53: Bangalore In A Week

22 Feb

I’ve been here for exactly a week now, and this is what it’s been about, and somehow always has been, irrespective of the duration of my trips.

Visiting Commercial Street to hunt for saris, suits, the odd bangle set or so. This time it was also for Tamil Nadu cotton bedsheets.

Stopping by at Woody’s for my filter coffee or biting into a plain or palak (spinach) dosa at Shiv Sagar, followed by fresh lime soda, sweet and salt. Sometimes if we’re indulgent, we stop at that corner shop, as we have been for decades now, to have either a scoop of banana ice cream or Bowring kulfi which he now keeps.

Rushing to the tailors, both in different parts of the city, and sternly giving them deadlines that are obviously a little before my departure date.

Getting entwined in reunions of various sorts – family, friends, classmates, ex-colleagues, and of course, my four-legged family friends.

Sipping chai or coffee at Airlines and getting transported back to those bygone days. Of course the only things that have changed are that it’s a no-smoking zone now, and that I can go beyond ordering just a glass of chai/coffee for myself, even though I seldom do.

Visiting Koshy’s, if the plan works out, and ordering our default favourites just for old time’s sake.

Perhaps a walk in Cubbon Park, which still hasn’t happened, but I hope it does.

Sinking my teeth into beef, beef, and more beef.

Now thanks to Swiggy, I haven’t found the need to get my ass to Corner House, which also is a mandatory visit. I’ve been ordering in my sundaes and indulgences ever since I got here.

Carefully picking meat off thorns as I relish my favourite – fish. Yesterday, for the very first time in my life, I stopped a fishmonger, Aslam from Mangalore, on his moped, and bought fresh mackerel and prawns from him. It’s either this or heading out to a coastal eatery to get my fill.

Stopping by at Blossom’s Book House. They’ve shifted a little up Church Street, next to Matteo. This time I was in a rush, and couldn’t stop by. But walking past it counts, right?

Making my customary pit stop at Home Stop, just because I love their stuff, always have, and hopefully always will. Now if I could only afford the many things I love. :P

Having my fill of Bangalore’s beers. Always.

And dosas.

And filter coffee.

Now that I’ve made this list, it doesn’t seem like much at all. In fact, if one were to be efficient and plan their holiday well, it would’t take time to do all this. But here I am, feeling like I’ve done whatever I came here to do, but still with a lot more left to do. Nevertheless, and with all that has come my way, I feel immensely grateful to just be here, spend time with the ones who make it worth my while, and to go back with my glass full. :)

52: Everest

21 Feb

There’s always been something about the mountains that has drawn me to them. It was only till very recently that I arrived at this insight, or even found my answer to this question I was asked in casual conversation sometime ago – are you a mountain or a beach person? This awareness also arose when I was winding my way across a range of them, not so long ago. The arrival of this answer came without conflict or second thoughts, even. It was plain, simple, uncomplicated, and unprecedentedly obvious – I was always, it seems, a mountain girl. It’s astounding how some answers seem to always be around; marked, perceptible, and in plain sight most often. Perhaps it was the role of time which lends this search a hand. Anyway, I had the answer, and I scoffed because it was so unbelievably obvious. A lot of me always concluded that I was a beach bum; after all who doesn’t love the experience of being sprawled on balmy, coral beaches? Heck, my entire idea of romance revolved, and still revolves around beaches, sea sunsets, and sea breeze. Nowhere in my fantasies or desires did I ever imagine wooden floors, fireplaces, snow, and stews! Beaches, it always was. On the other hand, I associated mountains with physical activities, which were predominant during my school-going days. A visit to the mountains always included treks, nature walks, rock climbing, and every single other activity that didn’t spell comfort, excitement, or even happiness to me. For someone who has a fear of heights, as much as she does of water, visits to beaches didn’t enforce any encounters with these fears, as our mountain trips did.

