gave way for anyone from any age and ability to sing something fit for the occasion. This was fun to watch. ‘My Heart Will Go On’ was sung by one of the younger guests; a song which, according to Nick, was played ‘all the time in India in every shop and every bar you go to, in every toilet, over every speaker in every mall; a song subjected to a ‘delayed release’ sparking an obsession with the tragedy of the Rose/ Jack relationship which the West had so long overcome. I think the curry and the lack of sleep was heightening Nick’s already pessimistic outlook on life. Still everyone (including Nick) really enjoyed watching the performances and the inns and outs of the evening.
That being said, I will never eat an ‘Indian’ 5 hours before a planned Indian banquet ever again. One must never miss opportunities of the sort again.