Monday, November 15, 2010


Diwali is a celebration of knowledge (light) conquering ignorance (darkness). It is the loudest holiday I have ever seen. It has elements of Christmas: a week-long holiday with big gift giving, holiday bonuses, and plenty of holiday lights. Diwali takes it to the next level and throws in 4th of July fireworks. We're not talking well regulated community funded professional displays. It's everyman for himself. Indians purchased 920 million 'crackers' this year in the week preceding Diwali. A cracker is anything from a bottle rocket to a full blown 500-ft. mortar. The sky is truly the limit. The 'cracker houses' that sell them are still doing a brisk business a week a later.

Unlike the USA, you are more than welcome to hurt, maim or kill yourself in India. Drugs need no prescription. (And they are MUCH cheaper here). You can legally load a family of 4 onto a motorcycle so long as someone has a helmet. You can have any seat on a public bus, including atop the roof or hanging off the side. Having come form a Petrochemical company that is ultra-safety conscious, I cringe just thinking about the safety level of those 'crackers'. Needless to say, we've not purchased any.

That's not a backpack between the driver and his wife, it's his son.

With the locals armed with 920 Million rounds of explosives, we were advised by friends down the street that we should leave town for a couple days if we expected to get any sleep. They were right. Think "Shock & Awe", Baghdad 2002. It's actually quite spectacular for the first hour or so. After that, it's just hard to hear the TV.

We left town and headed to Mysore, a tourist town nearby. I'm not sure we escaped any fireworks, but were able to take in the attractions. Some pictures are attached for your viewing pleasure. It's all fairly standard historical stuff - except you need to pay a guy a couple rupees to watch your shoes while you get to walk around in your bare feet.
The Official Family Photo under a Banyon Tree.
40 acres under a single tree.
Just before the picture:
A behind the scenes shot of Will getting an earful from his Mom. 

St. Philomena Basilica in Mysore, India.

Loading up the School bus at St.Philomena's.

We counted 11 kids.  Imagine how many can fit into a VW Bug.  

Note the Trash Inspector on top of the garbage can.
Monkeys are Raccoons with attitude. 
Mysore's Palace.

Bulls get to park wherever they wish.