Yes, I was a complete ignoramus even when these weird connections and associations with the mountains were enormously present throughout my life. For one, I do not have a bucket list of places that are imperative for me to visit; in fact, I have just three that I desire to see; of which all of them are related to the mountains. A lot of me thinks it’s some sort of an enigmatic spiritual calling. The more I analyze these thoughts, the greater they pull me towards them. For example, and I cannot explain why, I have this fascination with the Himalayas. This enchantment, I’m certain, stems from no religious foundations, because I have none, when it comes to religion. But there’s a magnetism to this entire experience which makes it progressively inexplicable, and more intense as time passes.

When A first told me about the place he comes from, and consequently over many more conversations we had before and after we got married, the one coincidence that shone out to me was that these magnanimous mountains could be seen in plain sight from his home. I saw it in his photographs, and I saw it in his eyes and expressions. However, whenever I’ve visited home, they’ve either been shrouded or fractionally visible, unlike their usual track record. If I were to lead these incidents on, I’d say that maybe I’m meant to actually visit them at their feet and not from afar. If I was to be spiritual, I’d say they’ll call me when we’re ready to meet face-to-face. If I was serendipitous, I’d lay everything in the hands of time. Perhaps it’s all, or none, or a twisted amalgamation of all three.

A couple of weeks ago, I chanced upon the movie Everest, which I’d been meaning to watch when it released in 2015, but couldn’t. To say that it absorbed me completely and wholly, would be an understatement. I proceeded on to catch this same movie twice more, by chance, I promise, and watched it again. Every watch taught me something new. Every watch felt like it was the first time. Have you seen it? Do watch it. I proceeded on to reading up about it, and about the many auxiliary topics that revolved around it. My search led me to read up about the incident in itself, about the tourist season, about the climb, the experiences, the attempts, the failures…in fact, it was just yesterday when I watched the interview with Beck Weathers; one of the survivors of the 1996 incident who miraculously made it back to the camp after being left to die/considered dead for two days. If there’s one consistent fact that highlights itself, then it is that this range of mountains, has in its keep, a plethora of lessons for every single person who crosses paths with it. The evidence of this is beyond doubt or contest. Of course everything in Nature has a lesson to teach us all, and that’s unarguably true. It’s just about where, when, and via which means, these lessons make their way to us.

I urge you to watch the movie, even if you’re not into the Himalayas, or a fan of the mountains. It’s undoubtedly inspirational on all counts. Yesterday saw me randomly browsing the internet (I actually wanted to shop), when I came across Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air”, which I now want. He was one of the participants and survivors of the 1996 expedition which took the lives of many; and also has to his name another fantastic work of art titled “Into The Wild”, which was adapted into another movie that moved and worked on me in indescribable ways. I’ve written about it, here. They all speak of life, and most importantly, of its journey.

Someone great did, after all, say that life is not about the destination, but its journey.

51: Not Alone

20 Feb

Back in 2008 when I began my Masters programme, I didn’t think beyond what I had joined college back again for; which was to get on with my studies and move on. It’s been seven years since I completed my MSc., which in itself is astounding for me to write down over here…seven years. That’s three short of completing your tenth board exams, which is 75% of your school life if I’ve got my math right. During that time, I studied in a very culturally varied class. We were an all girls and one male class; most of us residents of places outside Bangalore. Needless to say, those two years passed in a jiffy, and here we are today, each doing our own thing, and walking along our paths as we’ve made it. Class reunions generally happen during weddings, and that was the case with this class too. Except, a lot of the girls in my class got married shortly after one another. Therefore opportunities for our reunions also ran dry eventually.

However, today was a different day after seven long years. A few of us finally made the time to meet each other, and here we were, some with babies, some not, back again, with everything so changed, and yet unchanged. It was during this exchange of stories that I came to realise just how similar our tales are, despite our differences; how together we are, no matter how alone we may feel; how comforting it is, despite how overwhelming it might all feel.

The one thing that stood out to me, above all, was just how important meeting each other really is. If there’s anything that’s therapeutic, it’s the ability to put your feet up, laugh while you drink your coffee, and the reassurance that you’re doing just fine. :)

50: Unchanged

19 Feb

50 days, 50 posts.

Through all the changes, here’s my toast.


While 50 is not much, I think it’s deserving of some special attention, even if it’s with something small.

