Friday, 28 December 2012


Mavalli Tiffin Room is a Bangalorian institution; It’s an awesome retauraunt near Lalbagh Gardens that serves up the best Dosa’s in the city!  It first opened in 1924 and I don’t think the interior has really changed much since then.  Alex and I had been meaning to visit for months and finally got round to it a couple of weeks ago.  Although it’s most famous for it’s Dosa’s we arrived too late for these so signed up for the Thali lunch instead.  We paid for our meal coupon and had an hour’s wait, so we crossed the road and wondered round Lallbagh Gardnens until our table was ready.  We were so hungry by then, that when we finally sat down and the food started to fill our trays I couldn’t wait for it all to be served before taking photo…this is the best I could do.

The dining hall

One of the kitchens

Crazy mirror

It was so tasty, and there was so much food, it just kept coming! We have to go back one morning soon to try their famous Dosa!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

In India For Christmas

We’re spending Christmas in India this year, my sister and her boyfriend are joining us (their flight lands in four hours and I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!) one of our best friends from Uni is also coming over for New Year, but I’m pretty sad to not be spending it with the rest of our family so am determined to make this a Christmas to remember.  The next two weeks are crammed full with travelling and celebrating so things will be pretty quiet over here on Hip Shapes.  I’m not going to leave you completely, I’ve lined up a couple of posts to upload over the next couple of weeks, but for now…

Niki x

Friday, 14 December 2012

First ever DIY post - Snowflakes!

Every Friday, myself and three others volunteer at a school in a slum doing arts and crafts. It’s so much fun and even though I’m absolutely shattered at the end of it, I love it! We have two classes, one group is aged 5-6 and the others are 15-16, each week we have to come up with a different project and I think this week, our project for the older kids was my favourite yet. If you follow me on Twitter then you may have seen my picture of a paper snowflake that we made with the kids.
After I posted it, I had a couple of people ask me how to make them…so here it is, my first ever DIY post! It’s pretty picture heavy, but if you stick with me, you’ll be knocking these out in no time!

I can't take credit for these, one of the guys who volunteers with me showed us how to make them, I think it was his wife who discovered them. They're pretty simple aren't they!  I can't stop making them now, bet you can't either!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Gone In A Matter Of Minutes

Living in India means I’m constantly faced with unbelievable poverty and immense wealth sitting side by side. (I know this is going to sound terrible) but after while I find myself getting used to it. Not that it stops bothering me - I still see things that upset me –  more that I’ve just become more familiar with my surroundings so I get surprised much less and accept this is the way India is.

Last week however, that was turned on its head.  Just around the corner from our apartment is a street lined with little shops selling all the daily essentials - fruit, veg, water, etc, in some cases they are also home to the vendors. But today when I went down the street, I didn’t see the familiar faces, the children running about and the bustling street; instead it was a mess of broken homes, lost people and bull dozers.  It took my breath away.

I understand that things over here are complicated. These shops and homes were built out of scraps of metal, wood and plastic sheeting, illegally and the government was taking back its land. I also understand that they create other problems like prostitution and child abuse and can be so un-sanitary that they’re a real health hazard. But witnessing this destruction left me speechless and upset.  To witness their lives being ripped down in a matter of minutes...well it's hard to put into words.
These people who live and work here have done so for years and the community that's built up around them is vast. This isn't just a group of useless people squatting and being a nuisance, this is a group of people who have built a life for themselves in ridiculously difficult situations. They have set up businesses and are trying to earn a living to support themselves and their families.  Where these people will go and what they will do, I have no idea. They'll probably head to another part of town and try to re build their lives somehow, they may attempt to rebuild their lives here in a few months, but whatever happens, the 'problem' isn't solved it's just swept away and moved on – a ‘quick fix’ – only it’s not fixed.

Of course there are two sides to every story and I’m fully aware that I don’t know all the information.  I know it can be complicated; is it the classic big city immigration from the surrounding rural villages, arriving with no jobs, nowhere to live, not paying any taxes, using the water, hacking into the main electricity line while other, hard working Bangalorians are following the rules and paying taxes? Whatever the situation, as a visitor it’s hard to see, and hard to understand.