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A Demon Cannot Be Hurt


February 7, 2018

Mysore, Karnataka, India

The Palace of Mysore still belongs to the Wadiyar dynasty, the titular monarchs of the Kingdom of Mysore, and can be toured with an excellent audioguide app. The well-kept walled grounds have two temples, a stable of elephants, and multiple large gateways. On display in the palace are a small portion of the Wadiyar traditional figurine collection, portraits, and a set of caskets used by supplicants to deliver written requests and mementos to the maharaja. The highlight is certainly the architecture—the palace, built after the previous wooden palace burned, is stone, and has enormous spaces with rich tilework, frescoes, bright colors, and stone and ivory inlay.

I walked through the nearby market, where flowers, spices, vegetables, dyes, and other everyday goods are sold in a loud, frenetic, chaos. Many vendors approached me, followed me, or otherwise tried to get my attention, though a quick pace and polite but firm insistence that I didn’t need a wooden cat puzzle box, junky souvenirs, or ingredients for dinner got my message across.

I had an fantastic onion dosa from a stall on the main market square.

The final stop was at the Sri Chamundeshwari temple, which is the main temple dedicated to the state’s local goddess. A complex of many temples, the main focus is the shrine and idol of Sri Chamundeshwari, who myth claims defeated a snake-wielding demon. This victory is commemorated annually with a 10-day festival, while other nearby regions share the festival and the vanquishing of evil is always accomplished by a deity, Mysore is unique in both celebrating and being the seat of this important regional goddess. The temple is located atop a huge hill that overlooks the whole city of Mysore, and the palace grounds and palace itself are oriented so as to face the temple, to identify the dynasty and the goddess.

From Mysore, it was a bit more than 3 hours to the Bangalore airport. My flight was at 3:30 in the morning, which put me in Frankfurt at about 9 am.

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Wine For The Woman Who Made The Rain Come


February 6, 2018

Ooty, Tamil Nadu, India

I woke up early in Bandipur and my driver and I left for Ooty at about 6 am, shortly after the road through the tiger reserve opens. It was a long trip, which crossed from the state of Karnataka to Tamil Nadu and took me high into the mountains. I was warned to dress for the cold, which turns out to be a laughable concern for someone more used to a continental European climate.

My first stop was the botanical gardens, which I found to be lackluster. Very few of the flowers were in season, the grounds were poorly maintained, and some of the water was standing rather than flowing as designed. It was quiet and cool, however, and a nice way to spend the morning.

I had lunch at the Lake & Boat House, which had some amusements and rides that I didn’t ride, and also had paddle boats and powered boats for rent. A class from a local all-girls high school was there, and clandestinely took selfies with me in the background. A family gave me a “butterscotch fruit”A quick search yields only western baked goods. that was unusual in that it had a thin but inedible peel, a center with lots of little black seeds in a goop, and a mushy flesh. It was good, but messy and a lot of work.

I visited the park atop Doddabetta peak, which, as the highest nearby peak, has phenomenal view of both Ooty and the valley on other side of the ridge. On the way back into the main part of town I stopped at Benchmark Tea Factory.

Ooty is surrounded by mountains, with large tea plantations covering entire mountainsides. One of the chief employees gave me and my driver our own tour of their little plantation and took us onto the factory floor to see the machines close-up and to watch the women sort and pack the tea. In addition to an educational time, they also provided samples of green, black, white, and ginger tea.

I had a late lunch at a restaurant in the town center, where I met Tom and Sue, two older British people on their fifth trip to India. I had a nice lunch of paratha and grilled paneer and vegetables, while they shared a masala and some naan. After an hour we parted ways and I walked around downtown Ooty and the market. The most dangerous part, as always, was crossing the street.

At 5 pm we left Ooty and returned to Bandipur. The way down had less traffic, both factors conspiring for a much shorter trip on the way down. I had dinner at the lodge, and met a nice couple from California, their two children, and grandma, who had just arrived that day. I told them about Ooty, and they told me about their first and incredibly successful trip into the forest. The next morning we went into the park and ate breakfast together before checking out and saying goodbye.

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What Immortal Hand or Eye Dare Frame Thy Fearful Symmetry?


February 5, 2018

Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Karnataka, India

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Although Your Mind's Opaque


February 3, 2018

International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Tata Institute for Fundamental Research, Bangalore, India.

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My Sweet Lord


January 30, 2018

Bangalore, India

Nonperturbative and Numerical Approaches to Quantum Gravity, String Theory, and Holography, the program I attended, had a half-day Tuesday program with a free afternoon. We arranged cabs into Bangalore, where we visited the summer palace–which could be better kept up–and followed the audiotour through the public areas, court, and private residence of the British-collaborating rulers of the state of Karnataka.