A lot has changed since I first sunk my teeth into these smilies back in 2006/2007 (I can’t remember).

Then I was a student, now I sometimes wish I was.

Then I thought twice about ordering a plate all for myself, now I can’t do without sharing them for old time’s sake.

Then the waiters hated waiting on us, now they go out of their way to say hello. (It happened yesterday)

Then it was coffee and smilies, now it’s rum iced tea and smilies.

Then they were shared over project discussions, now they’re downed over reminisces and current stressors.

Then we’d wait for money to decide our next meeting, and now we wait for time to be kind.

49: Of Over Ten Years

18 Feb

The thing with girlfriends is this:

we take forever to make plans

we’re almost always caught up in our own shit, a lot of which is known to each other

we’ll take time out from our respective shittiness to meet up and generally forget about the world while we meet

we’ll laugh like we’re sitting in our own homes and most often even speak as if we’re the only ones around

we have no problems talking about anything and everything

we talk about everything and tend to expertly discuss all topics that cross our minds and lives and paths in general

we eat together

we eat some more, together

we counsel each other and find wisdom for ourselves from our conversations

we laugh at each other and with each other

we bitch if we have to

we cry when we really feel like it

we bicker, even

we reminisce, we dream, we talk, we wander, we listen, we hug, we have mini conversations within a big conversation, we sing sometimes, we go crazy all the time.

Today R, R, R and I met after what felt like an unending planning session. We each had our things going on – one was knee deep in work around the time our meeting started, one hadn’t slept much, one had to go shopping after, while I had to finish a few chores after. Lots of food, an ample supply of iced tea, and a river of conversation later, we ended our meeting having forgotten about everything else that was on our agenda even before we’d met. R had downed a couple of coffees and spoke about life with her boy, R forgot about her shopping altogether, R seemed to have eased up from her busy work and home life, and I felt like time played a fast one on us. I guess that’s what happens when you meet your girls, no? Over raucous laughter, snickers, jokes, and inside details, we managed to feel like it was just yesterday all over again.

48: Not Enough

17 Feb

I cannot feel luckier when I say that my visits back home are overwhelming. Apart from literally fighting to squeeze time with family together, sometimes even bordering on being overbearing with each other, there’s always so much to do, so many to meet and to catch up with. No amount of time feels like its enough.

I’ve already been here a while and it feels like I’ve been here forever and haven’t done as much as I could have. Even after a million auto and cab trips down, there’s this sense of incompleteness sometimes; like maybe I haven’t done everything that I came here to do. Bangalore is where my everything lay and where a considerable chunk of my everything still does lie. It’s an overwhelming experience to meet the people you wanted to meet, do the things you wanted to do, and make time for your own self. This time, especially so.

Today I’m exhausted. But ever so thankful, grateful, and just yeah, thankful some more.

47: Small Things

16 Feb

The one place where a woman gets to be a girl all over again is at her mother’s place. It’s not about breakfasts in bed or exclusive luxuries which never were a part of our routines before (we never got to eat breakfast in bed unless we were ill). It’s about realising the little things that get left behind when you move on and put your own home together. The ease to sit down,

the gentleness of her stroking my hair,

our endless bickering over the smallest of things,

her powdery fragrance lulling me to sleep,

the touch of her hands,

that filled jug of water that only I drink from,

welcome post-it notes,

pink lilies blooming at my arrival,

my fluffed up quilt,

and the best of them all…

sound sleep without the care of responsibilities.

It’s all in the smallest of things. Always.

46: Back To Where I Left From

15 Feb

Today seems to have been a never ending one. It started at a cruel 4am and has been on ever since…it feels like forever. What actually felt like forever was my journey to Bangalore. I did spend my time quite productively in transit – I ate, drank my tea, read my book, and slept. But it seemed to go on for longer than the scheduled 2 hours 45 minutes that my itinerary told me. It was especially trying when the captain said we’d be landing in 20 minutes but the aircraft showed no signs of descending or going anywhere but in circles. But I reached, and here I am, in Bangalore.

