My meet with a blog reader in Little India

Its always interesting to see an the point of view of someone who has not been accustomed to our way of life and lifestyle. To observe how ordinary things that we take for granted is seen as amazing to others.

When Cartcart came over to Singapore, I was amazed at the things that he noticed. Like the countdown timer at the traffic lights and the tri-pole in trains.

Tri-pole in a train in Singapore

Cartcart gushed about the usefulness of these features, and started to wonder aloud as to why he did not have the same feature back home.

I met up with Attilio, a reader of this blog whom has recently arrived in Singapore. Attilio is a native from Italy and will be here to undertake his phd at a local university.

After a bit of a blunder at the train station, we finally met and started to chat. I listened to him amiably describe about his first experiences here.

As Attilio was game enough to try some local food, we headed to Ananda Bhavan, a vegetarian Indian restaurant in Little India.

Attilio eats at Ananda Bhavan

We talked about a multitude of things over dinner, such as life and inevitably compared notes on lifestyles of our countries.

Attilio enthused bout how efficient things are run here. Like how the trains were on time and the speed of how administrative matters were resolved. Being the devil’s advocate, I mentioned the ever rising cost of living and the fast pace of life here.

Indian Sweets at Little India

On the other hand, we both agreed that because our countries are a melting pot, there are some similar traits. Attilio said that some of the Indian sweets reminded him of those back in Sicily.

After dinner, we decided to walk around the area. It was a bustling saturday night. There were a lot of people and activities around. We walked past goldsmiths, saree shops, provision shops. I see customers inside, examining the items sold or haggling with the owners.

Little India at night

Eventually we spotted a temple and decided to take a look inside. There were so much activities going on. It looked rather festive. There were already a number of people entering the temple.

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Little India

Whilst inside, I observed the devotees praying, some were prostrating to a deity, some were carrying oil lamps and walking around an altar. I noticed some devotees clasping their hands to the priest who was inside a prayer hall. The priest then later pressed a dot of ashes on the devotees forehead.

Attilio was walking here and there, observing different prayer halls.

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple in Little India

It was so facinating to see.Truth be told, that was the first time that I watched a Hindu prayer up close as I’d usually be too nervous to go an event such at this by myself.

Attilio explained to me about the statues, and the items needed to prepare for a prayer ceremony. I felt like such a tourist in my own country. But it was really very cool to see the devotees praying and I really enjoyed myself.

We found out later that it was called the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. The temple was built by Bengali labourers and it was said to have sheltered the devotees during the bombings in World War 2.

Eventually we called it a night and said our goodbyes. Grazie mille Attilio! It was very nice to meet you πŸ™‚

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16 thoughts on “My meet with a blog reader in Little India”

  1. It was very nice meeting you too, Marina. Waw! I guess I’ll have to run and hide from a very jealous Barbara too!
    Looking forward to the next food tasting experience…maybe with Cart!
    Seeya

  2. Bila masa pulak saya jadi marino? Marino tu nama lelaki. Saya masih wanita πŸ˜›

    Sure, I’ll ask him if we meet again. But I think you should join us and ask him directly πŸ™‚

  3. Hi Mr Gosh,

    the University of Bologna is the most ancient university in Europe: some say in the world, some others point out that some Chinese institutions are even older, albeit these comparisons might be trivial considering that (1) the term “university” might have had a different meaning in the middle ages than it has now, and (2) the term might have had different meanings in Western and Eastern societies at that time).

    The University of Bologna hosts one of the longest established and most reputable schools of arts in Italy: DAMS. It specialises in 4 different areas of artistic expression: theatre, music, “artistic” (painting, graphics, sculpting…) and cinema.

    Bologna is one of the most vibrant, lively and beautiful Italian cities. Very well connected with the rest of the country by train (Florence, Milan are less than a couple of hours away), with a great students’ community, great night-life and some of the richest and refined regional cuisines in the country.

    Should you be considering moving there to study arts, I would definitively recommend Bologna. Please let me know if I can be of any further help.

  4. Hey Thanks a million Attilio! I’ve already discussed with my family to study there once my bond is up. I can’t wait! How’s the living cost in Bologna? Since I can only leave in June 2010, when will be the best time for me to start registering with the uni?

    What are you studying here in S’pore?

  5. Hi Mr Gosh,

    I would suggest that you have a look at the english version websites of the University of Bologna (http://www.eng.unibo.it/PortaleEn/default.htm) and of DAMS (ttp://www.eng.unibo.it/PortaleEn/Academic+programmes/Courses/
    ArtsandHumanities/1stDegree/2006/CoursePage20060343.htm).

    Undergraduate degrees usually start in october in Italy, postgraduate courses may start later in the year.

    Cost of living is generally steeper in northern Italy than it is here in Singa. A place in a hall a students cannot be guaranteed in most of Italian universities. Should you do find a place there, you must be prepared to pay around 250 euros for a single room (around s$ 500). A single room in a shared flat would cost you around 400 euros (s$ 800). Eating out is definitively more expensive in Italy: the typical, cheapest italian dinner out – pizza and beer – would cost you around 10-15 euros (20-30 s$). Still, Bologna is a very students’ friendly city and you’ll find plenty of places to grab cheap, delicious take-away food: the so called, local take-away “piadina”, a sort of very thin pizza stuffed with whatever ingredient you like – ham, cheese, chocolate – would cost you s$6-s$7. Supermarkets in Italy have prices comparable to those in Singapore. Cooking at home is common attitude among Italian students and if you are lucky enough to share your flat with a bunch of Italian fellows – who flock from everywhere in the country to study in the very renowned University of Bologna – you are sorted! I’m positive that the Italians will be happy to stuff you with tortellini any day.

  6. Hi Marina
    I see you had much fun, what a great story. I love the indian sweets but have been searching for quite some time for a recipe, I do not know the indian name, but I’ll try to describe it: the consistency is gummy & chewy, it looks like the one in your picture showing the(3 racks of indian sweets) its the last rack and the 2nd sweet (pink) from the left. Is there anyone out there who have a recipe? I know in Singapore there are similar colourful sweets but it must be chewy and gummy at the same time.

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