Sunday, May 15, 2011

On a Fifth Year Anniversary

I haven’t yet been able to make my mind up about anniversaries. Of all kinds. Do you count the years you survived despite the events they signify or do you intend to evaluate how you have wizened from the day of the event till the same date a year or more later? Or are they a ruse by the card companies to oblige you to buy red cards with hearts on them, added to a handful of roses and some chocolates perhaps? Should you also be obliged to feel guilty if you choose to bury your head and ignore the purported significance of the day? I cannot decide.
Yet, today I complete five years of having lived in the city of Bangalore. After my post graduate exams, I landed up there with dreams of getting state bylines and front page stories, about writing on politics and a lot else. Many things happened since. Too many things, I must say, some good, a lot bad, a lot in-betweens. Mostly, I like to think that I have had fun the last five years.

It took me a long long time to get used to living in the city. For six months I had a throat infection because of the pollution and almost moved out. The roads were crowded, there were too many people and I overall hated it. I tolerate it now; like they say, given time, you can get used to even torture. I admit my toleration borders on liking even. But wake me up any morning and ask me whether I love it as a whole and invariably my answer would be an emphatic no.
Time and again I have written about how I hate all cities, as a rule. I don’t care for people, malls and the traffic. But there are some things though that I love about Bangalore, a list I was noting in my head the last few days that I was thinking about this post.
* Weather: But of course! The famed Bangalore weather has gone down the drain off late, with too hot summers and barely there winters, but when set down against the other cities in the country, the weather here is still fantastic. Despite the pollution, early mornings and grey cloudy days are why I still favour it to other metros.
* Summer blossoms: I am famous for not knowing the names of flowers except for roses, anthuriums and maybe hibiscus. Ma and Lizzie have tried to change that. You can imagine the results! I cannot gasp at a lovely garden the way the women in my life do but every summer I have loved walking in the city and looking at the May flowers in colours of pink, violet and yellow. Are they called jacarandas? I’m not sure. I like the way the word jacaranda sounds. Every summer I have told myself I want to walk in Lalbagh or Cubbon Park and photograph the flowers. That hasn’t happened yet; and I am not sure I’ll be in the city come next summer.
The lovely gardens are another nice thing I love. The smaller ones like the one where I take my walks in the mornings remind me of Shyam Selvadurai’s Cinnamon Gardens.
* Culture spaces: Though it is a pain to travel that distance, I love Rangashankara and the fact that there are so many places to go see and do stuff. But I don’t think I will miss any of them too much.
* Book stores: In Madikeri there is not a single place where you can buy books. When I was growing up, I would note down the names of books that were reviewed in newspapers and look them up when I was in a city once or twice a year. It would take me hours to decide what to buy with the few hundred rupees that I had saved up. A few years later there was the India Today Book Club, a catalogue of books that I would order from, based on the two-line blurbs below the titles.
I love it that there are some great book stores in Bangalore, from K K S Murthy’s Select to Blossom’s to even the glossy Landmarks and Crosswords to go browse. For buying I stay loyal to Krishna and Naveen’s Bookworm on M G Road though.
* The food: From CTR to MTR to Pecos with greasy dosas to my very favourite Queen’s. But then, any city would have its great eating joints.
* 1522: A recent discovery. I love it so much that I had to put it under a separate head. It’s a new pub in the conservative, dead as an old oak tree Malleswaram-Rajajinagar area. I love the décor, I love the food, I love love love the music, I love the prices and went there twice in a week. That should tell you a lot.
* People: When I moved on campus at university, people frowned upon my Kannada, saying that it was rude. The version of Kannada spoken in the Mangalore region is highly literary and exceedingly polite. When I later moved to Bangalore, I would be shocked at the language of the streets which I found extremely rude. Five years on, I can give back as good as I get but I still cringe at how crude it can sometimes be. The people are nice though. I met some of the best and worst people in life here. But then, if you stick around long enough, you are bound to bond with people anywhere. Yet, Bangalore will always remain special for some souls living here.
I suppose I like it ok here. But for the restless me, five years in one place, half a decade in a city has been a tad too long. I wonder if it’s time to choose again from the two roads that divulge in a wood.

1 comment:

Captain Nemo said...

Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on. (Stairway to Heaven, Led Zep)
Congratulations on the fifth anniversary. One never knows what the future beholds, but here's wishing you all the best for it.