There’s always so much that floods my senses when I step into my city…so many big and small changes, so many reminders to tell me that I have, indeed, left. The Coca Cola factory we used to visit has now given way to a new construction. I don’t know if this is a new thing. The petrol pump I remember seeing since I was a child has been demolished and barricaded. I forgot to check whether the Amul hoarding just above it still holds fort. Tomorrow, I shall. The busses I used to travel by or watch pass me by as I waited for mine, still ply on their respective routes…raggedy, blue, and gigantic as ever. It feels like I’ve opened a closed chapter. It makes me look within and wonder just where time went off to.

While I was reading on the flight today, I came across these lines which made me stop, and read them again.

Then I felt sinkingly as if my whole life lay behind me…but at times I wondered if I had not come a long way only to find that what I really sought was something I’d left behind.

Thomas F. Hornbein

Poignant for a homecoming, more so when memories come knocking at my door.

During my auto ride today, I asked myself again if I missed Bangalore; a question my friends always ask, or used to at least. When I returned back for the first time, the answer was as shocking as it was clear – I didn’t miss the city, I missed its character, the multitude of memories it gave me, and of course, over and above everything else, I missed the people who lived in it, and still do. Today I bargained and reasoned and came to understand that, perhaps, my new home has my heart while Bangalore has my soul. It seemed fair. It seemed reasonable to feel this sense of belonging here, and there. The rest of the auto ride went peacefully thereon.

45: Travelling Then, And Now

14 Feb

Travel back then meant being excited right from when the trip was planned all the way till we said our byes to each other once our return journey was done and dusted. Travelling back then also meant waiting with more impatience and fervour than with bated breath. I used to especially love the entire process of packing my bags once I’d figured out whatever it is that I wanted to take along with me. Earlier on, it also used to involve picking the best mixed tapes to keep me company. Later when tapes gave way to discmen, MP3 players and then onto just a playlist, it still did matter what got on to a holiday and travel list, and what didn’t. All in all, there was a lot to do and it was done with a zeal and energy which was contagious.

Today is a different story. Travel today means to ensure everything is in place, taken care of, organized, and settled before I can even begin with my packing. By the end of it all, I really want to get done with the day, get a good night’s sleep and proceed on to D-Day. I don’t really enjoy packing anymore, unpacking even more. Maybe I’m just inherently lazy. And I procrastinate like crazy – a lot of what can be done earlier is kept till the last minute, such as – getting our laundry done, clearing the fridge out, getting pre-cooked meals in place, and what have you. All this looks so idealistic and pretty in mind; but seldom is achieved.

I remember the first time I left my marital home – I’d gone out of my way to ensure A had enough and more to eat. Of course he regressed to his bachelor days leaving more of it to lie in the fridge, which back then was surprising, but today I’m thankful…because I don’t have to do as much anymore. It’s easier to draw the line, go on a holiday, and not think too much about the many things I should’ve, could’ve or ought to have done. But here I am, ready for some travel (my bags are still not packed), but more at ease than when I first got married. The housework’s more or less taken care of, and I’ve left the rest up to A to handle…equal responsibilities no? *evil grin*

During this time I hope to not be as MIA as last week, and I hope to be more disciplined. But the thing about travelling is just that – there’s no time to do the regular stuff. :P All I really can think about at this very moment is to get into bed and catch a wink or two before it’s time for the next lot of stuff that needs wrapping up before the lady of the house puts her heels up. :)

I’ll see you on the other side, dear reader. A very happy Valentine’s Day to you too. :)

44: Saying Goodbye For Now

13 Feb

Winter is a strange season in the north. It’s frigid, grey, dull, dark, and heavy. It’s also intoxicatingly beautiful, and overflowing with warmth in everything else it produces. I love this season the most, especially in our country. Anywhere in our country. Even the extra layers, and the hot hot baths. There’s this freshness that I look forward to, the crispness of the sun, the frivolity of the flora all around us. I’m always sad when it’s time to say goodbye, because look what I’ve to bid adieu to. 


Every season has its own purpose, its own beauty, its own lessons. But despite how harsh winters usually are, it’s this season that warms my heart the most. ❤️