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Tuesday 14th December - Bangalore
By Claire
Thursday, 16th December 2004 08:04

The train arrived in a place called Yesvantpur which was quiet and hot and deserted. An auto-rickshaw wallah cornered us and offered to take us to Bangalore. We gave in. It's quite impressive seeing all the bags going into one of those little things and they are surprisingly roomy. The drive took about half an hour but when the driver realised we didn't want to go to one of his recommended hotels he lost interest and dropped us off by the station. It was actually right by a urinal and the twelve feet of wet pavement and stinking mud that worked for anyone who didn't fancy using the designated area, so it smelled rather nasty. We walked for about ten minutes to find a hotel, we checked in and changed into clean clothes. Then we went out to find an internet cafe and something for lunch.

There were no open internet cafes nearby, so we took an auto to the main street in Bangalore and looked there, instead. The city is huge but it's also much more colonial than I was expecting, and there were some lovely buildings along the side of a massive boulevard with palm trees down the landscaped central reservation, and blossoming pink trees along the road.

We found a cafe and had a snack for lunch and then checked our email. After that we went down the road to St Mark's cathedral to have a look for some ancestors. Various Upshons are burried all over India, and the largest proportion of them are in Bangalore and Madras. I wanted to have a look for some graves for no particular reason other than they have my family name on them. Unfortunately there was no cemetary at the cathedral (which was supposed to be the ugliest building anyone had ever seen, but was actually rather nice, in white plaster and modern-ish stained glass) so we took another auto out to Hosur Road, the place with all the cemetaries.

We didn't know that at the time, though. I've never looked for a grave before, and I thought it was a case of asking someone and being pointed in the right direction. We were faced with "Gate Number 4", indicating that there were at least three other gates, and then saw miles and miles of gravestones. We looked through all four cemetaries with no luck. It's a strange task, searching for a name in an orderless mass of stones of all shapes and sizes, and it was quite fruitless. Mikey chatted to an old man who said we should go back to St Mark's where they have all the records and the row and plot numbers. He said that we were looking in the wrong place for a grave from 1915 though, and pointed to the other section. We went to have a look.

By some freak of nature, Mikey managed to work out the mysterious order that the graves were arranged in, and found the one belonging to Hector Marshall Upshon, my great-great grandfather. It was nice to see, and I was glad that the headstone had lasted so well and his name was still visible. We had a look for Herbert, John, Julia and Florence, but we didn't find them. We'll go to St Mark's tomorrow and ask. On our way out of the cemetary there was a family of women visiting a grave. We tried to leave them alone but they caught up with us and wanted to shake our hands. They even made the babies they were carrying touch us too, as if we were some kind of good luck. Spooky.

It was mostly dark by the time we got back to the hotel and we went out for a bit of supper. Now Mikey is watching a very bad film with Sandra Bullock and some sort of frozen policeman and I'm going to sleep.

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