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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bangalore

I miss my sofa. My dirty, yellow and blue throne. I miss laying left to right on it, watching TV in just that right manner; head tilted at that perfect angle, arms resting on that perfect spot on the cushion, my tea perched on the stool just the perfect distance from my hand. That was my space. A bubble of things arranged "just so". It was to me what the basket by the fireplace is to the figurative cat.


I miss auto rickshaws. The crazy messages/stickers flashing across their back panels. "MouthShut. com"
"Save rainwater, save India"
"Manju"

I loved meeting an honest auto driver, one who would actually charge you the fair shown on the meter and not complain that it's too far/short/rainy/windy/close to his aunt's birthday. The putrid city air in your face and the sound of the muffler-less gas engine crying away, I miss them too.



Sunsets over Varthur lake: possibly the greatest paradox I've ever come across. The sight was truly worth the terrible road, but the smell of that disturbingly green water was not. I passed that lake almost everyday for 4 years and now I no longer see it. Good day or bad, that lake was always there to tell me that I was 2 stops from home.



Empire. Enough said. The best value food I have ever had. There were restaurants and then there was Empire. It had many copies and many rivals, but really, nothing comes close. I loved the cross-section of society one could see there. you could get a pretty accurate slice of Bangalore at Empire. You had the IT workers, complete with immaculate side-parting, glasses and the name-tag dangling from their necks. You had us, the children of the well-to-do, dressed in jeans, sunglasses and branded shoes. You had the group of archetypal south Indian ammas: saaree, too much fake (?) jewelry, wailing baby and all. And then, last but not least, you had the average man - not your poor one, mind you. You had the guy who uses a single Bajaj Chetak as his family transport every morning. The guy who needs his idly dosa from Shanthi Sagar every morning in order to function. Everyone knows what they want, everyone is hungry - even if they may have entered full! Whether it be chicken kabab, mutton raan, dosa chicken, bheja fry or just your friendly neighbourhood biryani, everything is gobbled up. The speed of seating, ordering, consuming, paying and leaving is quite astounding. The various ranks of waiters are plain for all to see. The feeling of walking down to Chruch street, feeling full and satisfying is one I sorely miss.



Palm Meadows. A little piece of California that got lost and decided to give up and settle in South India. I loved the feeling of driving around, picking everyone up from their houses and going to play street football. These were without doubt, my closest friends: the (in)famous football gang. And once the game was done and twilight was upon us, I loved walking down to the shop, buying terribly unhealthy soft drinks and just talking until my mum came to pick me up. We'd talk about our parents and school and work and dreams of college and football. On weekends I'd sleep over at one of my friends houses and this meant buying more unhealthy food from the shop, going to Prahlad's place and basically enjoying his basement. The pool table, the massive TV, and night time burn-outs on Palm Meadows back roads.



I look forward to enjoying these little pieces of Bangalore this December. I didn't know I'd miss them so much.