We stopped at a souvenir shop, where I spotted a lassee shop across the street. The traffic in India is controlled chaos—there are essentially no stop lights and no pedestrian crossings: one must simply cross with caution and confidence. I enjoyed a falooda, which my friend Vesna recommended before my trip. It was… weird. There were small tapioca balls and shredded rice noodles, topped with vanilla ice cream and yellow raisins.

From there we made a short stop at the Parliament and High Court en route to the botanical gardens. Parts of the gardens are very nice, but it’s very hard to ignore the abundance of litter. The highlights were the greenhouse seen above, an abundance of beautiful, wild song birds, bonsai trees, and a still lake with lotus lillies.

The cabs then took us through rush-hour Bangalore traffic to Ishkon temple, a main temple of the Hare Krishna. As I was wearing shorts, I had to put on a doti before proceeding to the shrines. As we made our way to the first shrine, we passed a special staircase for worshipers where with every step they alternate the mantras “Hare Krisha, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare” or “Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”.

When we reached the main shrine, a monk or priest had us touch flower blossoms and sprinkled us with perfumed water. Then we joined a group of worshipers as another monk rang a bell and sprinkled the blossoms around an idol. He swung incense and chanted, and finally sprinkled the crowd with the remaining perfumed water. As worshipers leave the shrine, they put their hands over the flames of candles and touch their faces with their warmed hands.

For dinner the different cabs split up before heading back to campus.

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December 23, 2017

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December 12, 2017

How Many Wonders Can One Cavern Hold?


December 3, 2017

Everything Is Awesome


November 25, 2017

I'll Meet You Any Time You Want


July 22, 2017

Orangutans are Skeptical


June 25, 2017

His Tears Fall And Burn The Garden Green


June 18, 2017

If We Travel By My Dragonfly


June 17, 2017

I'd Forsake Them All for Your Sweet Kiss


June 4, 2017

All the King's Men


June 3, 2017

Be Like the Squirrel


June 2, 2017

Be On My Side, I'll Be On Your Side


May 28, 2017

Your Technicolor Motor Home


May 12, 2017

The Hush of Falling Leaves


May 7, 2017

Just A flower I Can Help Along


May 6, 2017

Longer Boats Are Coming


March 24, 2017

Stray Cavaliers


February 22, 2017

METAQ


February 14, 2017

The Heat Came 'Round and Busted Me For Smilin' On A Cloudy Day


December 31, 2016

A Modern Major General


December 30, 2016

Live and Die a Pirate King


December 15, 2016

Things That Didn't Suck 2016


November 27, 2016

Don't the Sun Look Good Going Down Over The Sea?


November 19, 2016

Heavy Horses, Move the Land Under Me


November 18, 2016

Somebody Holds the Key


November 16, 2016

Stuff that's scuzzy


November 9, 2016

Thinkin' and drinkin' are all I have today


August 3, 2016

Where Your Gentle Wing Rests


May 28, 2016

A Golden Winged Ship Is Passing My Way


December 27, 2015

Steal Your Face Right Off Your Head


December 27, 2015

Things That Didn't Suck 2015


October 17, 2015

This World Was Made For All Men


October 16, 2015

Show the Bastards Up With Our Divine Light


October 4, 2015

Dungeons Deep and Caverns Old


October 3, 2015

Tore Me All to Pieces, Nothing Else Remains


October 3, 2015

See the Colors Floating in the Sky


October 2, 2015

The Deep Forbidden Lake


October 2, 2015

Wild Mountain Honey


October 1, 2015

Flame From Your Stage Has Now Spread to the Floor


September 30, 2015

Take a Whole Pail of Water Just to Cool Him Down


September 7, 2015

I Set Out Running But I Take My Time


August 7, 2015

Eat them up, yum!


August 6, 2015

Let Me Wander In Your Garden


August 5, 2015

Wrapped In The Old School Song, We Fly Our Colours High


August 4, 2015

The Locomotive Jumped The Gun


August 1, 2015

Its Ribs are Ceiling Beams


July 25, 2015

Oh, Mountain of Our Eyes, What Do You See?


July 19, 2015

A Tingling Recognition


July 16, 2015

The Ink Is Black, The Page Is White


July 5, 2015

They're A Band Beyond Description


January 31, 2015

Where Little Cable Cars Climb Halfway To The Stars


October 18, 2014

Rainbows End Down That Highway Where Ocean Breezes Blow


October 8, 2014

The Lunatic Is On The Grass


June 7, 2014

It's Stormin', Stormin' Rain


May 24, 2014

Listen to Those Rails A-Thrumming All Aboard


April 27, 2014

Another Brand New Day


April 26, 2014

A Cave Up In The Hills


April 6, 2014

Smiles Await You When You Rise


March 23, 2014

California, Preaching On The Burning Shore


March 22, 2014

Ain't Gonna Stop Until The 25th Hour


March 17, 2014

My Will Is Prophecy, My Own Mythology


March 16, 2014

Whispering Hallelujah Hatrack


March 15, 2014

They Carry News That Must Get Through


February 15, 2014

One heat up, and one cool down


February 2, 2014

What Shall We Say, Shall We Call It By A Name?


January 24, 2014

There May Be Many Others But They Haven't Been Discovered


January 18, 2014

Your Golden Sun Will Shine For Me


January 10, 2014

A Marvelous Night for a Moondance


January 8, 2014

STAR Struck


December 27, 2013

Things That Didn't Suck 2013


December 20, 2013

I'm As Free As A Bird Now


November 17, 2013

Is this place at your command?


November 16, 2013

It's Not Hard, Not Hard To Reach


November 16, 2013

This Dichromatic Vision


October 8, 2013

Lake Ogallala, We Hold You In Our Hearts


October 3, 2013

Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!


September 14, 2013

It's A Light And Tumble Journey


June 12, 2013

I've Been Stretching My Mouth


May 24, 2013

Once In A While You Get Shown The Light In The Strangest Of Places If You Look At It Right


April 24, 2013

People Say We Monkey Around


April 20, 2013

People –– What Have You Done?


April 10, 2013

Send the Sunshine Down My Way Whenever You Call My Name


January 21, 2013

How Can the Wind With So Many Around Me?


January 12, 2013

Come On Children, Now Learn How To Run


January 11, 2013

Almost Aflame, Still You Don't Feel The Heat


January 11, 2013

Near The Village, The Peaceful Village


January 10, 2013

Walking Through Forests of Palm Tree Apartments


January 9, 2013

By The Ranks Or Single File Over Every Jungle Mile


January 8, 2013

If I Ever Get Out Of Here, I'm Going To Kathmandu!


January 7, 2013

I Can Tell My Sister By The Flowers In Her Eyes


January 4, 2013

You're Tired Of Yourself And All Of Your Creations


January 3, 2013

It Takes A Lot To Laugh


January 2, 2013

Tinsel Tigers


January 1, 2013

Played War Games In The Woods


December 31, 2012

Then A Silence That Chilled My Soul


December 21, 2012

Things That Didn't Suck 2012


December 8, 2012

I Sail Above Your Inlets and Interstates


July 5, 2012

Let It Blossom, Let It Flow


June 28, 2012

We Know We Can't Be Found


April 26, 2012

A Hiding Place Where No One Ever Goes


April 17, 2012

They Came In Peace For All Mankind


March 7, 2012

All the Wrong Fuses and Splices


December 22, 2011

Things That Didn't Suck 2011


December 4, 2011

Hey Now, All You Lovers


December 4, 2011

Twisting Burning, My Thoughts Turning


October 3, 2011

Tyger Tyger, burning bright


August 25, 2011

I got better!


August 8, 2011

No Straight Lines Make Up My Life


August 1, 2011

Spirals Round and Round


November 28, 2010

Don't Believe A Thing They Say


October 17, 2010

Out Of Control On A Breeze


July 31, 2010

never trust a man with a typewriter between his lips


July 13, 2010

Can I Step Into Your World For A While?


June 27, 2010

Carved Like a Dwarf Tree On A Mountain


January 12, 2009

It's Easy as 1-2-3


March 29, 2008

Laid Back In An Old Saloon, With A Peso In My Hand


February 24, 2008

Come On Ye Childhood Heroes!


- {"name"=>"Evan Berkowitz", "twitter"=>"evanberkowitz", "email"=>"evan@evanberkowitz.com", "phone"=>"+1 917-692-5685", "inspire"=>"http://inspirehep.net/search?ln=en&ln=en&p=find+a+%22Evan+Berkowitz%22+or+a+%22E.+Berkowitz%22+not+%22E.H.+Berkowitz%22&of=hb&action_search=Search&sf=earliestdate&so=d&rm=&rg=25&sc=0", "arxiv"=>"http://arxiv.org/a/berkowitz_e_1", "github"=>"http://github.com/evanberkowitz", "linkedin"=>"https://www.linkedin.com/in/evanberkowitz", "google_scholar"=>"https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=hEy9k60AAAAJ", "orcid"=>"http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1082-1374", "research_gate"=>"https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Evan_Berkowitz"}